Krauthammer 40,000 declares: The food at this restaurant is terrible. And the portions! So small!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Although it's as yet a bit early for fall squash, a cool summer and early cold snap have brought some good sweet pumpkins and acorn squash to market already. Here is a simple recipe for roasted pumpkin and squash soup.
for the stock
All the reserved bones n gizzards n shit from last night's roast chicken
1 sweet onion, quartered
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 sticks cinammon
3-4 star anise pods
1 tspn whole black peppercorns
coarse sea salt
for the roasted squash
1 acorn squash, halved, seeds removed and discarded
1 sweet (AKA sugar AKA baking) pumpkin, halved, seeds removed and reserved
extra virgin olive oil
for bringing it all together
1 cup heavy cream
1 pinch turmeric
fine sea salt to taste
for the garnish
reserved pumpkin seeds, gunk removed, rinsed and patted dry
extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
Begin by making the broth. Combine the stock ingredients in a medium stock put, cover with water, salt generously, bring to a slow boil, reduce, and simmer for two hours.
During the second hour of simmering, preheat the overn to 375. Rub the exposed flesh of the squashes with good olive oil and place face down in a lightly oiled ceramic roasting dish. Roast for 30-40 minutes.
While the squash are roasting, toast the pumpkin seeds. Simply toss them with a little bit of oil and a lot of salt, lay on a cookie pan, and throw them in the oven on a lower rack. Keep an eye on them and pull them out when they've browned. Set them aside.
When the squash have roasted, remove from the oven and let them cool until you can touch them. Their rinds should easily peel away at this point. Scoop out the flesh, roughly chop it, and reserve.
After a couple hours of simmering, strain the broth through a very fine sieve. Add the squash. Return to heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer together for 5-10 minutes.
Now purée the soup in a food processor, adding the cup of cream and a pinch or two of turmeric for an even bolder yellow color. Serve immediately, piping hot, garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
RUFUS T. FIREFLY: Where's my Stradivarius?Let us presume that the Italian government is lying when it denies claims that it "bribed" the Taliban, paying them off in order to maintain calm in Afghan provinces patrolled by Italian troops. Wouldn't this simply reflect the adoption of the Anbar-Awakening Strategy, you know, As Seen On the Surge™?
OFFICER: Here, sir.
FIREFLY: I'll show 'em they can't fiddle around with old Firefly!
[he pulls a tommygun out of his violin case and opens fire]
FIREFLY: Look at 'em run! Now they know they've been in a war!
BOB ROLAND: Your Excellency!
FIREFLY: Hahahahahaha, they're fleeing like rats!
ROLAND: But sir, I've got to tell you...
FIREFLY: Remind me to give myself the Firefly Medal for this!
[he fires again]
ROLAND: Your Excellency, you're shooting your own men!
[Firefly fires again]
ROLAND: You're shooting your own men!
FIREFLY: Here's $5, keep it under your hat.
[holds out his hat to take the $5 back]
FIREFLY: Never mind, I'll keep it under my hat.
One of the most curious attitudes of our so-called capitalist society is the dishonor it assigns to certain kinds of monetary exchange. Like, it is okay to spend a gazillion dollars invading Iraq and Afghanistan, but no one ever considered offering Iran a few tens of millions a year in exchange for not building a nuke, or what have you?
And is there not also a lesson here about the supposed intractable, millenarian, indissuadable, extremist, fundamnetalist, murderous kook squad that is--supposedly--the Taliban, or al Qaeda, or whomever? I mean, if broke-ass Italy can afford the price of peace, then surely a) the price of peace is not that high, and b) the United States can afford to borrow the money to afford it.
This in turn is a roundabout way of saying that, obviously, neither peace nor "victory" are the point; the point is to prolong. That is all.
GEN JACK D. RIPPER: Your commie has no regard for human life, not even his own. And for this reason, men, I want to impress upon you the need for extreme watchfulness. The enemy may come individually, or he may come in strength. He may even come in the uniform of our own troops. But however he comes we must stop him. We must not allow him to gain entrance to this base. Now, I am going to give you three simple rules. First, trust no one, whatever his uniform or rank, unless he is known to you personally. Second, anyone or anything that approaches within 200 yards of the perimeter is to be fired upon. Third, if in doubt, shoot first, and ask questions afterwards. I would sooner accept a few casualties through accident than lose the entire base and its personnel through carelessness. Any variation on these rules must come from me personally. Now, men, in conclusion, I would like to say that, in the two years it has been my privilege to be your commanding officer, I have always expected the best from you, and you have never given me anything less than that.State power is gaudy, and the institutions of "legitimate" violence love nothing so much as a pair of épaulettes. The police and military are the great purveyors of drag culture in any society. And it has long and often been the case that their affectations are used against them--worse, against the civilians who have been trained and indoctrinated to show deference to the uniform.
Even in the United States, we see such phenomena as home invaders dressing in SWAT gear before breaking into houses, as Radley Balko has documented on his blog.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Running around today, so here's some opera. Tchaikovsky is far from my favorite, and I find that Eugene Onegin, with the exception of some lovely choral numbers, drags and plods, but it has a great opening and a grand final scene, in which the once-young, now-regal Tatiana rejects her former playboy suitor, the eponymous Onegin, though she admits that she loves him, because she has since married and must remain faithful to her husband. Fucking Russians. The libretto is closely adapted from the Pushkin novel of the same name and has some beautiful poetry. Now, I confess, I find Renée Fleming a little hard to take here--though she is almost preternaturally perfect tonally, she's got a real stick up her ass, if you'll pardon the expression, and goddamn if she doesn't need to loosen up before her lower jaw detaches and starts its own solo career. That said, Dmitri Hvorostovsky just can't be beat; he's one of our finest baritones, and he's most famous for this role. His last moments alone onstage with just the rumbling orchestra rising to swallow him are the reason this art is still around.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Inevitably when you aver that the state is unjust, the law unfair, society mere coercion, etc. etc. and so forth, someone pops up to explain that while you may not like it, buster, if it weren't for our institutions, however flawed they may be, then you would be raped, killed, and eaten any second now. Then everyone yells Sudan!, jumps around, and demands an historical counterexample. In fact, the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley seems to have existed as a peaceful urban culture for thousands of years with no indication of a ruling elite or priestly class, indeed with no presntly known indication of an army. Of course, their script is as yet undeciphered and our knowledge of them remains scattered and incomplete. It may have been that some sort of commercial class exercised oligarchic control--certainly the regularized systems of weights and measures as well as what appear to be codified systems of urban planning and building construction suggest some mechanism of large-scale cooperation, but again: there is no evidence of a governing structure that we would recognize from any other historic example. Keep in mind that not only was Harappan civilization durable, it was far-flung, occupying much of what is now Pakistan at its peak. It is in any case interesting to consider that such a thing not only existed, but endured.