Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Taste For Absinthe - 6 New Cocktails to Try at Home

There are links, photos, and recipes at the link below. A buddy at the liquor store pointed this out to me, so I thought I'd share...
After a century-long ban in the U.S., the federal government gave absinthe a semi-green light in 2007, and the anise-flavored liquor is making its way into cocktails from some of the most talented mixologists around the country. Many of these magical concoctions can be found in the new book, A Taste For Absinthe, from R. Winston Guthrie, the man behind AbsintheBuyersGuide.com. In addition to 65 cocktail recipes making use of the myriad absinthes now available to us, A Taste For Absinthe also features a comprehensive buyer's guide for absinthe purchasing, insight from leading cocktail experts, and magnificent photographs from Liza Gershman.

The publishers of A Taste for Absinthe were kind enough to share six complete cocktail recipes from the book, with Gershman's corresponding photographs. From new takes on classic absinthe uses like the Sazerac and the Death in the Afternoon to wholly original creations like The Hobnob and the L'arc de Triomphe, flip through the cocktails and their recipes at the link below.
A Taste for Absinthe

Just in time for the holidays! Enjoy.

An interesting day.  More later.

Bye-Bye Turkey, Hello Tinsel!

Do you hear what I hear?

I heard Christmas music yesterday and the Season was brought home to me then and there. It was at the local bookstore as I was purchasing a birthday day card for a co-worker, and they were playing holiday CDs.  Folks were humming along as they shopped.  A far cry from the madness of the Malls and Outlet Centers. I was surprised to hear Angela Lansbury singing "We Need a Little Christmas" from Mame.  I have always thought it a great holiday song, but no one ever played it, but me. It's really great any time of year when you feel the need for a little bit of Christmas Cheer.

I also realized that the Dos Locos annual Family and Friends party is only a week away.  The guys are going all out this year, reserving another restaurant for the evening, instead of doing all the work themselves. Should be great fun and get us all into the spirit, if you get my drift.

Have a few places to visit today to pick up a few odds and ends for the apartment, then the plan is to rest after that.  Have to find some creative way to hang pictures without a wall crashing down on me. I am sure there are options out there and I just need to find them. Then there is the search for a gift for the exchange at the party. Something non-gender specific.  Maybe, just a gift card from a local business...we'll see.

The swelling has gone down, but it's still painful to open the mouth or chew. Haven't eaten much these last few days. Soft-boiled eggs and pears are breakfast today.  I'm bracing myself for the event.

More later.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What Kind of Flower are You?

Nikked this from Hayward's place MSIH.  So, what flower am I???
What Kind of Flower Are You?

I am a

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first name is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."
OK, whatever.

I already knew that.  Not the flower thing, but who I am.  Snapdragon!  Who knew?

And so it goes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jaws: No Sharks, Only Pain.

By yesterday afternoon the pain in the left side of the jaw was intense, the swelling was distorting my face, so Sasha relieved me a half hour early so I could get to the walk-in medical clinic nearby.

Copious amounts of paperwork followed as I waited for 1.5 hours to be seen and diagnosed.  There is an inflammation and localized infection in the area which may be related to the recent cold, or have something to do with a dental situation. I tend to think it's the former, but will check with the dental group this week.

I was given a prescription for an antibiotic so strong it could potentially kill every living thing in my body.  We can't have that, now, can we?  Yogurt to the rescue!

The scrip is for clindamycin and the generic version set me back a whopping $157.00!!! I don't care.  I have to eat, chew, talk, and laugh, so if that's the price, I'll buy it and worry about paying for it later.  As I have mentioned many times before, I have a very low tolerance for drugs, but need to get over this pain.

There is minor, though detectable relief so far, though I am still reduced to dining on canned fruit, yogurt, and ice cream, but I am sure things will improve tomorrow. The third of a 10 day regimen should at least give me that.  We shall see.

One more pill and I can get into bed and sleep a few hours.

And so it goes.

Teotihuacan Tunnel Explored

This is another one of those mysterious historical stories that I love so much. From the AP via HuffPo:
The first robotic exploration of a pre-Hispanic ruin in Mexico has revealed that a 2,000-year-old tunnel under a temple at the famed Teotihuacan ruins has a perfectly carved arch roof and appears stable enough to enter, archaeologists announced Wednesday.

Archaeologists lowered the remote-controlled, camera-equipped vehicle into the 12-foot-wide (4-meter) corridor and sent wheeling through it to see if it was safe for researchers to enter. The one-foot (30-cm) wide robot was called "Tlaloque 1" after the Aztec rain god.

The grainy footage shot by the robot was presented Wednesday by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History. It shows a narrow, open space left after the tunnel was intentionally closed off between A.D. 200 and 250 and filled with debris nearly to the roof.

Archaeologist Sergio Gomez says the footage showed the arched-roof tunnel was an example of sophisticated work by the ancient inhabitants of Teotihuacan, which is located just north of modern Mexico City.

"All of the passage, more than 100 meters (yards) long was excavated in the rock perfectly, and in some places you can even see the marks of the tools the people of Teotihuacan used to make it," said Gomez.
Well-worked blocks and a smoothly-arched ceiling showed the tunnel was not natural, but rather a man-made structure that researchers believe lead to possible burial chambers.
Fascinating, no?

Read more HERE.

More later.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hate Spread about Gays by the Family Research Council

John Aravosis published this today and you really ought to check out the whole thing at his site. AMERICAblog Gay.  Perkins has been ranting about being labeled a "Hate Group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. You can read much more at the links provided in John's post. Here's just the tip of a very ugly iceberg:
The far right Family Research Council has recently been officially designated a "hate group" by the national organization that for decades has been in charge of such things, the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC has for years been tracking the Klan and White Supremacists, and now includes FRC and the American Family Association in their ranks.

FRC claims that it's not a hate group. Really? They sure sound like a hate group. Here's a sampling of what the FRC has had to say about gays and lesbians (note: I did all the original research myself, years ago - I set up this page - it's irrelevant that FRC removed much of it from their Web site after I exposed it - they said it):
The Family Research Council

Gays will recognize pedophiles as prophets

"...one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the 'prophets' of a new sexual order." - "Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex With Boys," FRC publication, July 1999, http://www.frc.org/misc/bl057.pdf

Warning:  reading the rest of the quotes may cause high blood pressure, and the urge to punch a hole in your monitor.  Control yourself.  It's HERE. Link takes you directly to the post's page.

And so it goes.

Thoughtless Caturday

I do...all the time.

More later.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks for Black Friday, and More.

Made it through and actually enjoyed working again on Thanksgiving at the restaurant. Lovely, relaxed people grateful we offered the traditional holiday menu as well as our regular one, and it seems few other restaurants in town were open.

I stayed on later than usual so the bosses could enjoy their TD dinner, then I enjoyed my own when I was relieved of my post. Didn't get home until about 6:30 and when the tryptophan kicked in it took all the energy I could muster for a quick shower before falling asleep on my feet. Slept like a baby - no dreams - just blessed rest.

Woke with a sore, swollen jaw, left side.  WTF? Difficult chewing anything, even painful to open my mouth.  (Now, stop that laughing.)  Doesn't matter if food is chewy or consistency of baby food, the act of opening the mouth wide enough for a spoon and/or chewing pressure brings tears from the pain.

Anyway, the Black Friday diners were in great spirits laden, as they were, with shopping bags and boxes.  Many large parties appeared for lunch, and we're talking about 8 to 20 people (and we had only 6 servers!) and as I began to get nervous the boss appeared telling me to "take a chill pill." Which was what I needed to be aware and hold emotions in check.

Truth be told, it wasn't nervousness caused by the large groups, but the constant jaw pain that had me stiff and without much of a smile. Yes, even those muscles hurt.

Sipped a Golden Margarita after my shift hoping it would relieve some of the pain. It didn't.  Happy to be home, though not looking forward to eating anything, not even hungry, anyway. Hope whatever is happening to my face will be over by morning. I have to run out and pick up a couple of kid's toys for the annual "toys for tots" campaign, sponsored by the US Marine Corps, and attempt to hunt up a new pair of winter bedroom slippers.  G*d knows, I need them.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. Just hope it's mostly good stuff.

And so it goes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"It Gets Better": Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC.

Not much to say.  All the guys sum it up pretty well. Oh, and if you've never seen or heard this wonderfully talented 200+ group of dedicated men of all shapes, sizes, and ages, you really ought to see a performance or check out their CDs.
I know a number of guys in the chorus and I've seen them in concert 3 times, they are outstanding and the productions are sometimes breathtakingly beautiful.

Enjoy the rest of this holiday weekend.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Remember Jim Morrison & The Doors?

Yes, I guess we do, not for their music, which was far better than anything around today, but I digress. Clearly we Americans have a long memory when it comes to tripe like this, but very short ones for the critical issues facing our democracy, daily lives, and economy.  This is beyond words and yet, it's from the Gray Lady, herself:  Jeez!!!
It was a classic skirmish of the 1960s culture war, pitting a nonconformist rock star and his bohemian fans against clean-cut defenders of acceptable behavior, the counterculture against the mainstream, and Jim Morrison against Anita Bryant.

Now the governor of Florida says he will seek to put an end to it by pursuing a posthumous pardon for two criminal convictions that Morrison, the frontman for the Doors, received after some very bad behavior at a 1969 concert in Miami.

But the possibility of forgiveness comes with memories of the socially polarized background that led to Morrison’s trial, as well as a lingering sense that the cultural flames ignited in that era have not been fully extinguished.

“The battle then was the battle that’s being fought today,” said Ray Manzarek, the longtime keyboardist for the Doors. “It’s the battle that America has been fighting.”

Time has not diminished the passions of Doors fans and sympathizers, who have pursued a four-decade crusade to reverse Morrison’s convictions, including for exposing himself onstage on that night in Miami. For them, it is a matter of justice as well as cultural grievance. The case lives on not only because they think the charges against Morrison were trumped up, but also because they believe it was used to discredit the counterculture they savored.

Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, a Republican turned independent who lost a November bid for the United States Senate and whose term expires in January, seemed to align himself with this view in explaining why he will submit Morrison’s name to a state clemency board next month.

“The more that I’ve read about the case and the more I get briefed on it,” Mr. Crist said in an interview on Tuesday, “the more convinced I am that maybe an injustice has been done here.”
For those on the other side, the passion has dimmed, but a sour taste lingers. The anger that once brought them to the barricades has dulled to an impatient pique at the notion that the fate of a dead rock star still commands attention 40 years later.

The fight began on March 1, 1969, when the Doors played a raucous concert at Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami. An intoxicated Morrison stumbled through songs like “Light My Fire” and “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” taunted the crowd and threatened to expose himself before fans mobbed the stage. A newspaper review said the singer appeared to simulate masturbation during his performance, and the concert was investigated by a Miami crime commission as six arrest warrants were issued for Morrison, including one for a felony charge of lewd and lascivious behavior. 
Forty years later and it's still a "burning" issue? Ah, priorities, yes, that's it. Must remember the stoopid and forget the really important stuff. 

Gah! Drive me off this movie...

Here's the rest of the piece.

And so it goes.

Of Turkey & Thanksgiving

Tuesday came and went, I believe. Had a doctor's appt. scheduled for 8:30 am so I left with plenty of time to spare (or so I thought) planning to run into School buses picking up the little darlings as they dash through and around stopped traffic to be the first of their tribe to get on-board.

No, the delay was due to an accident caused by another a**hole on her cell phone drifting into the lane of oncoming traffic (my lane!) .  She, the SUV and cellphone were unscathed, but the little car she plowed into was a total loss, I am sure. What a turkey!! Traffic was backed up for miles.  Come January, a new law takes effect allowing drivers hands-free devices only, which means no more talking and texting while behind the wheel.   I.  Can't.  Wait.

Anyway, instead of arriving at the doctor's office 15 minutes early, I was 5 minutes late. When the nurse took my blood pressure it was very, very high and she began to panic.  I calmed her and told the whole story.  She took the BP again later on and it was fine, exactly where it should have been. Nothing new to report.  Everything is on hold until next year when Medicare kicks in, then, G*d help me.

The trip back home was just that...'a trip' and included another accident (this one involved a construction site) and a second incident where one lane was being dug up and all traffic used the other lane alternating as directed by the flagmen. It was after 1 pm when I arrived home (yes, almost 6 hours since I left) and I had just enough time to shower and shave and get to the restaurant by 2 pm, in preparation for afternoon opening. I was asked to do so by the boss because there was a video shoot at the other place at 3 pm. and he didn't want to leave the place unsupervised. I live so near it would be rude to say no.

All went smoothly and the doors opened at 4 pm.  The bosses arrived around 4:45 and I was home and ready for a light supper - and a cocktail - by 5:00.

The weather forecast called for rain Tuesday and again today, but the sun has been hanging around instead. Temperatures in the upper 60s yesterday didn't find anyone complaining, either.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the states and I will be working all day. Along with the regular menu there is a special Thanksgiving menu consisting of Turkey with all the trimmings, appetizer and dessert. There are plenty of reservations - for small and large parties. It's become an annual tradition.  People love to come down this weekend, but don't want to spend hours cooking, and cleaning.  They want to relax and shop the outlet stores on Black Friday in search of bargains.  So the restaurant takes all the work out of the holiday for them, and I get to spend the day with happy people and a great staff. A win-win for everybody!  Sure beats the alternative, anyway.

And so it goes.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 1963: Where Were You?

I was in Mexico and remained stranded there for 3 long, excruciating days. Initially, the stories were conflicting, mostly second or third hand from limited Mexican TV news coverage. Long distance phone lines were tied up for days.

More later.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mark Twain’s Autobiography Flying Off the Shelves

Deep down inside I knew this would happen, even though my local bookseller was sure there was no need to pre-order the book before its release date (last Monday).  Now, like so many others I am on a waiting list with 30 others who didn't listen to their hearts and will now wait 4 to 6 weeks for a copy as the small university press struggles to meet demand.  I am now on a post-publication list and confident it will be well worth the wait.  From the NYT:
When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word doorstopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies.

Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run — so far — of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins.
“It sold right out,” said Kris Kleindienst, an owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, which first ordered 50 copies and has a dozen people on a waiting list. “You would think only completists and scholars would want a book like this. But there’s an enduring love affair with Mark Twain, especially around here. Anybody within a stone’s throw of the Mississippi River has a Twain attachment.”
 Seems the powers-that-be thought it would be of interest to scholars and American Literature students and dismissed fans of his work and life.  Seems they were wrong.

Read the rest HERE.

Should be great for winter reading between other books on the list.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Classic Caturday

Nothing but the best for kitteh.

More later.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Guess You Had to be There...

 From a Cajun friend in LA:
A man met a beautiful blond Cajun lady and decided he wanted to marry her right away. She said,'But we don't know anything about each other.' He said,'That's all right, we'll learn about each other as we go along.'
So she consented, they were married, and off they went on a honeymoon at a very nice resort.

One  morning they were lying by the pool, when he got up off of his towel,  climbed up to the 10 meter board and did a two and a half tuck, followed by three rotations in the pike position, at which point he straightened out and cut the water like a knife. After a few more demonstrations, he came back and lay down on the towel. She said,  'That was incredible!' He said,  'I used to be an Olympic diving champion. You see, I told you we'd learn  more about each other as we went along.'

So she  got up, jumped in the pool and started doing lengths. After seventy -five lengths she climbed out of the pool, lay down on her towel, and was hardly out of breath. He said, 'That was incredible! Were you an Olympic endurance swimmer?'

'No,' she  said, 'I was a hooker in Thibodaux but I worked both sides of Bayou Lafourche.

I dun toll you cher, you had to be there. Being Cajun earned extra points.

And so it goes.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well, That's That. Electrically, Anyway.

Everything that was scheduled or on the to-do list for these 2 days off was taken care of or scratched off. Purchased OTC cold medicine, and a bottle of Gin.  Wonder which will have the most desired effect on the cold... Even got in a little cooking, as well.

Most important (and most costly for me) was having an electrician bring the old wiring (circa 1950) up to today's code and replace all old outlets - many of which could no longer hold a plug snugly - with new 3 prong, grounded ones. This was time-consuming and tedious work.  It also involved the installation of another GFI (ground fault interrupter) outlet in the living room that will protect the rest of the apartment from overload. The other GFI outlet is in the bathroom and protects that room and the kitchen appliances, etc.

It was a daunting 3-hour ordeal which will probably cost me a small fortune, but it had to be done for safety sake and my peace of mind. The technician was the great-grandson of the founder of the business and knew his stuff about wiring in old buildings.  I can only imagine how long it would have taken an inexperienced technician to accomplish the varied tasks in the process. No good fretting about what it will cost.  It is what it is.

It was a learning experience to be sure, because I learned that the walls were wood-lath and plaster.  This means that most anything heavy to be hung on the walls must be done by a professional so that I don't drive a nail and have half a wall crash to the floor.  This also means the bedroom mirror will remain in its upright position on the floor in the corner, rather than hanging behind the dresser.  Sigh!

To be financially set-back a few more months is no big deal, anymore. I'm used to it by now. Spinning wheels in place has become the norm, rather than exception.  For now, I live to work, not the other way round.

More later.

Monday, November 15, 2010

BP Disaster Victims Vow: Never Forget

It never fails.

Whenever I post updates on the recovery efforts related to Katrina and the failed Levees, or the BP disaster, I receive and delete comments that are rude, disbelieving (or both) and others that are downright stupid.  Some say, "look, it's over, everything is back to normal, get over it, you're beating a dead horse" and worse. While I will not give the mouth-breathing stoopid a platform on this blog, I will post updates that few in the USA seem willing to read or take seriously, but I will tell you that the hits I get from Asia, Australia, and South America arrive via a query using pretty much the same search phrases. I can only assume the rest of the world is interested (maybe just curious) in these forgotten stories. Anyway, here it is, from HuffPo:
Down in the Louisiana bayou, the fall season is changing with the north winds. Millions of ducks, geese and migratory birds are arriving as they have throughout the millennia. Shrimp are slowly abandoning the nourishing coastal marshes as cooler water pushes them out to sea.

On the surface, life appears normal. But all is far from normal more than six months after the worst maritime oil spill in history. Many residents here are in a fight for their lives. Things have not changed much for them since that fateful day on April 20 when the Deepwater Horizon blew a fireball of oil and gas into the air, killing 11 men and creating an 87-day gusher of undersea oil that captured the world's attention.

Now the press is gone and the world has moved on. But fishermen and businesses in the Gulf are struggling. Demand for once-prized Gulf shrimp and crab is as low as a brown pelican skimming the sea searching for its next meal. The American public isn't buying the PR campaigns or government claims that the seafood is safe. Fishermen are having a hard time paying their bills after the most disastrous season since Katrina.

Meanwhile, the clean-up work continues at a slower pace. Many locals are being laid off from work, sometimes replaced by cheaper, out of area contractors. That doesn't sit well with folks around here.
"There's a war brewing down here," says JJ Creppel, an out of work fishermen who never got a chance to work for BP's lucrative cleanup program. "BP doesn't know what they've got on their hands. People have had enough."

Money is tight and the BP claims process is mired in a morass of thousands of missed payments and public confusion. The local press is now supporting the removal of the once exalted claims czar Ken Feinberg. The Mobile Press-Register called for Feinberg's ouster on Sunday, featuring a political cartoon of the Boston lawyer garbed in a bird suit feeding crumbs to pigeons. Cartoonist JD Crowe blogged on it this way:
The entire piece is a bit long, but informative. HERE.

I also recommend a regular reading of New Orleans Ladder for comprehensive coverage from Louisiana and entire Gulf region. Editilla does an extraordinary job over there with snark and a sensahumah.

And so it goes.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Films, Lasagna, & Janis Joplin! Works for Me...

 Oh, Yes!

The Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival is over and boasting the highest attendance in its history; cineplex parking lots are empty; downtown is returning to normal for November, and a good time was had by all. Tomorrow ought to see things back to normal at the restaurant and I look forward to preparing my to-do list of chores and errands on my "weekend" Tuesday and Wednesday.

The gorgeous Autumn weather brought everyone out and, if not for the movies, into town to shop, play on the beach, or indulge the family in one more day of relaxation and fun.

I was happily surprised when  a co-worker brought in a large container of her home-made Lasagna for me.  This gal makes her own pasta and sausage and the container was still warm.  The aroma was a killer.  Needless to say what is on the supper menu tonight at Chez Cajun. A garlic spread will be made for Garlic Bread, glass of wine, and a green salad will round out the meal. There is enough lasagna for at least 2 meals.

As I enjoyed my after-shift cocktail this evening I was joined by a couple of regular customers that I seldom have opportunity to chat with for any amount of time. It was a nice change to sit, chat, drink, and spend absolutely no time discussing politics, the economy, or world affairs.  We just laughed a lot.  A. Lot.

As I write I am listening to Janis Joplin sing "As Good As You've Been To This World" from her "I Got Dem Ol' Kosmic Blues Again Mama" disc. Recently unearthed from yet another box as it feeds my funky music needs for tonight.

O.M.G. the smells from the oven are heavenly and it's time to prepare the garlic bread for the oven.  Tonight, life is very good indeed.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Racing Toward the New Year

Seems that since the end of DST and the shorter days, time is whizzing by at warp speed. When life ought to be a slow and lovely waltz, I am doing the boogie as fast as I can and still can't keep up.  No personal post since last Tuesday, but there is a bit to address and share, so here goes.

Wednesday, at the suggestion of the 'financial adviser' handling the simple IRA account, I downloaded my free credit reports from the big-3 and you can imagine my surprise when I found that I am still named in 2 accounts from the previous life - a mortgage taken out in 2007 and a revolving Visa card acct. - both with the same lender. These show up on all 3 reports, so they're not a mistake....well, yes they are, but....  Not wanting to be responsible for loans or purchases made after the breakup and sale of the house once owned jointly, I called the institution who promised to return my call with updates. I am still waiting.

Thursday, Veterans Day. Back at work the bosses amazed me yet again with their generosity by surprising dining Vets with a free dessert to compliment their meal.  The first table of the day featured 7 WW2 vets and when the desserts were delivered you would have thought we had given them the Statue of Liberty. It was difficult to hold back the tears.

Thanking them for their service as they were leaving I heard variations of "that was very kind" and "the gesture is appreciated, but unnecessary". They are a dying breed of American. There was a ceremony honoring the Vets at the ocean, so the restaurant was quite busy the entire day.

Friday, worked with a great staff and arrived home exhausted (still fighting the remnants of the head cold) and just wanted some 'comfort food' to get through the night.  Chili made a while back and frozen in individual containers was just the thing, served with Pepper Jack cheese and salad. It hit the spot.  Took a hot shower and hit the sheets remembering nothing else until this morning.  Yeah!

Saturday, today was one of those Autumn days to savor. Clear sky, light breeze blowing the falling, golden leaves around, people all over town shopping, enjoying the annual Film Festival that's taken over the multi-plex for 4 days, and dining with us. To be honest, it reminded me of an August day with so many people enjoying the weather and one another. There was no room at the bar, so I sipped my after-shift cocktail with the kitchen staff then walked home as the sun set.  There is a spinach salad ready for dinner, only the bacon, hard-boiled eggs and dressing are waiting to make it come together.

I will finish my olives and make it so.  Cheers.

And so it goes.

Caturday Voices

Yes.  I know...

More later.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Film Unfinished: New Meanings from a Nazi Propaganda Film

I don't know how I lost this because it's one of those stories I really love, not only because of the history, but because of my love of film and film-making. I will have to chalk it up to the hectic pace of my life during the summer season.  That's an explanation, not an excuse.  These stories have a life of their own and whenever they find an audience they continue to breathe.  A bit of history, painful yes, but we cannot forget. (Click to embiggen and notice the Nazi cameraman on the left. This image is haunting, even today.)
For almost half a century, an unfinished Nazi propaganda film of the Warsaw Ghetto, simply titled “Das Ghetto” and discovered by East German archivists after the war, was used by scholars and historians as a flawed but authentic record of ghetto life. Shot over 30 days in May 1942 — just two months before deportations to the Treblinka extermination camp would begin — this hourlong silent film juxtaposed random scenes of Jews enjoying various luxuries with images of profound suffering.
Like the flickering shadows in Plato’s Cave, these images were subjected to a radical rereading with the appearance of another reel in 1998: 30 minutes of outtakes showing the extent to which scenes had been deliberately staged. Over and over, in multiple takes, we see well-dressed Jews enter a butcher’s shop, ignoring the children begging outside. In a similar scenario, prosperous-looking passersby are directed to disregard the corpses abandoned on the sidewalk. The propagandists’ manipulation of their half-million prisoners was now clear, even as its eventual purpose — perhaps more than just to manufacture scenes showing callousness on the part of wealthy Jews toward their less fortunate brethren — remained as murky as ever.
In “A Film Unfinished,” the Israeli director Yael Hersonski embarks on a critical analysis of “Das Ghetto” that is remarkable as much for its speculative restraint as for its philosophical reach. Moving methodically reel by reel and acknowledging the “many layers of reality,” the director creates a palimpsest of impressions from multiple, meticulously researched sources representing both victims and oppressors.
Though excerpts from a taped interview with Willy Wist, one of the cameramen who worked on “Das Ghetto,” are as evasive as one might expect, other witnesses did not hold back. Readings from personal diaries, like those of Adam Cherniakov, the head of the Jewish Council (whose apartment was used by the Nazis to stage several scenes), and from the minutely detailed reports of the ghetto commissioner Heinz Auerswald, provide vivid insight into the restrictions of daily life and the methods of the Nazi filmmakers. 
 There's more HERE.

I am so grateful that I found this again and that it had not been mistakenly deleted.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marilyn's Stuffing Recipe Revived 50 Years Later

Yes, that Marilyn. As in Monroe! And just in time for the holidays, too.

Of course, my grandmother (French/Italian) always used stale french bread soaked in milk for her stuffing, too. Just not sourdough, which was unknown in the deep South when I was a kid.

This is an interesting story about how the handwritten recipe was found, deciphered, and ultimately reworked for today's cooks. From today's NYT:
THE image of a bombshell cooking her way to nirvana may seem old-hat now, thanks to Nigella, Giada, Padma and the like. But back in the 1950s, a Hollywood starlet was not expected to squander her talents (or risk her manicure) chopping onions.
A new book, however, includes a recipe in Marilyn Monroe’s handwriting that suggests that she not only cooked, but cooked confidently and with flair.

“Fragments” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $30) collects assorted letters, poems and back-of-the-envelope scribblings that span the time from Monroe’s first marriage in 1943 to her death in 1962. Most of the material, however, dates from the late ’50s, when she was at the height of her fame, moved to New York, married Arthur Miller and connected with Lee Strasberg and his Actors Studio. Her poignant attempts to assert her intellectual side are what have made news about this collection, but the recipe on Page 180 was a bigger revelation to us.

Scrawled on stationery with a letterhead from a title insurance company, the recipe describes in some detail how to prepare a stuffing for chicken or turkey. The formula is extensive in the number of ingredients (11, not including the 5 herbs and spices, or salt and pepper), and in their diversity (3 kinds of nuts and 3 animal proteins). It is unorthodox for an American stuffing in its use of a bread loaf soaked in water, wrung dry and shredded, and in its lack of added fat, broth, raw egg or any other binder.

It also bears the unmistakable balance of fussiness and flexibility that is the hallmark of an experienced and confident cook. Giblets are to be “liver-heart,” and the beef is to be “browned (no oil),” yet certain other details are left flapping in the wind: the amount of spices is not specified, nor the amount of “parsarly.” O.K., the instruction of “1 handful” of grated Parmesan is clear enough, but what to make of the first line — “No garlic” — of the recipe?

For recipe-restoration geeks like us, this was a challenge we couldn’t resist, especially as we head into high season for stuffing. Our goal was to fill in the blanks and produce a stuffing recipe that anyone could complete successfully. Of all the souvenirs of Marilyn’s life available, this was the one we actually wanted.
 Read the rest of the story here.

The updated recipe is available here. Just in time for your holiday table talk, if you can make it through the lengthy preparation process, which has been somewhat simplified.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Stoopid Never Wins

I try really hard, on a daily basis, to balance interactions with the crazies while still remaining true to my own convictions and standards.  Today was a very difficult day, but I made it through without losing control and bitch-slapping the motherf**kers into next month.

It occurred in a supermarket when a redneck picked up a copy of one of those tabloids and as they followed me around the store offering their comments on titles, stories, pictures, various quotes, I knew I was being tested.

The story is too long and sordid to tell, too full of twists and turns and more stoopid that you could shake a stick at. Let me just say that the gloating over Bush's book, Sarah Palin & Christine O'Donnell, and the elections by these mullet-haired, one-tooth-wonders (yes, they were men, or something close) was stopped cold in their tracks.

Obviously I made it out alive but, G*d, I needed a cold compress (or martini) to get over the trauma. The next encounter wiped all that from immediate memory. Chirpy, happy folks who knew me from the restaurant just had to squeal about their dining experience last night. 

Saved, again by a few sane humans who enjoy one another and life's simple pleasures.

And so it goes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Great Depression Kindness Still Resonates

 My heart tells me that people like this are still around today, helping others in need. Great story from the NYT.
CANTON, Ohio — The event was a reunion for people who were never supposed to meet, commemorating an act of charity that succeeded because it happened in secret.

Helen Palm sat in her wheelchair on the stage of the Palace Theater and read her plea for help, the one she wrote in the depths of the Great Depression to an anonymous stranger who called himself B. Virdot.

“I am writing this because I need clothing,” Ms. Palm, 90, read aloud on Friday evening. “And sometimes we run out of food.”

Ms. Palm was one of hundreds who responded to an advertisement that appeared Dec. 17, 1933, in The Canton Repository newspaper. A donor using the pseudonym B. Virdot offered modest cash gifts to families in need. His only request: Letters from the struggling people describing their financial troubles and how they hoped to spend the money. The donor promised to keep letter writers’ identities secret “until the very end.”

That end came last week at the city’s famed 84-year-old Palace Theater, at a reunion for families of B. Virdot’s recipients. About 400 people attended. For the older people, it was a chance to remember the hard times. For relatives of the letter writers, it was a time to hear how the small gifts, in the bleakest winter of the Depression, meant more than money. They buoyed the spirits of an entire city that was beginning to lose hope.

Of the 150 people in Canton who received checks, most for as little as $5, from B. Virdot, Ms. Palm is the only one still alive, and the only one to learn the anonymous donor’s true identity. “I thought about B. Virdot a lot” in the years after 1933, Ms. Palm said. “I was really surprised when I learned his real name.”

His secret lasted 75 years. Then, in 2008, a Canton native named Ted Gup received a suitcase stuffed with his late grandfather’s papers, including letters addressed to one B. Virdot.

Mr. Gup, an investigative journalist formerly with The Washington Post, discovered that B. Virdot was his grandfather, Samuel J. Stone, who escaped poverty and persecution as a Jew in Romania to build a successful chain of clothing stores in the United States. He created the name B. Virdot by combining the names of his daughters, Barbara, Dorothy and Mr. Gup’s mother, Virginia.
 It is always those who escape poverty who give back, not those of inherited wealth. Read the rest of the piece HERE.

The story did my heart good on this cold, dark evening.

And so it goes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Still Here: Update

One would have thought this was a weekend in August instead of November.  The weather and a number of 'happenings' brought people into town in large numbers.  Numbers high enough to cause parking problems, yes, in November. Also, this was the annual "Punkin' Chunkin' Weekend" (Google it, if you dare!) so the rednecks and tourists were here, as well.

The restaurant was very busy yesterday and, since I had awakened unable to breathe at 3:30 am with what turned out to be a head cold, I just let the adrenalin kick in and carry me through the day. After my shift the boss (and Nurse Eddie) poured me a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey, which I downed while sucking a slice of lime.  The effect on my throat was immediate and I didn't cough on the walk home or all evening. 

We were busy again today (which was strange) and we had a great team working the kitchen and dining room. The winds coming in off the ocean were about 25 mph, making it seem colder than it actually was. Without those winds the sun would have made it a perfect Autumn Sunday.

By the time I walked home the sun was setting and the winds had died down. Daylight Savings Time ended this morning with the darkness devouring the light for more hours than I would like.  Still, 6 weeks from now, on December 21st, the days will begin getting longer again. Hey!  Gotta look on the bright side, right?

On a whole other subject; I've been picking up what I determined to be bigoted, racist comments from servers lately and I finally confronted them today.  None or them want to wait on Indian, Asian, Black, Hispanic, (yes, I know) or Russians from large cities, such as Moscow.  The servers contend that these ethnic groups are the worst when it comes to leaving a tip, or gratuity.  When I worked as a waiter in NYC years ago, this was not a problem, so I will be keeping an eye on this and report my findings here.

There is a boneless chicken breast just waiting to be sauteed in garlic butter and rosemary.  There are also olives awaiting ice cubes and gin, thank you very much.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Olbermann Suspended Over Political Contributions

This has a distinctive odor to it. The comparisons are in the realm of the absurd.
MSNBC suspended "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann Friday after the news that he donated to three Democratic candidates.
"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night," MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement. "Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."
[Related: MSNBC's election night lineup criticized]

Olbermann gave the maximum individual donation of $2,400 to three candidates in Tuesday's election: Arizona Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva and Senate hopeful Jack Conway, who lost in Kentucky to Republican Rand Paul. (Grijalva appeared on Olbermann's "Countdown" on Oct. 28, the same day the host donated to his campaign; Conway was last a guest in May).
Olbermann, in a statement to Politico, said that he "did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones." Also, Olbermann said he had not "previously donated to any political campaign at any level."
But the revelation raised clear ethical issues.
Olbermann, a liberal commentator, gives his opinions each night on the air. But NBC News editorial staffers -- like journalists at most news organizations -- are forbidden from giving to political candidates. Also, Olbermann anchored election coverage Tuesday night without disclosing that he'd given to candidates who were running for office.
By punishing the network's biggest star, Griffin showed how little tolerance there is for hosts to make undisclosed political contributions while covering those political races.
Read on and see if you detect any unusual disparities, as I did.  It's HERE.

And so it goes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Athenae: About the Mid-Term Elections

What Athenae writes over at First Draft, is not for the young and her language is NSFW, but it is spot on.  The tease:
So there's going to be a lot of ink expended over the next couple of weeks trying to figure out how this happened, as if it's a goddamn mystery. 
Go, view the video and read her rant.  It might just make you feel better, and that never hurts.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Comfort Food & Testing the Oven

Having run all errands and pondering what to prep for supper tonight, I thought I would go for comfort food - a meatloaf, roasted red potatoes in olive oil with rosemary and thyme, and a beet salad.

Of course, this meant giving the old industrial quality oven it's first trial run and I can say that it's spot on temperature-wise and the meatloaf smells like heaven. I experimented with the ingredients (making it a bit more Italian than I usually do)  and will post the results if they are positive and the meal is yummy. Otherwise, I'll chuck it, make a turkey sandwich, and call it a day. I'll post a picture of the monster when I have the time.

The grocery shopping yielded a whole Turkey Breast, 3 pounds of Italian sausage, and 4 pounds of chicken wings. Baby spinach, cabbage, and 2 baguettes.  All on sale, btw.  The breast will be another comfort food evening, sausage for sausage and peppers, and the wings for a quick meal with a salad when I'm too tired to cook otherwise. All, except for the turkey breast, are wrapped in small packages for individual menus.

It's almost time for dinner, which means it's time for olives...so Cheers!

And so it goes.

Tea Party + Stupidity = O'Donnell

Does this sound like a concession speech to you?

O'Donnell, in her concession speech, said she is not going away.
"We worked hard. We had an incredible victory," she told supporters. "Be encouraged. We have won. The Delaware political system will never be the same. ... The Republican Party will never be the same."
 She got that last part right.

Yes, sad indeed.
And so it goes.

Seawitch, Film Fest, and Beyond

Sheesh!  Halloween is over, Film Fest is next week, and Thanksgiving looms large. At least I haven't heard any Christmas music yet.  It's only a matter of time.

Seawitch Festival was a huge success over the weekend.  Turn out was the largest ever, thanks to the gorgeous Autumn weather and calm seas. There were more costumed adults than kids, and more pet costumes for the pet parade than even the adults. There was a family with 6 Corgis all dressed as spiders (last year they were lobsters!) and I am sure they won some prize for their creativity.

The entire dining room and bar staff were in costume on Saturday, and though we were super busy, we found time to laugh and take pictures with our customers. (The shot above was taken by the boss. Click to embiggen.)  It was a record day for the restaurant, as well. Of course, Saturday Special being $15. pitchers of margaritas or sangria did have an impact. By the end of the shift we all felt it.  Exhausted, but wound up from all the excitement.
"Star Fairy, Tooth Fairy, and Minnie Mouse" (Star and Minnie work in the kitchen)
The fun continued into Sunday when the little ones got their chance to get free goodies by 'trick or treating' at all the shops in town.  And the family atmosphere spilled over into Monday with lots of kids in the restaurant.  Three extremely busy days in a row - in the off season - who'da thunk it?

As I walked to my polling place Tuesday, I was confronted by a man and a woman who appeared close to tears and whining that I simply MUST vote for Christine O'Donnell, to save our country... From what, I asked.  Wrong question.  They launched into the usual fear inducing talking points becoming more shrill as their list grew.  Well rehearsed, I must say. I smiled and said that I couldn't vote for O'Donnell because I had just touched myself and she would not approve. Their looks of horror almost made me laugh, had it not been so scary. I left them standing in the street stupefied, frozen in place.

After voting (in a fairly busy polling place, I might add) I ran into my state Rep who kept to the high road in his campaign and thanked him for doing so.  He was pleased that I had noticed and thanked me for my support. I invited him to have lunch with us, but he declined saying he had to visit all the polling places in his district and would be out and about until the polls closed, but that he and his wife would be in for lunch soon.  I walked across the avenue to work, having some paperwork to get out of the way for the website and end-of-month data.

I was very happy to learn this morning that the majority of my choices won their election or re-election and that the Delaware House and Senate remain in good hands. And Miss O'Donnell lost, making it a great morning all round.

It's cold this morning - about 34'F - and I have a few errands to get out of the way (having to work yesterday threw me off schedule) before I can begin hanging pictures around the place.  Yes, things are slowly take a sort of shape around here and it's a bit easier to visualize how the place will eventually look.  Comfortable and colorful.

More later.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sulu to Clint McCance: You're a Douchebag!

I was just heading off to shower and pamper myself for bedtime when I happened upon this video posted today. George Takei's response to the McCance non-apology is priceless.
Now I am off to dreamland, if possible. A good day all round.

And so it goes.

Halloween Aftermath

I found it ironic and amusing that the mid-term elections were upon us a mere 2 days after Halloween.  There is so much to write about, so many stories to tell, and, as usual, so many insightful moments to share.

That will have to wait a few more hours. I will attempt to pull some of it together tomorrow on the only day off. Meanwhile, enjoy Popeye and the good Friar.

And so it goes.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Snow White and Popeye!

Peter, you called it!

More later.
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