Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Special Graphic From the Dark Wraith

This is the most eloquent statement I've seen on the Mark Foley debacle. At least when Dems come out of the closet they tend to do so with consenting adults, not sixteen year olds.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Random Ten

What a fucking week huh? Jeezus Horatio Christ on a skateboard. I'm reeling at the cowardice of our Congress, the casual willingness to commit acts of evil by the administration, the blind and silent acceptance of the people. Still, there are some bright spots. There's still music in the world. When I was out feeding the horses and other critters I was seranaded by a troop of mockingbirds. I saw a covey of Gamble's quail picking over the remains of my squash rows. I'm going to refrain from the Gamble's quail season this year. There wasn't enough winter rain last year to give them a firm footing without the Fish and Game department doing feedings. That means this predator is going to take at least a year off. Shingled quail season starts next month and they're doing fine.

Another bright spot today is that my Pool Girl shows up today. When I had two weeks being away in Vegas over the summer I hired a pool service. When I returned I kept them on. It's a little operation run by two young ladies who are financing their studies by cleaning pools. (and lest you think i'm a total perv i found them in the yellow pages and chose them because they were the first service i called where a human being answered the phone instead of a fucking robot) While it is nowhere near the point of their operation, I must say that a couple hours of watching a beautiful young woman walk around the back yard in a bikini adds a great deal to my customer satisfaction. (note to self: make sure the bread baking today goes off around 2pm)

Before I reveal any more embarrassing details of my life let me proceed with today's random ten. Hit random:

Uncle John's Band - - Gratefull Dead
Jesus, the Missing Years - - John Prine
Going Back To New Orleans - - Dr. John, Professor Longhair, the Neville Brothers
Guitar Town - - Emmylou Harris (live at the Ryman)
Saint Louis Blues - - - Bessie Smith
True Love - - Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney
Black Cat Moan - - Jeff Beck (live bootleg)
All I Know - - - Art Garfunkle
Goodnight Irene - - Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie & The Weavers
Copperhead Road - - - Steve Earle

Bonus Track (hit random twice and take the top)
I'll Keep It With Mine - - - Bob Dylan (live at The Purple Onion)

Bonus Bonus (that was so good I feel lucky)

In The Pines - - - Leadbelly

What ya'll listening too? How are you dragging yourself through all this shit?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

This Is A Rebel Song

Get used to them. People are going to be oppressed by these laws our spineless Congress is passing. People will be tortured. Even John McCain will tell you (I've heard him say this in person) between torture sessions people will try to keep their spirits up by singing.

The rebellion sung about in this song from Ireland failed. It was to be a general rising. It wasn't about Catholic or Protestant. Wolfe Tone, the leader of this one was a Protestant. Even the dour Presbyterians of Ulster were horrified by the British policies. Which included, detention without charges, representation, torture, dispossession, secret courts, "drumhead" courts martial. Any of that sound familiar kids?

This rebellion failed. Only a fraction of the promised French troops arrived, and they arrived late. You may ask why there is such a triumphant tone and attitude in the lyrics of this song. If you didn't know the history you might think the Irish had succeeded in their rebellion. Eventually they did succeed. It just took a little more than a hundred years more. For a hundred and twenty years Irish patriots (that's a terrorist who wins eventually, you know, like Sam Adams or Francis Marion) would sing this song and remember The British Can Be Beaten.

The tune is Old Rosin The Bow.

When you honor in song and in story
The names of the patriot men
Whose valor has covered with glory
Full many a mountain and glen
Forget not the boys of the heather
Who rallied their bravest and best
When Ireland was broken in Wexford
And looked for revenge to the West

I give you the gallant old West, boys
Where rallied our bravest and best
When Ireland lay broken and bleeding;
Hurrah for the men of the West!

The hilltops with glory were glowing
'Twas the eve of a bright harvest day
When the ship we'd been wearily waiting
Sailed into Killala's broad bay
And over the hills went the slogan
To awaken in every breast
The fire that has never been quenched, boys
Among the true hearts of the West


Killala was ours ere the midnight
And high over Ballina town
Our banners in triumph were waving
Before the next sun had gone down
We gathered to speed the good work, boys
The true men from near and afar
And history can tell how we routed
The redcoats through old Castlebar


And pledge me the stout sons of France, boys
Bold Humbert and all his brave men
Whose tramp, like the trumpet of battle
Brought hope to the drooping again
Since Ireland has caught to her bosom
On many a mountain and hill
The gallants who fell, so they're here, boys
To cheer us to victory still


Though all the bright dreamings we cherished
Went down in disaster and woe
The spirit of old is still with us
That never would bend to the foe
And Connacht is ready whenever
The loud rolling tuck of the drum
Rings out to awaken the echoes
And tell us the morning has come


I imagine that somewhere in some secret dungeon, one prisoner is singing to another between rounds of torture. They are remembering fondly a day when, by the side of the road, a bomb blew up and a few more of the hated invaders of their country lay dying. They are singing and thinking to themselves "These Americans Can Be Beaten."
Get used to rebel music, we are going to be hearing a lot of it over the next several years.

crossposted at 3B's

How The Torture Bill Will Work

They grab somebody, whisk them off to a secret location. Deny them access to any kind of legal defense. Then they torture them into confessing to crimes that they use to excuse and justify their use of torture.

This is what the Democrats are seeking to compromise with.

Spineless. Simpering. Cowards.

All of them.

feeling cross today blogger sucks out loud find this at 3B's I haven't been able to respond to any comments here this morning.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Handshake Line

Even though I have spent a great deal of my life on stage in full view of people. In a social setting I can be a complete doofus. I'm just not much of a pal around hand slap kind of person. Some of it comes from being around my Apache relatives growing up (Apaches are notoriously silent folks), some of it comes from spending as much time as I have to spend alone practicing. Anyway, if you want to depend on somebody to carry the ball socially, I'll help you look.

I went to a fund raiser for Jim Pederson who is running against the vile John Kyl (I can't resist a line that both rhymes and insults) here in Arizona. The main reason I attended was to see and hear Wes Clark. It was a standard pretend "town meeting" set up. The questions were softballed and scripted. Which is fine with me, this is an event that is set up to extract some more money from the faithful, it must be done in today's world.

Had I been asking questions I would have asked something like "Why aren't you talking about how John Kyl is supporting the administration on Iraq and allowing them to establish torture as an American policy?"

Pederson is in favor of rethinking policy, to return the focus to Afghanistan and catching bin Laden. Fair enough. I think that's a very good idea too. I just think that after seeing how well people like Ned Lamont are doing when they take it straight to the party in power for their failures. Bill Clinton did that, even while admitting his own failures, his admitting them was a reminder that the asshole in the White House doesn't even think he's made a mistake yet. For me, it's the most important issue. I already knew Mr. Pederson's stand on it, I just was wondering why it hasn't been more prominent. The fact that the Republican Congress and the Bush White House have fucked things up so badly is the main thing that has gotten me out of the house and out into the street. A candidate that says "I will not allow a course this wrong to be "stayed" has me. Say it Jim. Just say it.

Also, for the last two weeks the bulk of the Pederson advertising has been negative stuff on Kyl. I wish he would change the tone now that we are only a few weeks away from the election. It's time to do more coming out and establishing your positions clearly. Pederson is about 11 points down in the polls and that's about the number of undecided voters. That's a crowd that is easier to talk into voting for someone than against someone. Although it is fun to watch Kyl whine about dirty attack ads when all Pederson is doing is listing Kyl's voting record.

Wes Clark was doing his level best to keep this event about Pederson and I respect that. The idea that a major political player is able to go to an event like this and make sure that the lights and focus stay on someone else speaks highly to me of his character.

I hope Clark decides to run for President. I am so there.

Now, to the handshake line. I'm going through the line thing and I say "Hello" and shake hands with Jim Pederson, then it's time for Clark. I'm wearing a lapel pin from one of the decorations I received in the service. It's small and unobstrusive. If you don't know what it is, well, you don't know what it is. General Clark sees it and asks "Where did you get that?" I said "Dong Ap Bai." He shakes his head a little and says "Pretty woolly there?" I said "Charlie had teeth."

Then the line moves on and so do I.

While making my coffee this morning I saw two ads for Pederson. One was an upbeat "This is who I am and what I believe in" ad. The very next ad was Iraq. Iraq as a mess and Kyl standing right next to Bush saying "stay the course." Damn, it was a nice thing to see over coffee. Good on ya' Jim.

Cross Posted at Big Brass Ones

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Peach Pie

I'm a real traditionalist when it comes to something like a peach pie. I love peaches. I love pie. I don't want a whole lot of stuff getting in the way. So I go for simple, straightforward goodness. That is when I can restrain myself from grabbing a big huge juicy peach, ripping off my shirt and gobbling it over the sink with the juice running down my chin and. . .OK, I'm going to take a breath here.

There, that's better. The first thing I do is make up enough of my favorite pie crust dough. This is the crust my Nana used on her fresh fruit pies.

For a single two crust pie. Feel free to increase the proportions at your discretion. You can't make too much of this stuff and it freezes well.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons super rich butter powder, optional* (You can usually find this at a Cake decorating store and, while optional it makes a huge taste difference)
1 cup shortening (or if you're like me and don't give a fuck use Lard)
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice water

Mix the flours and the butter powder together in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the lard (or shortening) and work until it is in pea sized nuggets.

In another bowl mix the egg, vinegar, salt and ice water until well blended. Then add this to the other stuff. Mix until the dough comes together. Separate into halves (or as many separate crusts as you intend to make) and wrap well with plastic. Refrigerate overnight.

Pie Filling:

8 peaches peeled and sliced (for the peeling do the same thing as you did when canning it should yield about 4 cups of slices)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup baker's sugar (if using canned peaches omit, but drain the peaches a little)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter (my Care package from Ireland came with butter yippee!)

Set the butter aside and mix all the filling ingredients together well. Each slice should be well coated with cinnamon, sugar and flour.

Take your crusts out of the refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface roll them out to fit your pie pans. I favor deep ceramic ones, but pyrex, glass, metal, they are all good. Put your bottom crusts in the pans and make sure there is at least an 1 1/2" overhang. Fill brimming with peaches. Dot the filling with little chunks of butter. Roll out the top crusts. I like to do about three rollout when I do this. I roll it out very thin, almost translucent, then fold it in on itself, and roll it out again. I do this to get that flakey crust all pie makers dream about. Gently lay the top crusts over the pie. Trim until it matches the overhang of the bottom crust. Pinch the top and the bottom crust together and twist your way all around the pie. When that's done take a salad fork (we may be country but we ain't barbarians) and score around the edge of the pie. Cut in vents in a star shape.

As an extra little stroke of love and genius you can mix together 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 egg white to brush on the top of the pie. This will give a wonderful carmelized little crunchy layer and help to give your pie a deep, sexy golden brown color.

Bake at 375° for 50 minutes to an hour. If your crust edge looks like it's getting too dark shield it with some aluminum foil. Find yourself a conspiracy theorist and steal his hat. He'll thank you for it when the pies come out.

Cool the pies completely before slicing. If you want to heat up individual slices they do fine in the microwave.

Serve a piping hot slice of this pie with vanilla ice cream and your kids will write songs about you.

Crossposted at Big Brass Ones

Woody, I'm Sorry To Tell You, Nothing's Changed

Before I get into my recipe for peach pie I'm going to make you sit through a Woody Guthrie song. I love Woody Guthrie. He was an important voice in American music. Some of Woody was authentic, some of it he just made up. He wrote simple, direct songs that still resonate today because they speak the truth.

When Woody wrote this song he had just finished the Northern California Peach harvest. Woody and the other Dust Bowl Okies were working right alongside the illegal Mexicans. The thing was that right after the harvest, and right before payday, they rounded up all the Mexican workers (both legal and illegal) and deported them. This time, over Los Gatos, the plane caught fire and crashed killing everyone aboard.

Woody told Pete Seger that the Juan, Rosalita, and Jesus y Maria mentioned in the chorus were people he knew, worked along side of, shared food and music with and were now dead. Woody also said he cried every time he performed this song.

I wish I could tell Woody that things were better now. They aren't. So, I do what I can. I pick my own peaches. I belong to a group that keeps water stations out in the desert in the faint hope that someone won't have to die of thirst to service the insanity that they call policy. We also have had to start guarding our stations and testing the water on a regular basis to ensure that the sick racist fucks that call themselves "minute men" haven't salted or otherwise poisoned the water.

Here's the tune.

(Woody Guthrie)

The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting
The oranges are filed in their creosote dumps
They're flying 'em back to the Mexico border
To take all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Roselita
Adios mi amigo, Jesus y Maria
You won't have no name when you ride the big airplane
All they will call you will be deportee

My father's own father, he waded that river
They took all the money he made in his life
It's six hundred miles to the Mexico border
And they chased them like rustlers, like outlaws, like thieves


The skyplane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon
The great ball of fire it shook all our hills
Who are these dear friends who are falling like dry leaves?
Radio said, "They are just deportees"


Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can raise our good crops?
To fall like dry leaves and rot on our topsoil
And be known by no names except "deportees"

(CHORUS and fade) *

*performance note: I like to fade this one out by dropping instruments and voices one by one to end with a solo concertina or violin.

I deported this post over to Big Brass Blog

Monday, September 25, 2006

Canned Peaches

This post was inspired by a family farmer out near Show Low. He had a gorgeous crop of peaches. Beautiful, inspired fruit. He was unable to find labor to pick this crop. Thank you all you border crawling sons of bitches. You're down here on my border screaming your racist, isolationist bullshit and a decent 4th generation farmer is going broke because you are off on some fool's errand to take focus away from Iraq, which your side fucked up beyond all repair, from the economy, which your side is selling to the Chinese for fucking counterfit yuan they are printing by the bale, from Katrina and the overall incompetence of their policies.

The farmer who grew these peaches got so frustrated and depressed that he put a box for donations by the side of the road and a sign that said "I'd rather you pick everything you can carry off than watch it rot."

I canned 30 quarts of peaches and made 8 pies. The pie recipe will come later. And, in case anyone might ask. I did leave a donation. I left what I thought was a fair market price for the fruit my son and I picked. Then I dug a little deeper and left some more.

Tom Tancredo, John Kyl, John McCain, and all these other assholes can kiss my country ass.

Two or Three pounds of peaches will fill a quart jar.

Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water. (an industrial strength dishwasher will suffice as long as there is a very hot drying cycle)

Make the canning syrup and keep hot by adding 1 1/2 cups of sugar to 6 cups of very hot water. Stir until completely dissolved and clear.

Wash fruit well. Don't worry about knocking off all the fuzz because the next thing we're going to do is to peel the peaches. You'll need a great big ass put of boiling salted water and a great big bowl of ice water that has had two 500mg tablets of vitamin C dissolved in it.

Take the peaches three or four at a time and dunk them into the boiling water. Wait until the water has reached a full boil again and then remove them to the ice water bath. This will make the skin come off easily. Slice the peaches in half and remove the pits. Slice in halves, quarters or smaller slices depending on your preference. I like smaller slices where the wide edge of the peach is about 1/4".

Put the peach slices into the prepared, sterilized jars (i use Mason® but Kerr® will do in a pinch) and cover completely with hot syrup. Let stand a few minutes to make sure there is NO AIR BUBBLES IN THE JAR! Don't fuck this part up, you'll kill people. You will want a small bit of headspace in the jar between the fruit and the lid. I find that a bit more than a quarter inch is good. Wipe the rims clean, really fucking clean with a damp towel (smooth cloth, not terrycloth or paper) put the lids on tightly. Place in a canning pot of boiling water for a minimum of ten minutes. Don't cheat. 12 minutes won't hurt a goddamn thing either. But remember, minimum, 10 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and cool for twenty four hours.

Now for the moment of truth. Check your seals. Do not tighten the lids or fuck with them at all. You either have it or you don't at this stage of the game. First, press the top of the lid with a finger, if the lid springs up when you release your finger, you didn't achieve a good seal. Put this one in the refrigerator or make pies right away. Second test, tap the lid with a spoon. A dull sound mean bad seal, a ping means you got a keeper. Now, bring the jar up to eye level. The lid should be slightly concave. Peaches canned well, with a good airtight seal should last all winter if kept out of direct sunlight and away from high heat.

Nothing will brighten a winter night like some home canned peaches over ice cream. Unless of course, you have a favorite person in mind to share them with.

Finally, to anybody who thinks their goddamn misguided and plain stupid ideas for securing our borders will have any effect beyond making people more desperate and possibly violent I offer this bit of spanish wisdom. If requested I will translate in the comments section.

la cerca de quince metros, la escala de dieciséis metros y besan mi extremo mestizo.

crossposted at Los Brassos Grandes

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Quick Note on the Law of Unintended Consequences

The New York Times

says that the war in Iraq has made the problem of terror worse. Go read the whole thing, it's only a couple of pages. Here's a very telling paragraph:
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

Wow, so instead of making us all safer by stomping the Bill of Rights and the Geneva Conventions into mush with their jackboots they've made the problem worse?

Looks like the old "Law of Unintended Consequences" at work again. It is that mysterious force that thwarts good people trying to do good stuff for mankind. Like how the supporters of Prohibition were not trying to make bootleggers and moonshiners rich, it just happened like that. The guys leading the war on drugs weren't trying to make thugs in Medallin and Cali rich beyond imagination, it, well, it just happened. We really didn't want to send the opium growers of Afghanistan into the arms of the Taliban, but hey, the Taliban had guns, they were already shooting at us and "the enemy of my enemy" and stuff.

My personal favorite manifistation of this effect though happened right after the Civil War. There was a huge problem of ex-soldiers, many of them amputees, who were now hopelessly addicted to morphine. Science went to work. They came up with a drug that they felt would "cure" morphine addiction. It was heroin. They were right in a sense. When I started shooting heroin again after a couple years of knee and ankle surgeries it completely cured my addiction to Oxycontin. Ya listenin' Rush?

crossly posted at Big Ol' Brass Ones