Really Count To One Hundred

Last night, I candied the Buddha’s hand. Since I’d never candied anything, I consulted with Minstrel Boy and found other instructions on Because I can’t follow a recipe to save my life, it really helped to have photographs I could draw mustaches on. Turns out candying stuff is not hard to do. I have no attention span and I didn’t burn down the house. You can do it.

We're all more glam when Pete's taking pikshas.

Buddha's hand plus sugar plus water plus time equals candy plus syrup.

I have oranges. They’re next!

Think About the Sun

Jon Stewart, once again, shows us how it’s done.

There is one detail we must observe. When the towers came down, an unmistakable cloud of debris, smoke and human remains rolled away from Ground Zero. We saw it. We lived under it. We could smell everything about it and knew what it meant. I’m sitting 35 miles from Manhattan and almost everyone I knew was sick and we knew it was from that cloud. At some point I can no longer recall, Christie Whitman told the media the air was safe to breathe. I didn’t believe that. I don’t see how anyone could have, but you will never hear one of the first responders say anything about this. The lie was ridiculous and transparent. In a legal sense, admitting they knew what everyone knew might invalidate health insurance claims. It shouldn’t.

The exact opposite should be true. We should see that knowledge and the first responders’ going on anyway for what it was: greater courage than most of us possess. We owe them a greater debt than we can repay and the least we can do is take care of them.

All the People Were Singing They Sang

Two posts about the same story. karoli:

Our Civil War Isn’t Over; It’s Just Fought on Other Fronts

This post will make you want to toss your waffles. Attaturk:

Sons of Wank-archy

While we were growing up, my sister Daria often lamented, “You always gotta be different.” I didn’t have to try to be different from other people because I was different. Conformity was never even an option. That can be painful for kids; things went better and I was happier when I accepted or embraced what made me different from other people, though sometimes I have adopted habits and behaviors to hide in plain sight. To speak bluntly: I have – as you may have – developed an ear for threats from a distance. These motherfuckers may look mock-worthy, but they will have the last laugh. Why? Because as Attaturk reminds us, motherfuckers know no shame. The History Channel rejected this crackerjack load of flaming dogshit:

I don’t have to tell you that when a bunch of overarmed yahoos with enough money to make ads and buy time on network TV tells you to “think for yourself” they mean “we’ve told you what to do.” But there’s a whole lot more weirdness beyond what these mouthbreathing fuckpigs are up to – watch karoli tumble over words like Dick Van Dyck over an errant ottoman:

Celebrating the anniversary of this document is a slap in the face to every single black person in this country. NAACP South Carolina President Lonnie Randolph asked this:

“You couldn’t pay the folks in Charleston to hold a Holocaust gala, could you? But you know these are nothing but black people, so nobody pays them any attention.”

The thing is, attention isn’t being paid over on the liberal side either. It’s easy to blame bigots but they’re just doing what bigots do, because bigots get away with it and no one really gets too outraged over it. There’s plenty of outrage over human rights abuses in Uzbekistan because it’s the newest WikiLeaks focus and yet a celebration of slavery and a state’s decision to secede from the Union over it gets a shrug.

There is a growing divide opening between people of color and the white liberal “establishment” opening wide. As liberals, Democrats, progressives, or whatever you want to call this coalition, civil rights and equality have been pillars of our foundation but there’s a a big racial elephant in the Democrats’ living room.

So far, she’s just dancing, but here we go, whoops!

There is a very real perception that personal attacks on President Obama, the hyper-loud derision and wails of bitter disappointment expressed all over the Internet lately along with primary threats rolling around are symptomatic of a larger disconnect between white liberals and black liberals and threaten to fracture what is already a fragile coalition.

When the African-American unemployment rate is 16%, 13 months of extended unemployment insurance feels like a godsend even if it means having to cede tax rates and a compromised estate tax. They don’t see the deal as a sellout; indeed, they view it as an essential emergency parachute. When the African-American unemployment rate was 10% we were living in what could be reasonably considered a good economy. At least, good for everyone but them. Problem is, no one was paying attention to them. Not really.

It may be an insult to celebrate slavery and the 1860s, but a greater sting may be the general apathy toward the economic desperation of the African-American community. It did not develop overnight, but until the entire economy went downhill, it wasn’t on anyone’s radar either.

She means anyone who’s anyone, possibly including herself, possibly excluding herself because she’s been having conversations, but whoever anyone is, anyone isn’t paying attention.

Look, we all have an intersectionality problem. I’m A, B, C, D and Q. You’re Z, Y, X and M. Your best friend is J, R, D, M and Q. We care about completely separate things, when we care about anything at all. I care about the politics of justice, mercy, privacy and equality; if I need a reason, it’s because I can’t count on blending into the dominant culture. Maybe you can. Maybe you can’t. If you can’t, you watch the dominant culture for threats coming your way, but what about when you’re the problem?

This morning at the unnamed university, a man of my slight acquaintance called to tell me he was coming to pick up a delivery, and he used his full name. I did not recognize his voice until he told me we’d talked the day before. Later, I said to him, “Sometimes at work we know people only by their first names.” He laughed. I went on, “There’s a man in the mechanical room I’ve been talking to for 25 years and I don’t know his name at all. I can’t ask NOW.” He laughed, “It’s too late now. You can’t ask.” I agreed, “Not until we all get his retirement announcement, noooo.” So: humbling.

Let’s just admit that we’re all stupid, pretty stupid and differently stupid. We say stupid things and do stupid stuff and motherfuckers run right the hell over us. We may not have much in common, but we should at least agree that we have a common motherfucking enemy.

Other Birds In So Many Words

What is it? It’s a Buddha’s hand!

The golden fruit is especially popular at New Year’s, for it is believed to bestow good fortune on a household. At year’s end–the Japanese who call it bushukan, also buy it. They use it as a decorative ornament and place it on top of specially pounded rice cakes, or they use it in lieu of flowers in the home’s sacred tokonomo alcove.

This fingered citron grows on a small spreading evergreen tree that reaches heights of three to five feet. It bears its main crop in winter, though it may produce a few fruits from “off blooms” throughout the year. American gardeners coddle the frost-sensitive tree as an ornamental and there are a few small-scale commercial growers in California who sell to flower shops and fancy food stores.

Some varieties of Buddha’s Hand Citron have a sour pulp. some none at all, but cooks interested in exotica value the fruit for its aromatic peel. In the United States it has curried favor with western chefs. Gary Palm of The Mission Inn in Riverside, California chops up pieces of rind to add a slightly bitter citrus tinge to fish marinades. Lindsey Shere, pastry chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California uses the candied peel in Italian desserts, such as pane forte. Allan Susser of Chef Allen’s in Adventura, Florida bakes pieces of candied rind in biscotti. It adds flavor that he describes as “kumquat-tangerine” which is distinct from the more lemony flavor of regular citrus.

Once again, we were tooling around the produce section of our hometown grocery store and found ourselves standing in front of a small display. The nearby greens looked wonderful. The radicchio looked like purple and brown death warmed over. Nestled on a lower shelf, we found four Buddha’s hands with little stickers identifying them but no price placard overhead, so checkout was going to be a blast. Checkout was even blastier when the sticker had fallen off, teenagers were running the registers unsupervised and no one could find Buddha’s hand anywhere in the price list. Though online sources suggest this should be expensive, we got it for 62 cents.

What would you do with it?

Pops Something Spiteful

Someone else’s execrable week can give you a lot to think about, even someone about whom you have mixed feelings. John Cole yesterday:

I’ve had a really shitty week, so let’s have a positive thread, and think about all the things we have going for us. The topic for this thread is “Name the best thing that has ever happened to you.”

I’ll start, and since I don’t want this whole thread to be answers like “my wife” or “my husband” or “my parents,” I won’t say the best thing that ever happened to me was being born a straight white male into an educated middle class family in the United States. Not that there is wrong being any other race/sexual orientation, etc., just that being born a straight white male in our society gave me some really unarguable advantages to the extent I’m of the opinion that if you were born in the circumstances I was born in, and find your life to be a mess, you should probably look in the mirror for your biggest problem (and yes, there are always exceptions).

SO I will rule that out, and that leaves me with the Army and Lily. Going to the Army and getting yelled at and whipped into shape, then going around the world and seeing places I might never have seen, meeting a bunch of people who were different from what I was used to in WV, and then being able to use my military benefits to pay for my education was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Until Lily came along. Yes, I love Tunch to death, and I will grudgingly admit to loving Rosie when prodded, but Lily is the greatest dog in the world and loves me to pieces. When Tunch comes into the office, he wants food or water or a brief skritch behind the ears. When Rosie comes into the office, she wants food, or to go for a walk, or a ball. When Lily comes into the office, puts her front paws on my legs, and looks at me, all she wants me to do is push the seat back a little bit so she can sit on my lap while I work.

I don’t care what you say about dogs being con artists. Lily loves me.

Man oh Manischewitz, my brain went SPLAT! I’ve been thinking about this since then and I have no answer. The best thing that ever happened to you is probably a different thing than the best thing you’ve ever done, but my life has zig zagged all over the place and has more turning points than a big city ballet school. One answer? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I could come up with a list, starting with happening to be the ill-timed spawn of two very smart, very good-looking, athletic people, born after the invention of aspirin, antibiotics and the polio vaccine, into a family that valued books, a fast one-liner and me. After that, shit, don’t you just hope to sally forth and do something cool?

I may not come up with answers, but thinking it over is a blast. Go read the comments. Some people can formulate an answer and some of those answers will take your breath away.