Saturday, March 03, 2007

Death By Chocolate

the preface by John Ballinger

Brad Parker was sitting in his bookshop in Williamsburg, Virginia, examining a copy of the 1511 edition of Vitruvius that someone had offered to sell him, when he glanced up to see Antoine Rustermann standing in the doorway of Parker's rare books.

"Come quickly," he said to Bra and then ran across the small brick patio that separated the bookshop from Rustermann's restaurant. Brad had never seen Antoine so upset and quickly followed.

Brad found Antoine in the restaurant's garden room, next to a table where the eminent rare-book dealer, Antonio Raimo, sat slumped forward, his head on the table, the victim of an apparent heart attack.

Brad rushed over and felt in vain for a pulse. "Did the waiter present Mr. Raimo with the bill?" Brad asked.

"No, we were just having dessert," Jennifer Raimo, Tony's wife, answered.

"Death By Chocolate," said Antoine in a dazed monotone. It was the first time Brad noticed how suspiciously thin and fit Antoine was for a world-class chef.

"That was what Tony ordered," Jennifer explained. "He's not much around the kitchen, and he tried in vain for the last two months to make the dessert from a recipe in the Death By Chocolate cookbook. Seeing a slice of it perfectly prepared was apparently too much for his system."

"We'll have to rule out poison," Brad said, wrestling the fork from Raimo's clenched fist. "I'd better have a taste."

"I'll help," Jennifer replied.

Charles Cadbury, the homicide detective, came five minutes later.

"What happened here?" he asked.

"Death By Chocolate," Antoine replied.

But, by then, the evidence had disappeared.

Don't let this recipe overwhelm you. Like a great many of the finest desserts, think of this as a series of separate, discrete tasks which can be spread out to avoid overload. Day 1: Prepare the chocolate brownie, and keep refrigerated until the cake assembly. Day 2: Bake the cocoa meringue, and store in a dry place at room temperature. Prepare the Mocha Rum Sauce, refrigerate until 2 hours before service, then bring to room temperature. Day 3: Prepare the chocolate mousse (which must be refrigerated a minimum of 2 hours before assembling the cake), mocha mousse, and ganache, then assemble the cake and graciously accept your accolades. For this serving I combined days one and two, but for our purposes here I will approach the recipe on a day by day basis. I am saving the bad news for the very last.

Day One: Chocolate Brownie Ingredients

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken small
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken small
3 eggs
1 cup baker's sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of waxed paper and set aside.

Melt the chocolates and butter by placing them in the microwave (use a bowl that won't blow shit up) on high for 30 seconds, then stir, and use intervals of 10 seconds until smooth and glossy.

Place the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whip. Mix on high until slightly thickened (about 90 seconds). Add the melted chocolate and mix on medium for another 30 seconds. Add the sifted ingredients and mix on low for 10 seconds, increase to medium speed and mix for 10 seconds, add the sour cream and mix on medium until fully blended. (about 20 more seconds)

Turn the batter out into a buttered and floured 9-by-1 1/2" cake pan and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. (this particular brownie recipe is so loaded with chocolate and fudgy decadence that you'll never pass the clean toothpick test just know that 30 minutes will do the trick) Cool on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes, turn out onto a cake circle. After about 30 minutes it should be cool enough to slice horizontally. Wrap each brownie round closely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the morning of the assembly. First thing on the morning of the third day, take the brownie rounds out of the frige and allow them to come to room temperature.

(if you bake this in an 8" square pan it makes the best brownies in the world. the moist texture makes them perfect for shipping to friends but i prefer to bake them at home and use them as lures for company)

See? Day 1 wasn't all that tough now was it?

Day Two: Cocoa Meringue & Mocha Rum Sauce

Cocoa Meringue Ingredients

4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 & 1/4 cups baker's sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat over to 225°. Using a 9" cake round as a guide, trace a circle on a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit a baking sheet. Place this with the pencil marks down on the baking sheet.

Put the 4 egg whites, the cream of tartar, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whip. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 cup of the sugar while continuing to whip on high. Keep mixing until stiff peaks form (shouldn't take more than two minutes). Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in and thoroughly combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of sifted cocoa, and the cornstarch. Fill an untipped pastry bag with the meringue and pipe a 3/4" wide spiral towards the outside of the circle.

Bake at 225° for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200° for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool for a full hour before handling. When thoroughly cooled cover loosely with plastic wrap and store at room temperature somewhere safe (beware having your meringue dented by passing fingers i usually avoid the whole temptation thing by putting it up high in the pantry).

Mocha Rum Sauce

6 ounces unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups baker's sugar
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted
3 tablespoons Havana Club® rum (sue me, the commies make the best hootch, but you can substitute Meyer's or Mount Gay if you don't know a smuggler)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat the butter in a heavy 2 1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add the sugar, heavy cream, sifted cocoa, 2 tablespoons of the rum, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine all smoothly. Bring this to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occaisionally. Remove from the heat and whisk in the instant coffee, vanilla extract, and the remaining tablespoon of rum, and stir until smooth. Put this in a tightly closed container and refrigerate until the next day, allow to come to room temperature before you assemble the cake.

Day two wasn't all that tough either was it?

Day Three: Chocolate Mousse, Mocha Mousse, Chocolate Ganache and ultimate assembly

Hint Don't forget to take the brownie rounds, and the Mocha Rum Sauce out of the refrigerator now. You want them both at room temperature when you assemble this beauty.

Chocolate Mousse Ingredients

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate broken small
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons baker's sugar

Use the microwave technique to melt the chocolate until smooth and glossy.

Put the heavy cream in the well-chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the well-chilled balloon whip (putting them in the freezer for half an hour does the job nicely) and beat on high about a minute until soft peaks form.

Whisk the egg whites in a large stainless steel bowl until soft peaks form. Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to whisk until stiff. Add about a quarter of the whipped cream to the chocolate and whisk quickly to thoroughly incorporate. Fold this into the egg whites. Then fold the remaining whipped cream gently into that. Cover closely with plastic wrap (Press'n'Seal® simply rocks for this) and refrigerate until cake assembly. *note* at least two hours, three is better, four is perfect.

Mocha Mousse Ingredients

14 ounces bittersweet chocolate busted up
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate busted up
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons instant coffee
2 tablespoons sifted cocoa
5 egg whites
2 tablespoons baker's sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream

Time to break out the double boiler now, heat about 1 1/2" water over medium high heat in the bottom and put the chocolates, the water, the instant coffee and cocoa in the top half. Cover tightly and let heat for 6 to 7 minutes, uncover and stir until smooth.

Put the egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the balloon whip. Whip on high until soft peaks form, then, while still mixing, gradually add the two tablespoons of baker's sugar. Continue on high until stiff peaks form.

Whip the cream by hand in a chilled bowl until stiff. Fold about a quarter of the egg whites into the melted chocolate mix, then fold into the whipped cream. Now fold the remaining egg whites in gently until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
22 ounces bittersweet chocolate broken small

Heat the cream and the butter over a medium high flame in a saucepan until it is right at the edge of a boil. Pour it over the chocolate pieces in a large stainless steel mixing bowl, allow it to stand untouched for 5 minutes, stir until smooth, cover closely with plastic wrap (ganache skin is yeuchey) and set aside.

Now, the only part remaining is to combine these six separate items (three of which are out of the park home runs all by themselves) into a final home game of the season, bottom of the ninth, two out, bases loaded, down by three, full count home run that gets you into the hall of fame on the first ballot.

Take your trusty 9 inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet. Set the top half of the brownie rounds inside the pan, top side up. Ladle 1 1/2 cups of the ganache into the pan over the brownie. Using a very sharp serrated knife (being carefull because this is brittle) trim the cocoa meringe so that it will fit tightly into the pan. Place the meringue, top side up, inside the pan on top of the ganache, pressing gently to eliminate air pockets.

Spoon the mocha mousse on top of the cocoa meringue, spreading evenly. Place the remaining brownie round, bottom side up, on top of the mocha mousse. Put this whole assembly into the freezer for 30 minutes.

Remove the cake assembly from the freezer and use a cake spatula to go around the edges of the pan to release the cake from the springform. Pour the remaining ganache over the cake and use the cake spatula to spread the ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate this for 15 minutes to set the ganache firmly.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the chocolate mousse. Pipe a circle of stars along the outside edge of the top of the cake. Continue piping circles of stars in concentric circles until the entire cake is covered. Refrigerate this for at least 4 hours.

To serve, use a very sharp serrated slicing knife that has been heated in boiling water and wiped dry to slice into 8 servings. Repeat the heating and wiping with each cut you make. Flood the bottom of a 10" diameter plate with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mocha rum sauce then put the slice of cake at the center of the plate.

As you enter the room look at the anticipation on the faces of your guests. See their eyes begin to shine and widen. Audible gasps are common. Exclamations of "Oh my!" "Holy Shit!" "Look at that!" will be said. Acknowledge them politly as you serve. Then sit, take up your fork, and pause. . .ever so slightly. Look at them as they try to restrain themselves and maintain a semblance of decorum. Then tear into this. Every bite is exquisite. The interplay of the strong and subtle flavors, the contrast of the textures is a sublime espression of the chef's art. Don't expect any more compliments for a while (although I figure moans of pleasure and guilt are the best and most eloquent compliments).

And to close with the bad news. Each slice of this cake contains 1,354 calories. You're due at the gym lardass.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Random Ten (good to be back home edition)

If it's Friday, it must be time to show the random sample.

I Believe I'll Dust My Broom - - - Robert Johnson
Rock Sweet Rock - - - The Wailers (Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh)
Oro Se da Bheatha Baile - - - The Clancy Brothers (with Tommy Makem)
Jolie Blon - - - Doug Kershaw
Numb - - - U2
Are You Gonna Go My Way? - - - Lenny Kravitz (unplugged)
All I Know - - - Art Garfunkle
Whiter Shade of Pale - - - Procul Harum
Her Mind Is Gone - - - Professor Longhair
Momma Told Me Not To Come - - - Randy Newman (live bootleg)


Shakey Ground - - - Temptations

I'm cool for the morning, what ya'll listening too?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cake

I don't know how the rest of the world deals with stuff. But here, at El Rancho Harpo when I get tired of wallowing in my misery I take action, sometimes drastic action to blast myself out of the funks I am prone to inhabit.

At Christmas one of the most welcome gifts I received came from litbrit with a copy of the out of print cookbook "Death By Chocolate" by Marcel Desaulniers, a fucking gawd of a pastry chef. It is one of the finest works on how to work with this magical, mood-altering substance.

Anyway, when the malaise came knocking last night, I didn't bury myself in a book or flail around at my harp, I went into the kitchen.

This one grabbed my eye and I went to work. When I was finished I invited some friends over for coffee and cake this afternoon.



4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken small
8 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (measured melted)
2 cups plus 2 teaspoons cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or sea salt, the important part is not iodized)
2 cups very tightly packed light brown sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pur vanilla extract
1 cup water
1 cup sour cream


1 cup heavy cream (manufacturing cream from Smart & Final is the absolute bomb)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons baker's sugar (very fine granulated)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate broken small (Trader Joe's Pound Plus® 70% cocoa mass bars)
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder


8 ounces bittersweet chocolate broken small
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate broken small
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 pound unsalted butter (at room temperature)
5 egg whites
1 cup baker's sugar

Heat oven to 350°.

Heat around 1 inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler over medium heat. In the top part melt 4 ounces of the unsweetened chocolate, stirring the whole time, until totally melted and smooth. (or use the microwave, but with this recipe, because there is going to be a lot of individual meltings I decided to go with the double boiler method. Having the already at temperature water on the stove just made it seem easier to me)

Lightly butter the inside of two 9-by-1 1/2" cake pans. Flour with 1 teaspoon of cake flour, shaking out the excess into the two cups remaining cake flour. Sift that with the baking soda and salt onto wax paper and set aside.

Combine the brown sugar and 8 tablespoons of butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (use the paddle) and beat on low for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high for 2 more minutes. Scrape it down, beat it 2 more.

Add the four eggs, one at a time while beating on high. Give it at least thirty seconds on high between each egg, when all the eggs are in beat on high for another 2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and the vanilla, reduce the mixer to low, and beat on low for another minute.

Heat 1 cup of water to a boil. While you're waiting for the water to boil, with the mixer on low add a third of the sifted dry ingredients and a third of the sour cream. Beat for 30 seconds. Repeat that until all the ingredients are incorporated, add the cup of boiling water and beat it all together for at least 30 more seconds. Remove the bowl from the stand and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides down and work the batter thoroughly to ensure absolute smoothness.

Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a rack for fifteen minutes, invert onto cake circles (you can get these at any high end chef's supply, or just cut your own out of cardboard) and refridgerate uncovered while you make the ganache and the frosting.

For the ganache, heat the cream, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a heavy 2 1/2 quart saucepan over a medium high flame, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring this to the brink of a boil (if you let it boil it will bubble over and you will have a totally gross and ugly mess that will defy all your attempts to clean from this moment forward, go ahead, guess how I figured this part out). Pour the cream immediately over the chocolate chunks and the espresso powder in a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or just plop a plastic cutting board over the top of the bowl and leave it alone for ten minutes, then stir until smooth and glossy. If any of this gets on your fingers during this part of the process licking them is an appropriate first step of the cleaning. Don't forget to wash with soap and dry thoroughly after though. Keep this at room temperature while you amke the buttercream.

Go back to the double boiler with another 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, 2 ounces of the unsweetened chocolate and 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the top half (which you of course washed and dried scrupulously, and I mean completely, one little tiny smidgen of water will ruin everything) Heat while stirring until completely smooth and melted. Set aside.

Put the pound of butter in the bowl of the stand mixer, beat on low for 2 minutes, increase to medium and beat for another 3. Scrape down and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 5 to 6 minutes. Move to a large stainless or glass mixing bowl.

Back to the double boiler with the 5 egg whites and cup of baker's sugar in the top half. Gently whisk the egg whites with the sugar over the hot water for about 5 minutes. If you have an instant read (or even better one of those tricked out laser no touch beauties) thermometer you want a reading of 120°. Transfer the hot egg whites to the bowl of the stand mixer (this time use the baloon whip) and beat on the highest level until stiff peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Fold the melted chocolate into the butter, using a rubber spatula gently to thoroughly combine. Slowly, gently fold in the whipped egg whites into this until completely mixed. Set aside at room temperature.

To assemble the cake use a long slicing knife to trim off the top and make the cake rounds completely level (SNACK TIME!). Slice each round horizontally to make 2 equal layers. Place the top layer of the cake into a closed springform pan. Evenly spread 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate espresso buttercream over the cake in the springform. Blac the bottom layer of the first cake onto the buttercream and press gently into place. Pour 1 1/4 cups of the ganache over the cake layer spreading the ganache evenly to the edges. Refrigerate the remaining ganache. Place the top layer of the second cake on top of the ganache and press gently into place. (this is a pretty resiliant cake but there's no call for roughness) Spread another 1 1/2 cups of the buttercream evenly over this layer. Place the final cake round, cut side down, onto the buttercream and gently press into place.

Cover the cake and pan closely with plastic wrap and put in the freezer for an hour.

Remove the cake from the freezer and with the thin metal blade of a cake spatula cut gently around the sides of the pan. Release the springsides and place the cake on a frosting spindle. Fill a pasty bag fitted with a large star tip with 1 1/2 cups of the buttercream. Fill another bag with a medium star tip with the remaining ganache. Evenly spread the remaining buttercream around the cake.

Alternate rings of buttercream and ganache stars until the top of the cake is completely covered, if there's still more left in the bags pipe a row of stars around the bottom. Refrigerate the cake at least an hour before cutting and slicing.

Cut the cake with a serrated slicer that has been run under hot water and wiped dry for each slice. Allow to come to room temperature (five to ten minutes) and serve. I like to garnish this with some whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I served it with demitasse cups of espresso with a twist of lemon.


One of my guests for coffee and cake was my Cousin, the brilliant attorney. They have reached a settlement on the rancher and the title dispute. The rancher's family will be granted residence rights in perpetuity (when the Indian side of a treaty says stuff like "as long as the grass grows" we mean that shit) for a yearly payment of 20 beef cows and 400 silver dollars. The family will be entitled to free medical care at the reservation clinics, is invited to participate in our collective free range cattle operation as a continuing partner, children of the family which are enrolled in college are welcome to apply to the reservation's program of tuition assistance with the same considerations given to Apache applicants, they can bring raw timber from their leasehold to the Apache sawmill and have it processed at cost plus 4%, they will refer any offers to buy the land to the Apache nation who will have final say on any sale or transfer. In the case of a sale the family and the White Mountain Nation will split the proceeds with 70% going to the family and 30% to the Apache. There's a lot more technical legalese and tiny little conditions and codicils involved with this deal, but my cousin is very proud of being able to hammer out an agreement where every party involved feels they have been treated justly and been well served. I am very proud of him myself. It really made the work I did making this cake seem all the more appropriate.

p.s. It tasted like at least three of the seven deadly sins done all at once.


Bush Rebuke Scheduled for New Orleans

From Humid City

from a tip by Shakespeare's Sister (link on the bar at the right, up there at the top)

(Near Freret and Napoleon)

New Orleans Needs Federal Aid, Not Presidential Photo-Ops.
Mr. President: Katrina Survivors Do Not Welcome You, We Rebuke You!

We live in a devastated city and you are a big part of the reason why it sill sits in ruins. Your administration has abandoned our children by savaging their public schools. Your administration has tortured our working class people by refusing to reopen the city’s public housing developments. And your administration is fully complicit in placing our uninsured in harms way by ruthlessly pursuing the privatization of local public healthcare in the aftermath of Katrina. And, finally your administration is guilty of sending our sons and daughters of to war for oil and empire just when we need them most to help us rebuild our community.

Mr. President, we, Katrina Survivors all, do not welcome you to our city, we rebuke you!

Sponsored by Survivors Village, United Front For Affordable Housing.
(504) 587-0080

Today, I can't think of a single person more deserving of rebuke.


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Small Reposting

Back in the very beginnings of this blog, back when it would take a couple of days for my hits to need two digits, I had a night of dreadfull insomnia. litbrit read this back then and left her own eloquent consolation (thank you darlin'). There are times when sleeping just isn't in the cards for me. The dreams come and remain. The memories stick and refuse to leave.

I tried all the usual remedies. I tried medications (both medical prescription and self prescription) without relief. Yes, I would appear to be asleep, but really, I would be back in the brutal streets of Hue, or the harsh tangles and hills of the A Shau.

Sometimes, by steeling my resolve to enter and explore these memories and dreams I can find a measure of understanding and peace. Most of the time though, it is something that only brings pain, grief, shame, and the sad realization that there were many fine lads, much finer than me, that are now gone.

This poem isn't about combat itself. It is about the aftermath. There was a helocopter that went down in the A Shau valley. A platoon was dispatched to to site of the crash. They never returned. My unit was told to go and see what had happened. This is what we saw. Remember, this happened. Realize, this is happening now.

Understand that Bush and his minions are calling for a wider, larger, bloodier conflict, without being able to explain a single positive benefit for our nation if they are given their way.

coming to the battleground far too late
i saw bodies flung down to death
broken toys of some child god

the enemy had taken their own
we began to gather ours
moving in the silence of the place

trying to match the parts and shreds
which was not an easy thing
when they were small

the carnage was both modern and complete
and close fought like the ancients
it only takes a little while

and war becomes primitive again
the smell was something i smell tonight
it remains without words to explain

slow moves were taken
gently lifting and laying down again
the burned lads especially needed that

the time they had lain was harsh
sun and heat were at work
in the tropics rot starts now

i remember thinking
this jungle drinks our blood
and grows

that horrid day amid all that brutal death
one thing alone made me cry
a butterfly

once bright and fragile
had landed upon the ruined
face of some shot up kid

wings touched in blood
unable to fly away
it died there

I mostly these days manage to find my peace. I even believe, some days, I am deserving of it. My deepest wish, my fondest hope is that my own beloved son will never know nights of his own like mine.

big brass blog


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Steve Gilliard Due for Open Heart Surgery

the latest news from Jen

Si' Zi' bìyì' éd yùd di" di' is-Za'ni' tc'ìndí
'ìs' à' nà yái éd yùd 'á lzà tc' ìndí
bìyì' éd yùd híljìj 'ìs' à' nà yái tc'ìndí
yèxáidèlà gò dè yà k' è' gò józee tsá lit' tc'ìndí

I stand inside a circle of women and men, they say
Long life, in a circle is danced, they say
Inside this circle we dance life, they say
Having been prepared he walks in beauty they say

p.s. biil anch bik'eniih belangaana (fuck the fucking yankees)


Monday, February 26, 2007

Damn Sting!

As usual, when my mood is gloomy and dark. I stumble upon something beautifully glorious.

Great Performances on PBS had an entire hour of Sting performing on lute. Incredible stuff. I will probably even get some sleep tonight. Check your local listings, TIVO this one.

big brass blog

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What My Head Was Saying At the Funeral

I did my duty as a musician and a neighbor. We buried the young man yesterday. I kept my thoughts and my opinions to myself. I played the songs his family asked me to play. Nothing unusual. The regular hymns and stuff. The family wants to believe he's walking with Jesus in glory above. Fine with me.

The honor gaurd was there at the grave. American legion guys. I took my new bagpipes and managed to play "Amazing Grace" and "Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier."

I passed on the reception afterward. I wasn't in any kind of place to be sociable. During the service my head was wanting to shout:

How many more? Give me a number of dead that will satisfy you. How many more?

I hear no answers. I was up very early this morning to ride out in the desert alone. I saw the sun come up over the mountains I grew up in.

I'm. Just. Tired. Of. It. All.

When you come from a small town and a kid gets killed it hurts a little more I guess. The total enrollment of our high school is smaller than the class size of the high schools in California. Hell, we've only been playing 11 man football for the last six years. Every one of these kids (there have been four from my little bitty town) is a kid I have known. Not well, except for one who dated one of my daughters, but we know each other out here. We trade fruit for pies and jam, milk for yoghurt, we watch out for each other and for each other's kids.

Yesterday wasn't about politics, it was about family and nieghbors. There is one more kid in the ground. I didn't open my mouth yesterday. It wouldn't have accomplished anything but make my neighbors feel bad.

All night though, I heard

How. Many. More?

Big Brass Blog