I was driving around near the tiny hamlet of Ebenezer today and witnessed some of the destruction from the gigantic tornado that rolled through Mississippi in April killing 10 people. Experts said the tornado was 1.5 miles wide and traveled on the ground for nearly 150 miles.
This picture is from west of Highway 433 and the destruction along the highway is almost 3/4 of a mile in length. There isn't a structure within 500 yards of this roof or wall or whatever is it, so it traveled quite a distance before coming to rest among some sheared off trees. Luckily this is a very rural area, otherwise the toll would have been higher.
Today, I visited the War Memorial building in downtown Jackson to pay respects to the brave soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our common values and beliefs in America.
The inscription above the front columns reads, "Peace shall come to those who strive for peace."
The inscription on the crypt reads, "Time will not dim the glory of their deeds" and "May this symbol stand guard over the ideals and purposes for which gallant Mississippians suffered and may it serve as inspiration to us to shield forever the fragile quality of liberty."
The faces of sacrifice.
God bless the United States and her mighty military that protects us from tyranny.
UPDATE: Borrowed this link from the blog And So it Goes in Shreveport and as she states, "if it doesn't bring you to tears, you're made of stone." Amen.
Just got back from a BBQ party out at the Reservoir, so i'm feeling nappy, hot and drunk.
I haven't seen some of these friends in years and there were a few folks there who I could continue to live without. The BBQ was marginal, the potato salad had too much Miracle Whip in it, but on the bright side the beer was cold, the sun was hot and my cold yellow wax bean and green bean salad with gorgonzola cheese and toasted cashews was a hit! 6 out of 10 patrons had no idea what gorgonzola was.
I was having a pretty good time until a long married couple got into a literal knock down drag out fight which kinda ruined the fun for everyone. Somebody got into the tequila a little too profundo and then the name calling started. . .it was all downhill after that. I had second thoughts about going already and I should have heeded the omen of stepping into the shower this morning with my ankle socks on.
Ah well, just waiting for the sun to set now so I can crank up the fire barrel and howl at the moon! One man parties are so much less dramatic and emotional.
It's not often the old guys get out there and do an interview, but here is some enlightening news from Rush.
Also, a concert in The Woodlands around my birthday, oh can't wait! I am there!
I haven't done a whole lot of food blogging lately, so I know I'm owing you guys one and here it is.
I learned the hard way in cooking that simple is sometimes best. Everyone, including me, is guilty of throwing every spice, herb, mustard, wine imaginable into a pot and cooking the shit out of it and it really doesn't have to be that complicated.
For this reason, I remember a particular appetizer course of a seven course prix fixe dinner I had at The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco years ago and remember nothing of the rest of the menu. Well, except for the 60-year old port wine I had with the cheese course. The appetizer was four types of heirloom tomato concasse (peeled, seeded and diced) that had been pressed into individual ring molds along a rectangular plate leaving behind four distinct round disks of beautiful tomato. There were purple tomatoes, probably Brandywine, a yellow variety, a typical red tomato and a green one. Accompanying the tomatoes were several slivers of dried prosciutto ham and nothing more. The tomatoes had hardly been doctored beyond peeling and seeding; there were no pungent olive oils or tart balsamic reductions on the plate. Not even an herb garnish. It was simply tomato and salty ham and it couldn't have been more divine. Each of the tomatoes differed so greatly from one another in texture, acidity and sweetness which all balanced perfectly with the savory and crisp prosciutto. Simple perfection.
Today we visit that same principle, but with the classic combination of beef and red wine.
Braised Beef Short Ribs in Pinot Noir, carmelized onions and rosemary
1.5 lbs. beef short ribs
1 medium onion, sliced
3 large cloves of garlic, sliced
2 cups of Fat Bastard pinot noir
1-2 cups of chicken stock or water
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP honey
1-2 inch spring of rosemary, bruised
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
flour, for dredging
Season the beef with salt and pepper and dredge in seasoned flour, dusting off excess. Brown the beef in olive oil on all sides until colored brown nicely, place browned beef in deep casserole or pot.
Should look something like this:
After browning all of the ribs, add 1/2 TBSP of butter to the pan and saute the onions over medium high heat for 4 minutes, reduce heat to medium low and allow the onions to caramelize slowly. Stir them frequently. After 8 minutes add the sugar and continue to slowly caramelize the onions. Do not let them burn, reduce heat even lower if necessary.
Once the onions have caramelized, slide them to one side of the pan and add another 1/2 TBSP of butter, then add the garlic. Slide the pan so the side with the onions is off the burner slightly and increase the heat to just above medium low. Allow the garlic to brown as shown in the picture below. Please do not burn the garlic as the only thing in a kitchen that tastes worse than burnt garlic is burnt beans.
Once the garlic has browned, deglaze the pan with the red wine. Reduce this by half and add to the pot with the beef. Add 1 to 2 cups of chicken stock or water to the pan until the beef is about half to two-thirds covered. Bruise the rosemary with the back of a knife and add it, the honey, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the pot. Skim as much fat as possible from the surface as you bring to a boil, cover and place in a 325 degree oven for 1.5 to 2 hours.
When it is done cooking there should be a reduced and thickened jus of sweet and sour goodness in the bottom of the pan and the meat should be fork tender. If it's not tender enough, cook a little longer.
Serve over rice or risotto or do like I do and eat it right out of the pot. Enjoy and bon appetit!
"His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.
As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.
Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly--. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone."
The Panther by Rainer Maria Rilke
Who are you to wave your finger?
Ya' must have been out your head.
Eye hole deep in muddy waters.
You practically raised the dead.
Rob the grave, to snow the cradle.
Then burn the evidence down.
Soapbox, house of cards, and glass,
So don't go tossin' your stones around.
You must have been high.
You must have been high.
You must have been.
Foot in mouth, and head up asshole.
Whatcha talkin' 'bout?
Difficult to dance 'round this one
'Til you pull it out, boy!
You must have been, so high.
You must have been, so high.
Steal, borrow, refer, save your shady inference.
Kangaroo done hung the juror with the innocent.
Now you're weeping shades of cozened indigo
Got lemon juice up in your... EYE!
When you pissed all over my black kettle
You must have been HIGH, HIGH
You must have been HIGH, HIGH
Who are you to wave your finger?
So full of it.
Eyeballs deep in muddy waters
Liar, lawyer, mirror, show me.
What's the difference?
Kangaroo done hung the guilty with the innocent.
You'll weep or, change the cozened indigo.
Got lemon juice up in your high eye.
When you pissed all over my black kettle
You musta been!
So who are you to wave your finger?
Who are you to wave your fatty fingers at me?
You must, have been, out your, mind!
Weepin' shades of indigo
Shed without a reason
Weepin' shades of indigo
Mirror for ya,
What's the difference?
Kangaroo be stoned
He's guilty as the government
Will you weep or, change the cozened indigo
Got lemon juice up in your, EYE!
Now when you pissed all over my black kettle.
You musta been HIGH, HIGH, HIGH, HIGH.
Eyeballs deep in muddy waters
Your balls deep in muddy waters.
Ganja, please, you must have been out your MIND!
More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/tool/#share
"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." - Ray Bradbury
A great piano solo composition by Beethoven and it has been said that he wrote this piece for a woman he pursued yet turned him down in marriage. Some believe that the translation of the title is either "For Elise" or "For Therese" but either way if the story is true, it is a sad chapter in the life of Beethoven forever captured in the form of glorious and captivating music.
Damnit. I just woke up out of a dead sleep, heart pounding, blood racing and now having trouble getting back to sleep. Maybe a glass of milk will help.
But in the meantime while I have it on my mind, when I was a child I was exposed to classical music like many my age via Bugs Bunny cartoons and some of those songs have stuck with me for over thirty years. A personal favorite is the cartoon called "Rhapsody Rabbit" in which Bugs, the piano virtuoso, takes on the incredible composition Hungarian Rhapsody #2 by composer Franz Liszt. This is the most famous of the 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies Liszt wrote and in my opinion is one of the greatest piano compositions ever created. Take that all you Brahms fans!
Anyway, I couldn't find the Bugs Bunny version in which he is tormented by a mouse who lives in the piano, but here is Taiwanese piano phenomenon Jung Lin performing the ultra-complex and moving piece minus the chicanery of a pesky piano-dwelling rodent.
Bobcat, sometimes people feel like that too. Don't worry, it'll get better, not all men cats are like him.
See you're feeling better, aren't you? Just takes a little time. . .
Last year, I bought this asiatic lily plant for the large barrel on the front porch and it never seemed to progress much once it was planted. It was blooming when I bought it and immediately dropped the bloooms once I got it in the dirt and I never saw another flower. Yeah, I was unimpressed.
The lily died off like the other three plants did and much to my surprise after wintering over, three of the four plants returned this year, with the lily leading the way in growth and healthiness. It has literally bloomed overnight and this year was the first time I was able to enjoy the fragrance and the remarkable beauty of the flower. I wish the internet had "smell-o'-net" because you would love it! I'm thinking about planting some more this year simply to enjoy the complex scent of this lovely variety.
Man, just got off customer service from Minnesota trying to return a purchase. I think I was talking with Marge Gunderson from the movie Fargo. And that woman is probably telling her friends, oh yaah it was sooo cute yaah know, he said "y'all" just like they do in the movies.
I may not agree with John Cougar's politics, and this video is fucking terrible, but one thing is clear, this man can bring the music and in reality, that's all that counts.
. . .but such a damn goody!
One fact of life: life will not be stopped.
And such is the case in the garden this evening. remember the "baby squishes" from last week? Well, TA DA!
Man, can't wait for some fried squash!
And those tomatoes? They are coming along nicely too. The weekend rain sure helped everything and without a doubt I am one happy garden ape.
Here is the Cherry 100 variety. . .
And below are what I think are Better Boy. . .could be Arkansas Traveler, I'll have to check on that.
Lots of good eating ahead folks. And it's gonna be a toss-up between what I like better, fresh tomatoes or a pot full of purple hull peas. Ah, the choices! What do you think?
lovely sleepy time crooning.
The quote above is Raoul Duke upon seeing himself during the Jefferson Airplane hallucination scene in Fear and Loathing is Las Vegas.
I was standing in a convenience store yesterday morning, numbed to my surroundings and contemplating the many weaknesses of my personality, and waiting to purchase a Naked Juice Protein Smoothie which I knew was going to taste like sandpaper (it did), when I picked up the local paper. Ah interesting, an article about the recent expansion at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Mmmhmm, very interesting, nice landscape photo of a construction site. Excellent photographic composition, nice exposure for a high sun.
Wait a minute! That's my job! Wait a minute! That's my truck! Well, I'll be dog.
I shared my great finding with Beatrice, who was severely unimpressed. And I can understand, it's not like I saved children from a burning building or created a new method of modifying genetic vaccines. I was simply parked in front of a camera on a jobsite on my lunch break. Sigh. . .
I opened the paper and below the fold was another photo, which showed me and the piling contractor's wife standing beside the drilling rig. I'll admit you can't really see me all that well because I am slightly behind her, but you know, at least it wasn't a picture of my face holding a small sign below it with my name and birth date on it and a headline proclaiming, "Armed and Dangerous" or "Pervert on the Loose" or something likewise.
Ok, my fifteen milliseconds of fame are over. I casually resume my anonymity with glee.
Ok, forget what I said below about Warner Brothers panty wads, apparently there is a way to embed this video.
Well WB, you still suck. Three seconds of viewing your television channel proves that.
C'mon. Dawson Creek?
The prosecution rests.
Pretty damn good in the Saturday afternoon rain, which, of course means that I cannot get out there to molest Mother Earth into making more fruit from my labor, dangit.
I did manage to get some purple basil, Genovese basil, globe basil, lemon thyme and a tricolored sage (salvia) planted before the rain rolled through. And thankfully, after a three week battle with riding lawn mower blades and drive pulley belts which i won three days ago, I was able to cut half of the acreage yesterday evening. Now? All wet. :(
Alas, here we are. So hey, let's listen to some music to cheer our sad souls!
First is a boo-bap-ba-dee-bee-bob rendition of Donald Fagan's 1982 calypso melodrama The Goodbye Look as performed by Mel Torme. Yes, I dig Mel Torme and strangely, was digging Donald Fagan in 1982 when I was 12 years old. Sue Me.
I read the book
I believe I just got the goodbye look
Our second selection, in keeping with the island theme is the beautful collboration of Buena Vista Social Club performing El Cuarto de Tula (Tula's Room). A lovely construction with so much going on in the music that my head just lolls with the beat.
And finally, for those who don't remember Donald Fagan's 1982 album The Nightfly, which includes the song New Frontiers that could quite possibly compete with my top Rush favorites, here is another one that you probably will remember, I.G.Y.
For you younger viewers who may not know, that revolving contraption above is called a record player. That's what we had before laser beams and shit.
P.S. I would really like to embed the New Frontiers video here, but since Warner Brothers gets it's panties in a wad over copyright, no one is allowed to post it anywhere outside of YouTube, which to me is ignorant. Simply by sharing might possibly mean more revenues for WB in the long run. But what the fuck do I know, after all, The Nightfly, written by one of the whitest crackers in music reached #24 of the Black Album charts in 1982, which is a conundrum enough in itself.
Can't find sleep tonight, so let's admire some music together.
Alex Lifeson, as some of you may know, is the highly accomplished yet underrated guitarist for the Canadian rock trio Rush. My favorite band incidentally.
In 1996, Alex released a solo project simply called Victor, a name taken from a poem by W.H. Auden. Many critics blasted the album for it's dark and sometimes rather disturbing content, but one thing is clear, this is NOT a Rush album.
I like the eclectic mix of the music and below you will find two of the fine instrumentals from the album. Clearly, Alex is burning on the guitar on these two catchy and well-orchestrated works. I bought this album on release and it is no longer in print, so Nils if you still have my copy, I'd like to add it to my collection of music.
Anyways....all you late night owls, skeezers, static-humming panel beaters, dopers, and pumpkin heads who prowl the internet late at night, enjoy two wonderful songs by Alex.
Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss. - Lou Mannheim
It just might be healthier to eat raw sugar by the double handful from a five pound sack. All hail Ron Popeil and Jack LaLanne!
And from the I'da never thunk it department, this item has some great health benefits, just as long as you don't make it in the microwave.
Life is coming hard and fast these days and the garden offers a quiet sanctuary to ponder weighty thoughts and be one with the natural world. There is something satisfyingly simple and soothing about being out there alone amongst the growing things and admiring the great tenacity of life.
Here is a close-up of the squash. I guess one might call those "baby squishes."
And here are the very healthy and much awaited purple hull peas. And my homemade "trellis of disorder", which last year wasn't so effective because I did not have it constructed before these vining peas sent out the climbing "shoot" and flopped over on the ground to grapple with the grass and each other. This year I expect better results. Man, fresh oven-baked cornbread and purple hulls peas? Nothing better!
And let's not forget the tomato, the true fruit of summertime labor. You know I was wrong, I think i have more than four varieties planted. Let's see: Better Boy, Arkansas Traveler, Celebrity, Big Boy, Sweet 100 and another indeterminate cherry type tomato that I cannot recall. No matter, all tomatoes are good and it's always the highlight of the summer to have a fresh tomato from the garden. Can't wait!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
There are defining moments in life when the great questions of the heart are answered in the blink of an eye and when you least expect it, and only those with their eyes wide open will ever see the real truth, however fleeting and painful it may be to comprehend.
It is all too easy to walk through life disaffected and detached from sheer reality, harboring a weakened sense of right and wrong through darkened, convex, tunnel vision. Admittedly, I am one of those people. The day to day, run of the mill happenings in life get jumbled together into a melange of indistinguishable grays, an amorphous form, a muddied vision, opaque and obtuse. The highlights and everyday victories are muted, hidden, and cloaked. Even the sharpest mind can fall victim and I am no exception.
Clearly, life will gently nudge you along as a blue sky beacons overhead, but all you can absorb in your reluctance are the non-existent dark clouds over the horizon, the dolor and the desolation. And then one day, it's as if your eyes have been polished with a laser and the whole garbled, technicolor mess of realism crashes down on your brain with the unrelenting and unkind force of raw emotion. A heavy cost.
Life is how you live it. Not what is given to you, but what you earn and the pain that comes when something important is taken away. Who wants to wake up everyday with the coulda, shoulda, wouldas pounding your hypothalmus like a unstoppable jackhammer? It is no way to be.
Life is how you live it and who you share it with. And life is definitely worth living, you only have to open your eyes to see the glory of it and of those around you. Every step we take in life is littered with the castings of decision-making, some decisions meet with success and others meet with utter failure. Some decisions are purely out of our control and made for us, the best we can do is fight the trend, struggle with the aftermath and learn from the experience.
My eyes have been opened and I am grateful to see.
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Too all the mothers I know, but especially, my mom, Beatrice and my big sister, thank you for all each have ever done for me. Each of you have nurtured a part of my heart, mind and soul in an effort to make me a better man. Thank you and I love you all!
Especially you Beatrice. . .
Poor Contessa, she's just now realizing that dreams (of my father?) sometimes DO NOT come true.
Not to be left out of the anti-anti-muslim extremist psychosis, CNN adds to the idiocy by insinuating that the bomber was disturbed by the foreclosure on his home. Yeah, first thing I think about when I default on a loan is building a giant fucking fertilizer bomb and parking it in a crowded city street.
Bee-yow! Take that Citibank!
Did I miss a memo about zombies taking over? Because it seems everyone is a bit short on brains. . .
H/T: Weasel Zippers
P.S. The alleged bomber was placed on the "no-fly" list Monday morning and was still able to board a plane Monday night, early Tuesday. (source: ACE) I guess that system is working quite well, isn't it Janet?
"We will keep our boot on the throat of BP"
Oh really now? I guess this is ok too, just like threatening to kill the Jonas Brothers, or uttering profanities publicly, even though you are the most highly regarded leader of the free world. Let me rephrase that, the office holder of the most highly regarded office of the free world. Clears that up a bit.
H/T: Pundit and Pundette and Weasel Zippers
From a chain email courtesy of Nils:
Dear President Obama:
I'm planning to move my family and my extended family to Mexico, and I am asking you to assist us.
We will simply walk across the border from the U.S. Into Mexico; we'll need your help to make a few arrangements.
We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws.
I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here. So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Calderon, that we are on the way over?
Please let him know we expect the following:
1. Free medical care for my entire family.
2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.
3. All Mexican Government forms must be printed in English.
4. I want my grandkids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bi-lingual) teachers.
5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and history.
6. I want my grandkids to see the American flag on one of the flag poles at their school.
7. Please plan to feed my grandkids at school for both breakfast and lunch.
8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.
9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico, but I won't purchase car insurance, and I probably won't make any special effort to learn local traffic laws.
10. In the event one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car has at least one English-speaking officer.
11. I plan to fly the U.S. Flag from my housetop, put U S. Flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.
12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, or have any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.
13. Please have the president tell all the Mexican people to be extremely nice and never say critical things about me or my family, or about the strain we might place on their economy.
14. I want to receive free food stamps.
15. Naturally, I'll expect free rent subsidies.
16. I'll need income tax credits so that although I don't pay Mexican taxes, I'll receive money from the government.
17. Please arrange it so that the Mexican Government pays US$4,500.00 to help me buy a new car.
18. Oh yes, I almost forgot, please enroll me free into the Mexican Social Security program so that I'll get a monthly income in retirement.
I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all his people who walk over to the U.S. From Mexico. I am sure that President Calderon won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.
Thank you so much for your kind help.
You're the man!!!
Again I disclaim: it is not often that I endorse a product, much less one that I have never used before. But as with all product endorsements from Burning Toast, you can count on my extremely high standards of quality assurance.
Last year, I think it was, I brought you the fantastic and all-purpose creation known as Bacon Salt. Well, it's not every day that a company can outdo it's own ingenuity and simple genius, but the folks at J & D's Foods have done exactly that with their latest culinary creation.
Some call it genius. Some call it cutting edge. Others call it blasphemous. I call it Top Shelf! They call it: Baconnaise!
Yes, just when you thought mayonnaise couldn't get any better (or worse depending on your dietary concerns) along comes Baconnaise. Not since Miracle Whip ruined the sublime simplicity of mayonnaise with sugar, vinegar and enzyme modified egg yolk has anyone bucked up enough gonadal tissue to strike out at the centuries old keystone of physics and French cuisine, emulsified eggs and oils.
It's not like the flavors of bacon and mayonnaise have never been melded together before, but by golly, this is the first time it has been mass produced, marketed and made in the U.S.A. Glad to see someone is still packing a pair these days!
Islamic Rage Boy could not be reached for comment.
Durka durka you freak!