Friday, August 18, 2017

Music Friday: "Sir Duke"

This song rattled across my iPod shuffle this morning when I was doing errands. 

Good ole Stevie Wonder...

Have a good weekend, folks. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Green Chile Chicken Chili

I got this recipe from the magazine Cooking Light, but I made a few modifications. 

3-4 cups of chicken stock
4 cans of Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of flour
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
4 4 oz. cans of mild chopped green chiles
2 cups of shredded chicken
4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream 
Sliced avocado
Chopped cilantro 

Put a cup of stock and 2 cans of beans into a blender and blend until smooth. Eat olive oil in stock pot on medium-high. Add onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, add shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes, add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 

Sprinkle flour over aromatics and cook for a minute. Add cumin and chiles and cook for a minute. Add the stock-bean mixture and the rest of the stock and drained beans. Add salt and pepper. 

Reduce to medium heat and let the concoction simmer for about 10 minutes. Add chicken and cook for a 5-10 minutes. 

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a few slices of avocado, and some cilantro. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

With the current state of affairs related to the despicable nonsense in Charlottesville and the brazen know-it-all unintelligence of the U.S. president, it's no wonder that I'm watching old episodes of The Twilight Zone. I don't like the current reality in so many different ways. 

From what I gather, the Neo-Nazis and KKK and various white supremacists got together in Charlottesville to protest the taking down of Confederate monuments. While I know this may be an unpopular opinion, I tend to lean toward keeping Confederate monuments. Here is why. 

Many of those monuments were erected in the extreme era of Jim Crow America. I personally think they are a stain on American history and should be kept up to show people how institutionalized racism was and is. There's no reason to sugarcoat American history. As Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz has documented in her fine An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, from the the outset the European vision for America was fueled by white supremacist beliefs. 

In another line of thought that is popular around social media these days, the monuments could be similar to participation trophies, which could be an apt way to think about them. But it's troubling that monuments were erected for a group who wanted to secede from the country because of "states' rights," which is just another way to say they wanted certain states to have the ability to enslave people of color because of their white supremacist ideologies based on bullshit and the Bible. 

I went to grad school in the Deep South, and on a number of places at the University of Alabama there are placards that recall the glory of the lost cause. I remember one in particular that, if I remember correctly, references a "War of Northern Aggression." 

For me, when I read it, I found it to be an anachronism that tells how far we've come as a country and how we still have a long way to go.  

This is why I have mixed feelings about tearing down Confederate monuments. 

But to just be clear, MoscowDon is a complete moron, and I denounce the racism of the groups who gathered in Charlottesville. 

My uncle and father enlisted in World War II to fight Nazis, and to see people defending their crazy-ass beliefs sickens and troubles me. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Music Friday: "Burning Stars"

On his Twitter feed, Jason Isbell recommended this album. I took his recommendation and bought the thing. 

It's good - thought-provoking lyrics, softly subtle arrangements, and interesting surprises within. 

Here's one of my favorite songs from the album. 

Random Notes from a Crank

Last weekend, as usual, we spent a small fortune on school supplies for my kids. 

On Sunday I took my daughter to the last day of the county fair. She found a few of her friends, so I just sat on a bench and people watched. County fairs are prime targets for people watching. Here a few of my observations:

  • I don't get some articles of clothing that people wear. 
  • People who wear hi-tops for regular walking-around shoes probably aren't that good at basketball. 
  • Corn dogs and fruit shake-ups are hard to resist.
  • Either there many Cubs fans in my area of Illinois (there are more Cardinals fans), or a number of people have jumped on the Cubs bandwagon.
  • I'm not about fat-shaming people, but Americans need to get in better shape, myself included. 

Check out Greg Fuchs' poem, "Make America Again," from Brooklyn Rail

Friday, August 4, 2017

Music Friday: "Love and Happiness"

A while back I picked up a greatest hits album from Mellencamp called Words and Music. I had forgotten how much I like "Love and Happiness." Like "Pink Houses," it's not a positive portrayal of America. 

It's dated to the time period when he wrote it, but the general problems he tackles are very much with us still. 

When I play the song in the car, my kids are taken aback by the screechiness of the trumpet about midway through the song. I like the dissonant start to the trumpet in the song. I think it works well with what Mellencamp is saying.