Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Boies: Is it your judgment that prior to the last 100 years in China and India there were many polygamous marriages?
Witness: Yes, but I need to answer with another statement.
Boies: Keep it short.
Witness: In those societies, men would still marry one woman at a time. A rich man would then marry other women, but each woman is a separate marriage, so it’s still one man and one woman.(Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, Good Guy Lawyer Bois cross-examining "expert witness on marriage" Blakenhorn, supporter of Proposition 8)
Just out of curiosity, if two of the main arguments against gay marriage are 1) marriage is between one man and one woman and 2) same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy but if (as their own expert witness says) polygamy is just a series of one-man-one-woman marriages, what exactly is the problem? I'm not saying that I think polygamy is a great idea, mind you, but by their own logic it's an empty argument.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
She stopped by my office a couple hours later and with a haunted look started telling me about their trip, and how they stepped out the door into the street and felt the ground begin to shake, and how they turned around to watch this multi-story building collapse down into itself, almost everyone inside, including the people they had just met with, crushed to death.
It took her and her students almost week to get a flight out of Haiti to the Dominican Republic, and eventually from there back to New York. She thinks recovery will be a long time coming, if ever coming at all.
Erica and I were walking up Broadway one day last week, talking about this and that, and she turned to me suddenly and asked, "Have you ever been in a natural disaster?"
I have not, and I am grateful to not be carrying that particular kind of haunting around with me.
(South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer, discussing subsidized school lunches for poor children)
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Menu: Stir-fried bok choy, baked teriyaki tofu, braised squash, miso soup, sticky rice
Stir-Fried Bok Choy:
(as modified from Mark Bitman)
3 tablespoons oil (we used olive oil)
3 tablespoons miced garlic
3 tablespoons peeled & minced ginger
1 cup chopped scallions
4 pounds bok choy, cut into 1-inch sections
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth, white wine, or water)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt & pepper to taste
minced chives for garnish
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat fro 3-4 minutes. Add the oil and, almost immediately, the garlic, ginger and scallions. Cook, stirring, for about a minute, then add the bok choy and turn heat up to high.
Cook, stirring almost constantly, for 3 minutes (this actually took closer to 5-10 minutes because we had so much bok choy), then add broth. Cook, stirring, until almost all broth evaporates and the bok choy is tender. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and turn off heat. Season with salt & pepper, garnish, and serve.
Teriyaki Baked Tofu:
(as modified from Delicious Living, thanks to Andrea!)
1 cup soy sauce
2 pounds extra-firm tofu
1 cup nutritional yeast
4 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4-8 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover broiling rack or baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drain and blot dry tofu, then cut horizontally into 3rds, then lengthwise into 6ths, making 18 strips from each pound. Lay strips on aluminum foil, not touching each other, coat in soy sauce, sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast, and bake for about 45 minutes.
Mix teriyaki ingredients and spoon over cooked tofu strips. Broil strips for 5-10 minutes until well browned (check frequently). Serve warm.
3 lbs. pumpkin, butternut, kabocha, or other squash
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or other sweetener
2 tablespoons mirin, sake, or white wine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in large baking dish or casserole or dutch oven. Toss to coat, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven, stir. If squash seems dry add more liquid, recover in foil, return to oven. If it seems watery, return to oven uncovered. Continue to bake until squash is tender, about 15-30 more minutes. Stir, serve warm.
2 4-6 inch strips dried dashi kombu seaweed
6 tablespoons miso paste
a couple scallions
1 package firm silken tofu
3 tablespoons dried wakame seaweed
Soak kombu in 2 liters water, room temperature, for 6-8 hours, then discard seaweed. (This broth is a form of dashi, and can be used for lots of different Japanese dishes.)
Dissolve 5 tablespoons miso paste in small amount of dashi, then add to soup pot. Heat over medium-low heat. Add chopped scallions (whites only), diced tofu, and dried wakame. Serve warm, garnished with chopped scallion greens.
Given Andy's late arrival, we ended up keeping everything but the soup warming in the oven until it was time to eat. Then served with sticky rice. I think everyone liked this meal, given that (to my dismay) we've got no leftovers.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
What’s The Non-Sexist Way To Say, “Grow Some Goddamn Balls And Fuckin’ Pass The Fuckin’ Goddamn Health-Care Bill, You Goddamn Pussies”?
(Pardon the language. It's in quotes though, Mom, so it's okay.)
Friday, January 22, 2010
"...this Court now concludes that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption, or the appearance of corruption. That speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that those officials are corrupt. And the appearance of influence and access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy." (Citizens United V FEC, Syllabus, P5 Para 2)
"That the opinion actually discusses whether the electorate might 'lose faith' in our entire form of government because of this decision should, on its face, have been enough to stop this ruling in its tracks." (Pam's House Blend)"The founders of this nation warned about the dangers of corporate influence. The Constitution they wrote mentions many things and assigns them rights and protections — the people, militias, the press, religions. But it does not mention corporations." (New York Times)
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
"Late in the afternoon the sun slanted down into the mossy yard belonging to Francie Nolan's house, and warmed the worn wooden fence. Looking at the shafted sun, Francie had that same fine feeling that came when she recalled the poem they recited in school.
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring
pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green,
indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld."
While I love this poem, and wrote it in many a blank book when I was little, and memorized it and created vast imagined worlds around it, my favorite bit of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn involves Francie's favorite past-time. I have not read this book in twenty years but I still love the thought of Francie, armed with a bowl of mints and a library book (Francie very systematically worked her way through the local public library), curled up on the fire-escape outside her family's apartment, under the spreading branches of the tree growing up through the yard, her own personal Tree of Heaven.
Also I loved the bit about Francie and her brother being made to wear heads of garlic around their necks, as evidenced in my garlic soup ramble from a few years back. Clearly Francie has been a presence in my life for eons, even if not always entirely recognized by me. Now what to do with this framed photograph, given to me last night by a woman who has always, in her odd way, seen parts of me I never did.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Anything Goes Granola
(as stolen from Mark Bittman):
5 cups rolled oats (not quick-cook)
3 cups mixed seeds & nuts (we've been using chopped walnuts, almonds, and cashews)
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or other spices to taste
1/2 cup to 1 cup honey or maple syrup to taste (we've been using 1/4 cup agave nectar)
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups raisins or other dried fruit (we've used dried cranberries and also some chopped crystallized ginger -- delicious!)
Mix all ingredients except the dried fruit in a large bowl, and then spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove, add dried fruit, let cool, and eat away. This is wonderful with plain old milk, but even better with home-made yogurt.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I wonder sometimes, though, whether my teenage fascination with these tales of going native, of throwing off civilization's shackles and disappearing into the wilderness, revolved around the notion of transformation or the notion of disappearance.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Andy came over to my place on New Year's Eve with part of a carrot cake in tow, fresh from his sister's oven. I, ever so slightly tipsy, blurted out in a moment of rudeness unusual even for me, "How nice of you, Andy, but I don't really like carrot cake!"
He looked crestfallen. I quickly apologized. And the next morning, in the midst of gathering up beer bottles and wine glasses, washing dishes, righting the wreckage of the previous evening, I decided I'd better give his carrot cake a go.
And lo, it may be time to admit that I perhaps like carrot cake, and that this tenet, once so accepted, is no longer valid.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Saturday, January 02, 2010
He was feeling a bit better by Christmas evening and emerged to join us around the dinner table for a little while. He even partook in the opening of the presents and, after making some sarcastically humorous remark, we all looked at each other and smiled knowingly. Our Paul was back on his game again. Thank God.
But not quite. Saturday morning found all of us gathered around the breakfast table staring with appalled fascination at Paul's right foot, which was bright as a boiled lobster and twice its normal size. Mom and I suggested he go to the hospital, just to have them take a look at it. Paul, being so rarely sick and a semi-rugged outdoorsman to boot, shrugged us off and retired with Shanna to the study to do a little internet research. A few minutes later he hobbled back downstairs and said, "Well. Yeah. You better take me to the ER."
Turns out Paul picked up a little bacterial infection while vacationing with Mom in Hawaii a few weeks back. A particularly nasty little infection that starts with what seems to be a 24-hour bug and ends in liver and/or kidney failure, meningitis, and eventual death.
Nate made up a bag lunch for them to take with them, and Mom drove Paul off to the Anacortes emergency room. I decided I better go see what was going on when, over an hour later, we still had not heard from Mom, nor was she answering her cell phone.
Evan very kindly drove me down to the hospital, where I had to call the ER from the waiting room and state my business. Which is what brings me to nomenclature. I said that I was looking for Vicki McNeil and Paul Dinnel, and when asked how I was related to them, started to explain that she was my mother, he was her husband, etcetera, etcetera. What came out, and what I found so surprising, was this: "I'm their daughter."
In the end, Paul got a course of IV antibiotics and a week's worth of pills and seems to be doing much better. And me, well if anyone asks me next December where I'll be spending the holidays, I might say, simply, "At my parents' place."