Friday, August 26, 2011

Funky Friday, What Did You Expect? Edition

Yep. I had to do it.

...and goodnight to my dear readers. Tomorrow is a travel day as intellikid and I head Boston-ward once again. I'll be back after Labor Day. Or Labour Day, for my Canadian friends.

UPDATE:  I decided not to drive into a tropical storm, so plan to spend another day in Bubbaville. I hope everyone in Irene's path is safe!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wienerdog Wednesday, Monday Meh Edition

Knocking out two days with one post. From this site.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

All in the same boat

"Women and children first" has gained a warped new meaning as congress snips and snipes away at the country's spending.  And as much as I've been ignoring the media lately, I've not been able to ignore a certain gnawing unease, the feeling that all isn't right with the world, and it's only going to get worse. 

The university where I work is holding RIF (Reduction in Force) information sessions as a lead up to what we are told are inevitable layoffs. While I've been assured that my own job is secure (oh, good), things don't look great for those who will be unemployed. (You can bet it isn't going to be any of the six-figure salaried coaches getting laid off, either.)

I sit back and wonder how I - and all those others whose wages have stagnated, if not disappeared entirely - will  continue to afford buying gas and groceries as prices go higher. I worry about my self-employed friends and family whose livelihoods depend on regular folks having the disposable income to purchase the products and services they offer. I nudge my daughter to at least minor in a field where she'll acquire marketable skills and not just a diploma to hang on the wall when she finishes college in 2 years.(Especially if she wants that wall to be in Boston and not back here in Bubba County.)

Meanwhile I do catch sound bites wherein presidential aspirants affirm that they are going to do everything they can possibly do to see that more money keeps flowing to those poor deserving corporation-persons. They want us to believe that we the people owe it to the billionaires to see that their standard of living is preserved. Politicians, and a disturbing number of otherwise sane folks, tell them and us that's also the way to create jobs, revive the economy,  and maybe even create a slice of heaven on earth, at least here in America. 

"Bale" Out Scheme
 And I have to remind myself to breathe . . .

But then I read Maggie's recent entry in Flying the Coop , and my whatever-it-is was suddenly put into words. Although Maggie is writing from (and most often about) the idyllic Tuscan countryside, she articulates the malaise I feel here in Appalachia. We seem to share a tentative yet tenacious hold on the good life as we know and define it, in regions geographically disparate yet equally beautiful, looking off to the distant other side of this mess the world is in. 

"...[E]verywhere we go people are communicating their fear about where our world is heading. I mean, really, everyone is talking about this: in the butchers, the fruit and vegetable shop, the farmers and retirees on the streets of our village, in the towns and cities, at the dinners I recently spoke of and at Gianni' s house almost daily. We are all talking about the fragile state of the global economy, the dangerous state of global warming, and the pitiful state of government," Maggie writes. She also talks about "common sense" -- common in that it is something widely held -- and shares an e-mail that expresses what I struggle to bring to the forefront of my own consciousness:  We can do something about this, and not let them paralyze us in fear of what's to come. We can insist that our elected representatives stop being corporate whores and instead legislate for the many, not the few. 

The e-mail Maggie quotes goes so far as to propose a "Congressional Reform Act of 2011," which, realistically we cannot expect to be acted upon because, well, it would take an act of Congress. But I do acknowledge the need for more of us to get involved, to have our voices heard, and to expose the posers who try to come off as one of us during daytime campaign stumps while bedding down with their moneyed puppetmasters every night. 

Regardless of what you believe, we are all in the same boat. And it's a big enough boat that it won't matter if there are more of us on the left or the right -- that won't make a difference in whether we sink or not. What matters, it seems, is all of us paying close attention to where we're heading...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Funky Friday, Fur Hat Edition

Hey, gang -- here's a little something for my drummer friends. It's Ginger Baker's birthday today. Just look at how young and, er, young they all looked back in '68.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wienerdog Wednesday

Dachshund collage by Peter Clark, via Izzy Loves...

This nifty piece of wienerdog art inspires me to fetch my scissors and those old magazines that haven't made their way to the recycle bin yet,  and try my own hand at collage. I don't expect the results to be as spectacular as Peter Clark's, but I do expect it might be quite therapeutic.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Meh

After a long night of debauchery, emobear only wanted to go home and sleep it off. But where was home?

UPDATE:  OK, I can now properly attribute the photo to Baltimore, MD photographer Patrick Joust

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grammy Joins the 21st Century

Our mother has stubbornly resisted all of my & my sister's attempts at encouraging her to become more active in the community. Knowing that social isolation is a prime contributor to depression among our elders (don't tell her I called her the e-word!), I decided to buy Mom a new notebook computer when out doing intellikid's back-to-school shopping the other week, in hopes that having a virtual connection to her friends and family would make moot any insecurities that her mobility issues and hearing difficulties present when navigating real-world interactions.

Mom has a 20-year-old Compaq PC that is fine for playing solitaire, composing irate letters to her insurance company, and creating greeting cards - but configuring it to work with our high-speed internet was out of the question. Now I'm learning that configuring my Mom to work with the internet is more daunting than I first thought, too! I didn't take into consideration that when I'd tell mom to "right-click" she would move her hands to the keyboard to type (write)  the word "click."

We got all that straightened out now, and after e-mail 101 was finished, Mom sent off two brief messages to friends of hers. She also saved a photo from an e-mail to her pictures folder, and perhaps most remarkable of all, neither one of us swore during the entire lesson!

It'll take some time to explore all these new communication possibilities together, but I'm really looking forward to the day when Mom can have a video "conference" with baby Madison, her new great-granddaughter, who's now some 600 miles away in Orlando.

I'm not looking forward to the day when Mom discovers where the Fox News web site is, though....*sigh*

Friday, August 12, 2011

Funky Friday, Something a Little Different Edition

Wish the quality was a little bit better on this one, but being an afficionado of the Hammond B3 (it's my favorite organ, next to the pancreas), I had to share.

Summertime is still in full swing here in Bubba County and environs. Taking the day off today, and intellikid and I are going to see if any blackberries around Bass Lake have survived the heat - and the other blackberry-lovers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wienerdog Wednesday

"Hogs" - a 1964 Roto News Service pic - Via The Long and Short of it All

I read somewhere that dachshunds are the only dog breed known to eat itself to death. Maybe it just takes a while for the "full" signal to travel all the way from stomach to brain in these critters. Scooter Pie certainly doesn't give her kibble a chance to get stale in the bowl!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Potato Salad Three Ways

Red Potatoes with Garlic Scapes in Chinese Bowl by Judith Lamb

I don't own a grill, so my dinner table has seemed bereft of summer-type foods this season. To remedy the situation without investing in an outdoor cooking device that would only end up getting stolen, I decided to make potato salad, a quintessential summer dish if ever there was one.   

I was going to make Russian potato salad today, to go along with the ribeyes I bought yesterday at the Farmer’s Market.  I learned about Russian potato salad from a former co-worker, Tanya, who was from Georgia (not the one on Ray Charles' mind) and made the most delicious potato salad with fresh green peas, minced onion, diced carrots and lots of dill mixed in. It was so much better than “American" potato salad, I added it to my culinary repertoire. But my daughter doesn’t like mayonnaise, and the Bubbaville Food Lion doesn’t sell my preferred substitute -- fat-free sour cream  -- (since losing 30 pounds earlier this year I didn't want to use the full-fat sour cream --and besides, I might need those calories for a margarita later), so I made French potato salad instead.

This is the potato salad I grew up eating. My father -- a Paris-born Norwegian with a disdain for the sort of culinary horrors that were foisted upon the American public during the 1960s -- would make "French" potato salad. For years that was the ur-potato salad as far as I was concerned. Creamy redskin potatoes tossed with a vinagery-garlicky dresssing and sprinkled with parsley -- I would have happily skipped hotdogs and corn-on-the-cob and all the other cookout standards if I could fill my plate with Daddy's potato salad.

I  remember the first time I prepared what I thought was a faithful interpretation of my dad's recipe and served it to him, anticipating great praise. As it turned out, I actually had to solicit my father's feedback, and was told that I didn't get it quite right. At least I think that's what he actually said, but I heard, "it's not good enough," and so years went by before I attempted to make potato salad again. 

Today's effort is good enough, in spite of not adhering 100% faithfully to the recipe I remember Dad using. And damn the olive oil in the dressing, I'm going to have that margarita, too! I have a lot of summering to catch up on....

(Oh, the third tao of the potato salad is my step-father's mother's version, a Pennsylvania Dutch interpretation with a hot, spicy, mustard-y dressing. I don't think it would pair well with my margarita, but maybe next week, with a beer and something sausage-y....)

French Potato Salad
- Boil 2 pounds redskin or other "waxy" potatoes, unpeeled, until just fork-tender. Drain.
- When cool enough to handle, skin the potatoes and slice. Place in large bowl.

- Whisk together:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbs. wine vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper
1-2 cloves minced garlic
    (Dip a potato slice in the dressing and taste, adjusting seasonings as necessary.)

- Pour dressing over warm potatoes. Toss with 2 Tbs. chopped parsley. Serve room temperature or chilled, but try not to eat your share right away!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Funky Friday, FAA Edition

A bit of nostalgia, for today marks 30 years since Ronnie RayGun fired 11,000 striking air traffic controllers. That ol' bastard and his cronies dumped a lot of crap that's still sticking to our shoes today.

Sometimes I miss the '70s.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wienerdog Wednesday

Canadian artist David King renders the dachshund form in abstract.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Meh

Who would've guessed that even a Roy Lichstenstein painting gets annoying phone calls?