Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Beavis Goes to Bitburg

This weekend saw dueling fascist snoozefests in DC- the emo-boy Nazis and the insufficiently Aryan fascist contingent that they hate. At any rate, less than a hundred fascists showed up at both rallies, proving that Saturday Right Fever isn't bringing all the boys to the yard... not even all of the milk-drinking 'Proud Boys'.

Despite the unpopularity of the Anime Nazi contingents, the cool kids all noticed that Eric Trump is now sporting the 'fashy haircut' popular with the cartoon frog set... Beavis Goes to Bitburg.

Besides making the joke in the post title, this post gives me an excuse to post one of the few Ramones songs that was overtly political:





Despite the fact that the Ramones often sang about transgressive topics and invoked Nazi imagery for shock value, Joey Ramone was a nice, liberal Jewish boy from Queens... for all of his Blitzkrieg Bopping, I'm sure he'd be appalled at the rise of openly neo-Nazi groups, and the media's refusal to condemn them.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer Crop, Bumper Crop

Having had a few days over 90F (32C), there is a bumper crop of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) onsite:




Longtime readers will know that purslane is one of my all-time favorite foodstuffs. Purslane has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and has gained some cachet in the foodie community.

I picked a passel of purslane- this particular bunch will be dressed with tahini and yogurt (this will set off the purslane's tartness nicely) with a hint of garlic, to be served on slices of stale ciabatta bread fried in olive oil. Purslane is succulent, and while traditionally cooked in Mexican and Indian cuisines, I prefer to eat it raw because that crunchy, succulent texture is a large part of the plant's appeal to me.

Purslane's ability to thrive in the heat is due to its ability to 'switch on' the CAM photosynthetic process to conserve water. I made sure to pluck the stems off of the plants, leaving the roots (possibly to the chagrin of our horticultural staff, sorry guys!) in the ground. I'll be eating purslane for months, and will probably try pickling some, like Martha Washington did, for the cold, purslaneless months.

POSTSCRIPT:
Poking around the t00bz, I find that purslane is an ingredient in Rooh Afza, which is commonly consumed on Eid-al-Fitr on the Indian subcontinent. Happy Eid, folks.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Happy Pride Day 2017

Today marked NYC's annual LGBTQ Pride Day parade- here's wishing a happy pride day to all of my readers. Significantly, this year's pride parade was televised for the first time, furthering the goal of LGBTQ visibility. One theme that has been covered in the local news is the importance of trans-acceptance, another is the importance, in the post Pulse nightclub massacre and Trump/Pence election, the need to resist attacks on LGBTQ people, both physical and legislative.

I learned long ago that people who belittle, demean, and assault LGBTQ people are bullies, plain and simple. As a teenager, I witnessed a friend's family disown her when she came out... they destroyed their family, favoring small-minded bigotry over love and loyalty. Two gay friends of mine in high school tried to kill themselves... thankfully, neither one of them succeeded. I value equality, and I value authenticity- nobody should have to live a lie, or to live in hiding. The same regressive, authoritarian forces that want to curtail LGBTQ rights are the same ones who want to roll back women's rights and civil rights for minorities. In a very real sense, the LGBTQ pride movement is on the front lines of the culture wars, and the rest of us in the progressive community need to be thankful of them.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Current Fuzzy Earworm

If you were to ask me what the best album released in the 1990s was, I would unhesitatingly say Hedningarna's Trä... I just didn't really care for the 'grunge' scene, it was just slow, sludgy riffs on a style perfected by the Pixies, a band I have always loved, but devoid of the Pixies' humor. I did, however, love the slew of guitar-heavy bands fronted by female singers, such as Velocity Girl and Belly.

Another similar band was Boston's Fuzzy, who put out some great music, but didn't achieve monster hitmaker status. I listen to a lot of college radio, and Fuzzy's 1994 single Flashlight came up on a recent WFDU 'New Music Smorgasbord' playlist:





Sweet vocals and crunchy guitars... what's not to love? The band recently played a benefit for NARAL Pro-Choice America:





Resistance sure has a great sound.

Friday, June 23, 2017

So Proud of My Country

I've only kept a nominal watch on the news this week, so it was with some dismay that I saw the footage of the Capitol Police, so soon after they covered themselves in glory for stopping a mass shooter, ejecting disabled protestors from Mitch McConnell's office. I figure that, if you are evil enough to slash medical benefits for poor people, you are evil enough to manhandled disabled persons.

On a personal level, I am truly pissed off at some of the responses to this event from Trump supporters. Tengrain linked to NBC's Twitter coverage of this story and one asshole claimed that the protestors were pawns, and when called on it, claimed that they used their disabilities for 'the optics', as if they weren't confronted by their challenges daily. Christ wept, these people are disabled, but they are intelligent people with agency and dignity.

It's not surprising that a Trump supporter would have such a retrograde, bigoted attitude toward disabled people... he's just following the horrible example set by his Creep-in-Chief, who thought nothing of mocking Serge F. Kovaleski:





While Mr Kovaleski has a disability, he's a hell of a lot smarter than Vulgarmort, and would make a better president. At the very least, he wouldn't be slashing the very medical benefits who allow people with disabilities to work and to study and, yes, to protest.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Going to Have to Think of Ginger as a Solo Act

I've been a bit behind the news this week, being preoccupied with the final days of my beloved Fred. For the record, I spent a half hour with Fred in the predawn hours this morning, bidding him goodbye. This morning, he sat under the apple trees onsite with his sister and a bunch of two-legged co-workers until it was time. At 10:45AM, my friend and co-worker Rob, the manager who is the cats' primary caretaker, accompanied by our co-worker Iris, took Fred to the veterinarian's office for one final time.

The company e-mail system is full of eulogies for Fred, and pictures of the handsome beast... it has been one long outpouring of love for this cat who has been a part of our lives for the past seven years:




The real weird thing is having to talk about Fred and Ginger in the past tense. The two cats were a package deal and a matching set, though they had widely divergent dispositions- Fred being a mellow beast (sorta like a Labrador retriever trapped in a cat's body) while Ginger is mercurial. They were complementary- their interaction never failed to amuse me. It'll be strange thinking of Ginger as a solo act, without her calm, steady foil:




I saw Rob tonight at shift change and thanked him for taking on the burden of bringing Fred to be euthanized... I've been in that position before, and it's not easy. I haven't checked in on Ginger yet, but I'll be poking my head in on her soon. She was clingy last night, tonight I'll let her cling as much as she needs to.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Friends of Fred

This evening, three of the contractors who work on our major Fall fundraiser stopped by to bid adieu to Fred. Over the years, these good folks have become friends of mine, and friends of the cats. They have logged many hours in on the site, and they came to love Fred and Ginger. Tomorrow, one of our managers has the unenviable duty of taking Fred to the veterinarian's office for the final time- he has had the task of taking the cats for their quarterly checkups ever since we got them from a former co-worker, and his devotion to Fred is second-to-none. I have been getting the sad news out to former co-workers and seasonal contractors who have become attached to our dear cat.

I came in early to work, and the co-worker I was relieving and I waited for our friends to arrive. My co-worker had to euthanize his 15 year-old pet cat only a month prior, due to kidney problems. My brother Vincenzo is facing a similar situation with his beloved 18-year old marmalade cat, Orange Juice. We are all cat people, so there was a melancholy mood to our sendoff to Fred. Petting Fred, my friend Ali noted that he 'looks fat, but feels skinny'... he's bloated from the medicine as well as the tumor, but his spine stands out. I took one last picture of my beloved sibling feline comedy team:




This picture really catches the essence of the two cats- there's Fred, looking regal and composed as he sits on the ground, while Ginger is a blur of motion. My friends took a few pictures of me with the cat, mementos of our final night together. Our friends stayed with us for a good two-hours, commiserating with me and fussing over Fred. I am fortunate to have such good friends, both two-legged and four. Thank you for the outpouring of sympathy, sharing the sadness makes it more bearable.