Friday, July 30, 2010

Go Ahead, Mark! Press the Shiny Red Button! Go ahead! I'll wait over here....

Okay, everyone. Sing along with me:

Because I back-traced it! You've been reported to the cyber police!
Because I back-traced it! Consequences will never be the same!
Because I back-traced it! You'll be arrested! End of conversation!

The Ride of Jessie "Pop a Glock in Your Mouf and Make a Brain Slushy" Slaughter continues!
With Daddums along for the ride. Don't be Hatin'! Feel the love.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Consequences Will Never Be the Same!

Well, these people had their fame jones fulfilled.  What vile and odious people.  Behold the next responsible generation who will be deciding your health care. Can you imagine your 11-year old child saying the following:

"I'll pop a Glock in your mouf and make a brain slushy."  And she was addressing herself to all the Hater Bitches who be hatin' on her.  And when the ridicule and hate comes washing back over her, why, she's surprised! And her parents are shocked! All I can think is, crocodile tears.

From Vox Day:

In loco parentis

Adrien Chen misses the point:
Don't pick on 11 year-old girls. Seriously. No matter how dumb they seem—no matter how much they might seem to deserve it—they are, at the end of the day, 11 year-old girls. 

They are, that much is true. But what Mr. Chen appears to have forgotten is that 11 year-old girls eventually become 21 year-old women. And if they're not smacked around when they first start copping an attitude, talking trash to strangers about their superiority, and threatening those who fail to acknowledge it with lethal violence, they are probably going to get more than just their feelings hurt one day.

Boys usually learn not to talk too much trash at a young age because one of their peers will eventually punch them in the mouth. Girls who are permitted to do so never learn to stop, which eventually tends to lead to negative consequences in various forms. In cyberslapping around that ridiculous 11 year-old girl, /b/ was actually providing her and many other young girls with a useful object lesson, namely, DON'T BEHAVE LIKE THAT OR YOU WILL REGRET IT. It is ironic, to be sure, but they were acting as better parents to her than her own idiot pair by teaching her a very important lesson: Discipline yourself or a cruel and uncaring world will discipline you.

Anyhow, the whole episode was well worth it simply for bringing us the epic phrase "Consequences will never be the same!" July has certainly been a most excellent month for linguistic progress.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pennsylvania Tourism Board's Adversitizement

Hideously Catching Viral Video from my adopted home state. Pass it on like a bad cold....and don't blame me either, Mark. 

Somewhere in our state is a culture that can be defined as something other than beer drinking hick-sensabilly, but I don't live in that quadrant of the keystone state. Technically, we're a Blue State, but here's the reality:
You don't need me to circle Pennsylvania, do you? Good.

Of course, that was back in 2004. You see what a stable looking place we once lived in. Most of the Urban Insane Asylums were far removed from me.  Ah, good times...I guess. Then something happened in 2008. An irrational exuberance, perhaps, and behold the electoral map of the Kul't  Lichnosti, Sovietese for The Cult of Personality.  Not a pretty sight.

There is hope that we can recombobulate ourselves and get things fixed, but with the government growing itself as big as it has in just the last18 months or so, longer, if you include the last few dying days of Prez George II, it might be a good investment to stock up on a lot of beer. And something other than Yuengling.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Leaving Eurotopia

We live in momentous times. In the United States, there's talk here and there of secession, and the exercising of states'  rights, upcoming court challenges and a sense that everything is coming apart at the seams. Separatism is not that  far fetched anymore. The powerful no longer need laws to enact their lawlessness, and as long as there is a willing and compliant citizenry, the amount of bloodshed needed for enforcement will be minimal.

However,  rending of national garments is not limited to the United States. Europe is balkanizing, too. Of course, Europe invented the balkanization machine. Minuscule hairline fractures started years ago, and the borders of European countries have never been cast in cement. Except on paper.

If amnesia hasn't fogged your mind too terribly, you might remember the collapse of the Socialist Worker's Paradise. The One no one paid attention to, because it was behind an iron curtain.

First the breaking off came from without the Mother lode of Communist Tumors. Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Romania. Then from within  Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Ukraine and Moldova. I will focus specifically on Estonia later, but let's continue.

The Socialist Worker's Paradise that has now mutated and metastasized on the other side of the iron curtain is choking the civic life out of once free nations. So there is precedent for all this breaking apart, precious precedent. Even before Kosovo. Long before Kosovo.

Consider, for the moment, Switzerland, the last bastion of armed freemen Europe. A manly country surrounded by the baleful Confederacy of Eurotopian Zombie Bureaucracies.

Small fissures in former nations which have made themselves irrelevant are appearing. France? Where's that? Germany? Meh. Sweden? Ah, yes, Sweden is a nation of women-men who have learned to urinate sitting down.  Fuggedaboudit.

Denmark is putting up a good fight. And Finland hasn't swallowed the Anti-Semitic Kool-Aid that the rest of Europe is swilling and asking for refills.

But Switzerland, on the other hand.....Look at this map and the story behind it. (H/T Gates of Vienna)

Greater Switzerland Just Might Take Off

The Swiss far-right wants to expand the country by annexing German, French, Austrian and Italian border regions, reports Gazeta Wyborcza. The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) floated the idea in June but only now has submitted a draft proposal calling for necessary changes to the constitution to make the enlargement possible. The regions in question are the German state of Baden Württemberg, French departments Alsace, Savoy, Jura and Ain, Italian provinces Aosta, Como, Varese and Bozen and the Austrian province of Vorarlberg.

If the SVP plan were implemented, Switzerland’s population would increase by 17 million (it currently stands at 7 million) with Stuttgart becoming its largest city. “We should facilitate integration of these regions which are suffering under the rule of the European political class that has no interest in them whatsoever. Their citizens have been looking jealously at our self-governing state and long for a democracy with human face”, explain SVP politicians.

The Swiss authorities have not commented on the proposal which nevertheless caused much glee in the German embassy in Bern. Its employees are said to have been wondering when the Swiss will “start demanding access to the sea”. Their good humours disappeared at seeing the results of a poll conducted by the Swiss weekly Weltwoche. It showed that 63% of nearly 1,800 German, Italian and Austrian polled living in the border regions said they were in favour of joining Switzerland. Hardly surprising considering the fact that salaries in Switzerland are much higher than in, for example, Germany and that Germans already constitute a majority of lecturers at many Swiss universities.

                            Johannes Gees: Agent-Provacateur

What do you suppose is the reason for French, German, Italian and Austrian patriots wanting to leave their countries to join Switzerland? In a sentence: Years and years of multiculturalism forced down the throats of dancing, wine drinking pork eating men and women who were taught from  childhood to never question the New Truth: Multiculturalism is the superiority of backwards, misogynistic, illiterate, violent and death enamored culture of immigrants over your own modern, scientific, art and musically rich and life loving societies.  And that they are guilty of all manor of crimes against humanity.

They are seeing their culture disappear, and they become thought criminals if they speak up for it. It is the same war being waged by the progressives in America upon the Tea Partiers and anyone who protests the Régime.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Letting the Days Go By (Same as it Ever Was)

This is a reprieve from the big bad red button, Mr. Modern. And oh so much better than that other horrible, catchy little ditty. My only complaint about the video is that Mrs. Obama isn't depicted as the Ugly Hate-Filled Bag of Blather that she is in reality....unless Mr. Obama is vacationing with an intern, which wouldn't be a female, probably. Just sayin' is all.
Stolen from Ace of Spades

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Art of Looking Like You're Doing Something Important

This is the piano at Chestnut and Prince streets in Lancaster city. (Suzette Wenger / Staff)

My father once told me a hilarious story about working in one of the many jazz clubs of Kansas City in the 1960s. He went early in the afternoon to a particular club to see how the piano played. It was badly out of tune and he told the club owner that when he came back later that evening, the piano had better be fixed, or else he wasn't playing. The owner assured him that it would be taken care of. When my father returned to play that evening, he saw that the piano had been painted bright green. He sat down to play it, but it was still very badly out of tune.

"I thought you said you were going to have this piano fixed! It's unplayable!" said my father.

"Whaddaya mean? I had it painted this afternoon!" said the owner.

This story may or may not be true, but I'm half inclined to believe it, because of the following story in my 'art' enriched town:

City street pianos hard to resist -- for the talented and not-so

By BERNARD HARRIS, Staff Writer, Lancaster New Era and Intelligencer News
There are four pianos along North Prince Street as Christian Smithson walks between Manos House, where he lives, and Clipper Magazine Stadium, where he works unloading trucks.
"This is the best. All the keys are in the correct place," Smithson said of the piano under the overhang at the Prince Street Parking Garage.
With cars, trucks and motorcycles passing behind him Thursday, Smithson's hands swept across the keys. He played a composition in which he had melded parts of the Christmas tune "Carol of the Bells" with the overture from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film.
"I find it relaxing," the 19-year-old said of the stops he makes at the piano, sometimes four or five times a week.
In the past two months, Smithson and countless other people have stopped to play a tune or simply plink a few keys.
It's all music to the ears of John Gerdy.
"There are just so many magical moments that I have seen and people have been telling me about," said Gerdy, of the nonprofit organization Music for Everyone.
He had hoped the community would embrace the 20 decorated pianos that were put in public downtown locations in June.
He's delighted to see that they have been adopted. He cited evidence.
 During Wednesday's rain, people placed protective tarps over each of the nine pianos that are not under cover.
 On the piano near Fulton Opera House, instructional books have been left to encourage people to learn to play. The first page references a lesson from Jan. 23, 1958.
• And the feared vandalism of the pianos has not occurred. Gerdy could recall only one minor graffiti tagging in the two months the pianos have been on the street. And, he said, the graffiti actually complements the piano's design scheme.
"Lancaster's better angels are winning the day so far," he said of the care shown for the instruments.
The piano program, named Keys for the City, is a joint effort of Music for Everyone, a local group that promotes music and supplies instruments for school music programs, and the regional Society of Design, an organization of design and art professionals.
Corporate sponsors and individual donors are supporting the project and other groups also are getting involved.
The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects recently had a design competition to create a shelter for one of the pianos. That shelter, designed by Christopher Dawson, was built this week at North Prince and West Chestnut streets.
Wendy Tippetts, of Tippetts/Weaver Architects, hosted the design competition on behalf of AIA's central Pennsylvania chapter.
She said architectural projects typically take years from start to finish. The group was attracted to doing something that went from concept to completion in less than a month.
And, she said, they were attracted by the combination of the visual arts and music.
"It's just a fun, zany project in the city. It captured our imagination," she said.
Also getting involved are art teachers and students at McCaskey High School. A teacher-designed student-decorated piano was installed at the Roberto Clemente Park pavilion, along South Duke Street, in time for Friday night's Music Friday events.
Anyone who wanted to help decorate a piano was invited to participate in a "community paint" of a piano Friday night as part of Music Friday. That piano will be at the entrance to Place Marie, 52 N. Queen St.
A third piano is planned by the Demuth Museum operators for a spot on East King Street.
That would bring to 23 the number of streetside pianos in Lancaster.
New York City last month began a similar project. Sixty pianos were planned for public sites in the Big Apple. That represents one piano per square mile, or one for every 138,333 people in that city.
Lancaster, in contrast, will have more than three pianos per mile and one for every 2,407 people.
The Keys for the City pianos are scheduled to remain in place through mid-September.
Related Story
I hate to nitpick a popular program, especially one that exposes people to music, but do you know how many people actually learn to play the piano anymore? Not a whole lot. It seems like an aspiration from a bygone era. I have had piano students, most of whom have never heard classical music before. Only a scant few have ever been interested in it at all.

Schools used to teach music appreciation, which the slackers used to take because they thought it would be easy.....were they in for a surprise.  But the piano. Everyone used to have a piano in their home. Game shows couldn't get rid of them fast enough. Now? Maybe a kid has a 61 keyed Yamaha keyboard that makes funky sounds, but a real piano? Not too many these days have one.

So I'm torn about whether I should be rooting for this program. Most people who go by and sit down to play the piano actually just make a lot of noise and no music at all. The pianos are all out of tune and exposed to the elements. And for me, that is tantamount to piano abuse.

When my father brought my piano to Lancaster from Kansas City, It was almost 30 years old. It's  36 years old, now, and looks almost as new as when he first bought it. It also needs a good tuning, but that's the sort of thing that I keep putting off, for lack of funds.

He told me always to keep it in a warm place, with an electric warming device plugged inside of it, to keep the humidity low and never, ever place it by a window because of the variation in temperatures. So I keep his advice....

On the other hand, I have always wanted to play the piano out of doors, and this is just the excuse I need to do that!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Note To Those Who have Come Here via Google Search

While checking the Feedjit visitor tracker, I noticed a number of local visitors to this blog. Most, if not all of them came from a Google Search using the names of the accident victims in the article posted in "Grandmaman".   I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families of the young people involved in this accident. Your pain and suffering is something I can't imagine, although I have spent many sleepless nights fearing this very thing for my wayward third daughter.
Having said that, I would like to apologize for including the article from Lancaster Online in the piece that I wrote, because it was crassly insensitive to the pain and sorrow that many people are experiencing. It wasn't my intention to add to your pain and grief, and if I did, I am terribly sorry for doing so.
My prayers go out to the families of these young people.  I have removed the article and the link as well.  Again, if I have caused any unnecessary grief, I am deeply sorry.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whether 'tis Nobler to Froth o'er a Man's Man You Wished was Your Man, or to Envy his Library Card.....That is the Question....for Jewel

To know that I'm loved by the man's man I wished were my man....for an hour, at least, is making me all torn up inside. Who knew that he had a smart little brother?

What's a middle-aged woman to do?


I'm going to be a grandmaman! A nonna, a nana, a grammy....I haven't settled on which one it's to be, but something that doesn't make me sound too old. Mem Mem is the hubster's mother, and my own grandma was just Grandma. Around here you hear a billion permutations of the word. Neighbor baby's grandmaman is Gigi, pronounced Ghee Ghee....a name that invokes clarified buttery goodness. A perfect name for a Grandmother. Geez, I'm old.

Well, that's the news from Irksome Middle Child. Today she goes into find out whether the early Christmas package will be a boy terror or a girl terror. What a ride it's been with this child of mine.

She's knocked up, but settled down. She's actually behaving herself! Impending motherhood is having a curative effect on the girl. I'd dreaded this moment from the time she was 14, but she put it off til 20, so I guess she's a little more mature.

One of the things I have noticed, with deepening joy, is that as I have watched her mature, I have seen her boyfriend do likewise. Not that I am spilling family secrets here, but this young man was once a shipwreck of a soul. His life evolved around drinking, drugs, hanging out in the corner where the police would magically appear for no apparent reason at all to harass the gang of ne'er-do-wells.

I hadn't known that his sister had died in a car crash. Or that he was carrying his grief on his arm in the form of a tattoo of her name. Or that his mother, shattered by grief turned to work as a medication for her sorrow, and that his younger sister turned to drugs. All in all, a very depressing home.

Now the Irksome Middle hasn't had the benefit of having two dysfunctional parents, or dire poverty, or a crippling paralytic disease on which she could reliably use to bolster her victim status...and the remarkable thing about being locked up in solitary confinement in the juvenile detention center, is that you are reminded daily with being surrounded by other girls who are in such circumstances, and voilà! your outlook changes. A month in the hoosegow worked miracles that screaming  and punishing her just didn't accomplish....and she would be the first to tell anyone that who asked.

From joovy lockdown, she went on to work it out in a wilderness program that forced her to sleep out under the stars with a zero degree sleeping bag and just the clothes on her back. In February! She exulted in it, because her loving dad took her camping from the age of one, and being surrounded by a bunch of whiny city girls who had never been camping gave her an even new perspective on her life.

One of the other things this program did for her was to teach her the obstacle course, involving climbing rocks, hanging from zip lines and forcing yourself to climb a tower erected in the middle of the forest, to get an even better perspective on your life.

What this has produced is a young woman  (I once thought was a malignant narcissist with criminal tendencies) who is confident, optimistic and hardworking.  Being around her makes me makes other people happy.

And now she's going to actually MARRY the boy what done the deed. He asked me....ME! for advice in this matter. And I told him not to be afraid of taking the girl and making her legit. So they are going to marry at his grandmaman's church.

What can I say of this boy, but that I have watched him grow from street urchin to manhood. He works full-time and quite hard, at that. His big goal is to be a many young men who have knocked up their girl friends can say that? Bravo, Ben! You make me proud.

We find out later today whether they are blessed with a sweet little girl who will hopefully be the very image of her mother....or with a little boy who will see in his father the kind of man he will want to be when he grows up.

UPDATE: An ultrasound revealed that she is pregnant with some guy named "James David".

Sweet Baby James! I warned her future husband that if the boy cries when he's born, it means he's gay. Heh. I'm going to have fun with these kids.

From Forty Frickin' Years ago: Sweet Baby James Taylor

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Aerial Landmines

Recently, at Jaded Haven, I had a bit of a debate with a gentleman named Gedaliya. Our disagreement, while civil, demonstrated the deep divisions within the same faction that, while not causing a complete frcturing did demonstrate how divided we have become. And this is probably more dangerous than even the dangers we face.

Every now and then, however, an opinion comes sailing above that puts all the events happening below into better perspective.

I am putting the article in full, because it is both hopeful and poetic. For Gedaliya. We're on the same side, brother.

Storm of an Epoch

By Tad Wintermeyer

I have navigated over and around many storms over my years as a professional pilot. I have seen from the air squall lines, gust fronts, dry lines, rotor clouds, tornadoes, and hurricanes. None, however, frightened me as much as does the coming geopolitical storm. Nothing gives perspective on a storm better than altitude. The same is true in politics.

With sufficient reserves and altitude, it is possible to circumnavigate any storm. Few things are more beautiful or exhilarating than to glide past an exploding cumulonimbus storm cell at a safe distance. The crisp white scalloped edges belie the deadly power within. The cauliflowered heads rocket upward at a stratospheric pace. These aerial landmines are harmless at a distance. However, more than one craft has ventured too close, cut the corner too tight, shot a gap too narrow, and paid the ultimate price.

Above the dingy haze of politics, it is possible to see things as they really are. The United States is bankrupt -- economically, politically, socially, morally, and spiritually. For too long, those in power have navigated this nation ever closer to disaster. Our nation is surrounded by landmines of our own making. The financial bailouts, corporate takeovers, energy takeover, and the health care takeover, are prime examples of the willful eunuchification of American exceptionalism. America as it once was is over. The utopian sucker hole of legislated equality promised a reality not possible on this plane of existence. So long as there are good and evil, there can be no utopia. So long as there is freedom to choose between the two, there is hope.
Those in Washington have maneuvered these United States into an extremely tenuous position. The squall line is dead ahead, and there is no room to turn around. The preceding shock waves that led the market's decline and current unemployment levels are only harbingers of the coming tempest. America as we know it is out of altitude and out of gas. The inevitable is upon us. Where do those of us who subscribe to American exceptionalism turn to?

I choose to take hope in the coming storm. The gust-front has yet to hit. There is still a little more time to prepare. The current political wind is but a precursor of the impending fury -- a gentle breeze. The dark power lords have conjured a fiction of the highest magnitude. Their cumulonimbus rhetoric has reached stratospheric levels. They thunderously hammer away on a meaningless political anvil: beating sense to shreds, reason to rancor. In blinding fashion, the left attacks the right and the right the left. Pols crack and pundits shake in a hail of fire and ice.
 Neither suffix, delta nor rho, will matter in the coming storm. Each bows only to its gilded platform, upon which stands its utopian idol: power. Inherent in their worship is the belief that each one's set of ideas can make man into their own image -- that man is perfectible -- that man is god and God is man. For many politicians, government is their religion, their compass -- their navigation chart.
This theology blinds politicians to the needs of those they represent. Political pursuit of power justifies the course they plot. Politicians consistently confuse their best interest with those of their constituents. Special interests cloud the collective vision from the hidden dangers ahead. Political expediency parlays meaningful change for quick votes. This is a religion of the most sinister form.

Belief in the theology of government, large or small, leads to a myopic vision of reality. The theology of government creates a sliding scale of reality. Good is what the government says is good, and evil likewise. History becomes what the government says it should be. Reality is what it won't let us see. Viewing the world through the cataract of government dims reason and enslaves all within its purview. The theology of government is a lens that clouds perception and deadens the senses. Dependence on government for that which we are capable of achieving ourselves destroys the freedom to choose. Individualism is lost in a sea of monochromatic mediocrity. 

Inherent in the freedom to choose is the belief that good and evil are immutable. I see it every day in my law practice. Be it rape, murder, robbery, or assault, all had a choice whether or not to commit the criminal act. None accidentally committed the crime. Government can't make them choose to obey the law -- only punish them for transgressing it. The maintenance of a lawful, law-abiding society must depend on the belief in right and wrong. Once that line is blurred, it is too late; the storm is already upon us.

I welcome this storm. The cleansing power of a storm is undeniable. Afterward, the air is fresh, the land verdant -- the sky crystalline. The deadwood has fallen and the weak have succumbed. The flood will shed, and the river will wash the detritus from the sand. I know where I have placed my faith. I know that I cannot stop the wind. Nor catch the storm. But I can take refuge on the high ground, in the cleft of the Rock. I am ready for this storm, this end. Archangel, let loose the wind.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dessert for a hot Saturday

If I go out to a restaurant and I have had something new and delicious, inevitably, I will become obsessed and try to figure out how to make it myself.

This is simply the most luxurious milk shake I ever did have. Vietnamese Avocado Milk Shake. (Sinh Bo To)

Perfect way to end a hot week. Though not as hot as Texas, we have brown yards a plenty here in Lancaster, PA. So tonight, no cooking for me, and no heavy meals, either. Vietnamese food is the best way to go for light and refreshing.

I am simply going to put the recipe in here as follows, with a link back to the original article:

From Phamfatale

Sinh tố bơ is a Vietnamese-style avocado milk shake. In Vietnamese, avocado is called trái bơ, which literally translates to "butter fruit". The name is quite appropriate for this drink, which is sinfully rich. I take heart, no pun intended, in the fact that avocados are so nutritious and are loaded with the healthy kind of fat.


Servings: 6 servings
4 (Hass) avocados, ripe
juice of half a lemon (optional)
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1 quart ice cubes, crushed
1-1/2 cups soy milk, as needed (depending on how you like the consistency of your shake)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk, to taste


Peel the avocados and chop them into cubes. Drizzle lemon juice on the avocados to avoid oxidation. Add honey, if you like.
In a blender, combine all the ingredients until very smooth.
Pour into 8 glasses. Finish with a bubble tea fat straw.

This was a delightful way to finish dinner, and it was a surprise, considering that the only way I have ever eaten avocado is in guacamole. 

For Daphne - Another Day, half awake, half asleep, half in space

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What do you mean, you're not a virgin? You lied?

                      Paul S. BrownStill Life with Olive Oil and Onions

A scandal. It's a crying shame of a scandal.....Turns out that 3 to 4% of our commercially sold olive oil is NOT VIRGINAL!

The Government, arbiter of all true standards of purity will be sure to fix that.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Haramfest Fourth of July! It's a Melting Pot of Goodness

It has been a long time since I wrote up a Haramfest. And what better day to have one than on our Birthday!

So what was your day like? Today, no politics. Too depressing. Saturday evening, I went on a girl date with my eldest daughter and our neighbor. Sushi is best when shared. Eating sushi alone is a pitiable sight. You only have your sushi to eat and no one else's to sample. Where's the fun in that?

Then it was off to the fireworks with kids in tow and blankets and beach chairs and ear phones for the baby. (It was his first fireworks show). And what a show! Not bad for our middle sized village. I always feel like a little kid when the fireworks start. It's just a feeling that never gets old. Now I get to watch the reaction of our neighbor's little boy. Watching little kids react to fireworks for the first time also never gets old.

Today, we spent more time with the neighbors, Lindsay and Eric. We are fortunate to have very good neighbors on either side of us.  We share a big yard, and evening conversations. It is pleasant to share each other's company after a day of hard work.

Tonight I made a Chicken, Ham and Chorizo Paella. It isn't necessarily a traditional paella, but I am not a purist, so just about anything that can go into a one-skillet rice dish can be a paella, as long as you have saffron on  hand. Lindsay made a lovely fruit salad with berries pineapples and cantaloupe.

Paella isn't all that hard, and if you have a large, good stainless steel, flat-bottomed pan, that will do in lieu of a real paella pan.  I used a 14 inch cast iron skillet, and it does marvelously for paella.

Paella is all about doing things in layers, so prep your ingredients and add them in the proper order.

1 lb chorizo - loose not linked or dried.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bit size pieces
1 lb slice of smoked ham, cubed
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into julienne strips and sautéed
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips and sautéed
1 diced Spanish onion
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 lb asparagus stalks - fresh
1 lemon, sliced lengthwise, into 8 pieces
2 Tablespoons fresh parsely chopped finely
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup of green peas - not canned
olive oil
1 quart chicken stock
2 pinches of saffron (saffron is often sold in tiny yellow envelopes that contain exactly one pinch.
2 cups of white wine
2 heaping cups of arborio rice or another short grain variety. There is such a thing as paella rice, and it comes from Valencia Spain. I don't nitpick when it comes to rice. I use jasmine, simply because it tastes so good.
4 medium ripe tomatoes, diced

Preheat the stock in a sauce pan to a gentle simmering boil, Turn the heat to medium low to keep it hot.

Preheat your pan, and on a medium high temperature add a little olive oil and let it heat. Cook your chorizo first, breaking it into clumps. Stir it quickly and let it cook through.  Remove it to a plate, leaving the drippings behind. Add your chicken and brown it, too, and remove it from the pan to the plate with the chorizo.

Repeat this process with the ham. Add a little more oil to the skillet and sauté the onions and peppers. When they have softened, add the garlic. Then the tomatoes.

Add the rice and coat it thoroughly with the pan drippings. Once the rice is coated, add the wine and let the rice absorb. Stir quickly, because you are working with a higher than normal temperature.

Add the meat back to the pan and begin ladling the broth into the rice, 2 ladles at a time. When the rice has begun to absorb the liquid, add more. Once you have added all the liquid to the rice and meat, begin arranging your cooked pepper strips and asparagus on the top of your rice. Add lemons in a circular fashion, too.

Cover the pan and lower the heat to low and let it finish cooking for 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid
Heat your frozen peas in a bowl in the microwave, and when ready to remove the paella to the table, add them on the top. (Cooking them with the rice will produce overcooked peas)

Serves at least 8...unless you have seconds then 7. Unless you have thirds then 6.

For dessert there was Lindsay's strawberries, a store bought pound cake and banana split ice cream, with my chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache is the easiest thing to make. All you need is a bag of good semi sweet chocolate chips and a half pint of heavy whipping cream.

Heat the cream in a small heavy saucepan until it begins to bubble. Remove it from the heat and add the chocolate chips and stir them til completely melted and mixe. Keep stirring til it is cool enough to pour.

Pour this over anything you would use a hot fudge sauce for, or let it cool and frost a cake with it. You can also pour it over a cake for a satiny smooth look. You do not need to buy frosting out of a can in order to frost a cake. You can also flavor ganache with orange zest  and grand marnier for a dark chocolate/orange flavor. I do this for brownies.

All in all, we enjoyed the day and moreover, we enjoyed each other in a country that allows neighbors to speak freely without fear, move about freely without fear, and dream big. Without fear.
Think about that when you consider that in totalitarian countries, the people aren't afraid of the police and the government so much as they are afraid of their neighbors and the members of their own families.
We are truly blessed. Be thankful and cherish what we have.

Chraaaaaaahm! How lucky is it to have a deity whose name rhymes with MOM? Damn lucky, that's what.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fatherhood Conundrum

My dear friend Daphne gave her readers a problem to solve. She, herself had three possible ideas.  Perhaps, problem and solve aren't the right words to use when discussing this topic. One of the "solutions" seemed a bit too final, though I suspect it was made in jest. Here is her post in full, without the comments.

I happened to eavesdrop on a debate of sorts yesterday, I immediately came up with three separate answers to the central question, none of which formed a satisfactory or cohesive conclusion and one that bordered on the extremely hypocritical.
The conversation was centered on following premise:
Should a man be legally required to financially support a child he did not want to father.
They had a few caveats to take into consideration.
He was single, used protection consistently, had made it very clear that he had no desire to father a child with the woman he was sleeping with, inquired and requested that she use some form of birth control.
So, we have a single, responsible man who has told his girlfriend in no uncertain terms that he has zero desire to father her children but due to honest contraceptive failure, or her deception, he ends up facing a large financial responsibility for an unwanted, unplanned child that the woman has decided to keep, despite his strong objections.
My first response was a firm no, he should not be compelled to financially support her decision to keep the baby. A woman would never be legally compelled to abort or become a mother against her wishes, so why should a man, under these circumstances, be forced into a lifetime of fatherhood? The woman should be prepared to shoulder the financial ramifications of her decision alone since it was made without the man’s mutual consent.
My second response was a resounding yes, of course he should provide support for his child’s basic needs. The child’s feelings and general well-being came into play for me on this answer. The majority of children who live without the financial support of their fathers generally rely on some sort of tax funded programs or tax abatements to bridge the gaps in their mother’s paychecks. Children are expensive, even with a Walmart on every other corner. More importantly, children know when their fathers choose to contribute nothing for the food in their bellies or clothes on their backs. That can be an emotionally devastating rejection, living with the knowledge that your parent essentially doesn’t care if you’re dead or alive. I would prefer, however utopian the thought, that no child suffered that unnecessary dark bruise.
The third, knee jerk bit of inanity that leaped into my brain was righteously Calvinist in nature; you shouldn’t be sleeping with someone you don’t want to make babies with!  A bad sentence and a load of howling hypocrisy all rolled into one. I’ve never played by that rule in my own life and I still don’t. My husband and I do not want anymore children and we still like to knock boots, but how fair is it to expect a young, unmarried man to take the permanent precautions we have against an unwanted pregnancy? The woman of his heart’s desire, future mother of his most beloved, cherished children, could be waiting around the next corner of his life.
I’m stumped.
Your turn.
That is a real conundrum. It's a situation I would hate to be in, if I were a man. On the other hand, there are many more women whose children go through life without ever knowing what a father is, or what a father will ever be. Having grown up semi-motherless, myself, is like being an amputee, in a way. You always feel like half of you is missing.

And then there is the daily, obscene parade of  sloven,  foul-mouthed, uneducated teen mothers who wind up on Maury Povitch's wretched cavalcade of excess - seated next to an equally repulsive potential father. Potential, because in the hideous spectacle that follows, we see the circus master with the manilla envelope containing the DNA results that will either bind one loser to the other as the father of the unintended consequence, or it will free him  from any responsibility to a child who may know him as the only  'daddy' he's ever had. Interspersed scenes of close-up shots on 'daddy's' face and behind the curtain shots of the poor tot come up, to the 'ooohs, and awwws' of the equally sloven, stupid audience members, who seem to be wagering on the outcome. It's all so much destructive entertainment.

And then, after bitter accusations, and weeping and teeth-gnashing we get the results:  Either yes or no. But the money shot, the hook that keeps the kids watching this festival of dregs is seeing the reaction by the boy to the test. More often that not, he remains in denial of his responsibility.  The reaction to a test that exonerates the boy is equally telling. He usually jumps for joy at the prospect of not having to support this child. Relief. Joy. The 'weight', meaning the child, is now forever NOT his responsibility.

Only occasionally do we see a man of any substance on the stage. You can tell his character when, upon finding out that the child is his:  Joy. Happiness. Resolve.  And when finding out that he isn't the father:  Sorrow, a sense of betrayal, and in the very rarest of instances: Resolve. To take care of the child he didn't father, knowing that the child has looked up to him as his father. Even on a show highlighting the low-lifes, one or two rise above the pit and walk upright as men.

Imitation isn't always the best form of flattery, sometimes it's a condemnation.

Next post:  Happy, Wishful Unrealities vs. Harsh Realities - Guess who loses

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thank you, john jay and Gerard for allowing me to be the link whore that I was meant to be!

I would like to thank everyone who came over from summer patriot, winter soldier and American Digest to read the Blasphemous Book of Jau Jau, who is my sock puppet and mischievous altered ego.

The original blog is here, if you would like to leave snark, death threats, recipe exchanges and grammar corrections on specific chapters. I will be updating it there and adding it here to the little tab doohickies.