Thursday, May 31, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I'm not planting as many individual plants this year, but I'm trying a few new varieties. A local nuseryman that I've traded cuttings and plants with over the years has been getting in heirloom varieties the past couple of years and he has some interesting plants now.
Monday, May 28, 2007
I'm an intemperate gardener. Some years I'm fastidious with weeding, fertilizing, pruning and deadheading. Other years I feed the plants and just allow them to grow however they will. The last couple of years, I've done the latter. I wasn't timely with separating and propagating plants so when the time came to divvy up the Hosta "Sagae", Pulmonaria "Roy Davidson," and my dwarf white Astilbe it was quite a job. They hadn't been divided in about 4 years and were huge clumps to contend with. So I took three clumps and ended up with 30 smaller ones. They're all planted now. I still have a clump of Pulmonaria "Mrs. Moon" and a peach Astilbe to divide...I shudder to think about tackling them--they're huge.
An elderly couple from Ohio drove up to the house yesterday while I was in the yard. Bella, the shelter rescue wonder dog with separation anxiety issues went nuts barking; Fletcher climbed one of the maples. I was covered in filth from digging up and separating plants. They sat parked in the drive conferring for a few moments--I kept my back to them, replanting hosta. The
woman gets out of the car and says "This used to be the X homestead. My maiden name was X. Would it be okay if we walked around and took pictures--I have pictures from back when it was the X place." Actually, no; no it was not okay. This property no longer belonged to the Xs. It hadn't for at least 50 years.
They didn't say anything when I said, "no;" they just gave me a look indicating they thought I was rude and inhospitable and got in their big loud red truck and drove away. Although they were polite enough, I found the whole thing incredibly nervy and presumptuous. The property no longer belonged to a family member--whatever claim they thought they had to it was forfeited when it was sold.
Had I not been there working in the yard, I know they would have walked around and taken pictures to their hearts' contents--in short they would've reminisced and trespassed, commenting on how it all used to be, then gone to the fire hall for a nice lunch before driving back to Ohio, braking for anything even resembling a curve in the road.
When I told Brian about this today he offered to sit on the front porch in a wifebeater with a shotgun and bottle of bourbon, threatening any and all potential trespassers. Is that love or what?
Chales Nelson Reilly died.
That makes me sad. He was a fixture of my childhood--I loved him on Lidsville--and one of the most visible gay men on telly in the 70s. I loved game shows as a young'un--Match Game, Hollywood Squares, and The Gong Show were particular favorites. I didn't get the jokes, I never had an inkling why I liked CNR, Paul Lynde, Waylon Flowers and Madame or Jaye P. Morgan so much, but I did. I didn't enjoy those shows nearly as much when they weren't on the panels. Would anyone in their right mind prefer George Gobel or Kitty Carlisle?
When I was in grad school I was always threatening to write a series of essays about the gaying of America through game shows. I didn't recognize the panelists as gay (or myself at the time--I was barely in grade school) but I recognized that they were different and it appealed to me in a deep way. I could do without some of the camp trappings, I'll just chalk that up to a generational difference, but fundamentally they informed my sense of humor and my ideas of what's funny.
I think I'm going to check the Game Show Network and see if Match Game is on.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
It's startling what you get when you google image search with "cowboy jesus." Sadly the line art image of a bronc rider juxtaposed with the three crosses atop Calvary was unavailable.
Is this satire? Parody?
What’s even worse than the debate raging in American schools about the teaching of the soulless doctrine of evolution, is the non-debate over an issue that rational Americans have foolishly conceded to the secular among us: the issue of Heliocentrism, or the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
Now, it has to be granted that there may be some mathematical evidence going either way; mathematically speaking, Copernicus may be on ground nearly as firm as that of Tycho Brahe. Right-thinking people know the correct doctrine, however:
Heliocentrism is the view that the sun is at the center of the universe. It was proposed by some ancient Greeks, and became the dominant view in the 1700s and 1800s. It was abandoned in the 20th century.
Since the advent of relativity theory in the early 1900s, the laws of physics have been written in covariant equations, meaning that they are equally valid in any frame. Heliocentric and geocentric theories are both used today, depending on which allows more convenient calculations
It seems clear that it may occasionally be convenient to assume that the calculations of Copernicus and Kepler were mathematically sound. However, for both moral and theological reasons, we should always bear in mind that the Earth does not move. If it moved, we would feel it moving. That’s called empiricism, the experience of the senses. Don’t take my word for it, or the evidence of your own senses, Copernicans. There’s also the Word of the Lord:
“He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.” (1 Chronicles 16:30)
“Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.” (Psalm 104:5)
“The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5)
I support the Bible, and I don’t want my children learning about Heliocentrism in school. I think this doctrine encourages atheism, Darwinism, and anti-Americanism. I don’t want my tax dollars going to finance this kind of false science. It’s complete rot, and I hope that those of us who come to realize this can ultimately prevail against its propogation amongst OUR children with the money from OUR salaries.
I can’t wait to hear from the moonbats and the Darwinists and the other rubes on this one, though. Go on, witch doctors. Preach to me how the planet hurtles through the ether, Scriptural and physical evidence to the contrary! Your false doctrines will be cast down on the day when America rediscovers its Christian roots. That is a promise.
Nope. It's from GOPer Sam Brownback's supporters. Praise!
There's more at the link if you can take it.~*~And here's an intrepid lil 8th Grader out to use a paper towel to prove part of the theory of evolution is wrong. He should be able to disprove all of it before his armpits are fully haired. He needs to team up with Mr. Anti-Heliocentrism and take over NASA.Brian Benson, an eighth-grade student who won first place in the Life Science/Biology category for his project "Creation Wins!!!," says he disproved part of the theory of evolution. Using a rolled-up paper towel suspended between two glasses of water with Epsom Salts, the paper towel formed stalactites. He states that the theory that they take millions of years to develop is incorrect.
"Scientists say it takes millions of years to form stalactites," Benson said. "However,in only a couple of hours, I have formed stalactites just by using paper towel and Epsom Salts."
Pharyngula takes this whole bs apart here.
From the Denver Post.
Don't look for any religious symbolism here - it was only a freak act of Mother Nature, says Sister Ilaria. The nuns at Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden were thanking God on Sunday that no one was hurt when a bolt of lightning shot out of the sky and struck their 33-foot statue of Jesus. The lightning bolt broke off one of Jesus' arms and a hand and damaged one of his feet, sending marble plummeting to the ground during a Saturday afternoon storm. "There were pilgrims up there on the hill," Sister Ilaria said. "The biggest miracle is no one got hit with the falling debris." The statue of Jesus, which had one hand pointing to his "sacred heart" and the other outstretched, sits atop a mountain near the shrine in the foothills of Golden. Drivers on Interstate 70 can see the statue in the hills, and at night, light illuminates the white marble. What's the difference between an act of Nature and an act of God, again? Or is your invocation of "Mother Nature" simple heresey, Sister Ilaria?
Don't look for any religious symbolism here - it was only a freak act of Mother Nature, says Sister Ilaria.
The nuns at Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden were thanking God on Sunday that no one was hurt when a bolt of lightning shot out of the sky and struck their 33-foot statue of Jesus.
The lightning bolt broke off one of Jesus' arms and a hand and damaged one of his feet, sending marble plummeting to the ground during a Saturday afternoon storm.
"There were pilgrims up there on the hill," Sister Ilaria said. "The biggest miracle is no one got hit with the falling debris."
The statue of Jesus, which had one hand pointing to his "sacred heart" and the other outstretched, sits atop a mountain near the shrine in the foothills of Golden. Drivers on Interstate 70 can see the statue in the hills, and at night, light illuminates the white marble.
What's the difference between an act of Nature and an act of God, again? Or is your invocation of "Mother Nature" simple heresey, Sister Ilaria?
This was on a car with some other granola-esque bumper stickers and I immediately thought it implied something about (ahem) intimate grooming. When I finally saw the person associated with said sticker my suspicions were strengthened and biases confirmed.
I will never transplant or deal with prickly pear again. Even with gloves on I was picking teeny tiny needles from my hands for hours last night.
Separating astilbe, two pulmonaria, hosta and ferns today. I realized I missed out on separating my other bleeding hearts this year. That definitely needs doing next year. Between them and the sensitive fern in one shade bed, they're choking out other stuff.
I have a garden toad living in the semi-shade bed near the front porch. Hopefully my work there won't scare him away.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
I've picked up a couple of landscaping projects to make some extra cash and have seen much that amuses me.
Hard to believe that I'm not burned out on digging and planting yet, but I'm strangely energized. I'm finishing up my shade bed tomorrow.
For those who are horticulturally inclined, Gurneys.com is having a crazy Memorial Day sale that ends Monday. If you're interested, leave a post in the comments and I'll give you the discount code.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I just took the Dante's Inferno Test and am a little surprised. I thought I'd be in level 4 or 8....maybe level 2...but instead I'm in 6. I never considered myself particularly heretical...it always seemed to me one needed to consciously disavow or undermine an orthodoxy to be a heretic...but who knew. Wanna see if we'll be infernal roomates? Go here.
The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||Very Low|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Very Low|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||Very High|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Low|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Very High|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Extreme|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Very High|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||Extreme|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Very High|
Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test
I've mentioned my love for Annie Lennox here before, but I've never really gone into why I think she's so fabulous. Short version: Annie Lennox made me queer. Not gay in the "I like to kiss boys" sense, but queer in the "Androgyny is hot and dangerous" sense. Earlier this year I did an essay and poem about her for an anthology of gay men on their divas and I cite this performance from the 1984 Grammys as being formative.
It was--I kindasorta liked the Eurythmics before that night, but after watching their version of "Sweet Dreams" where she does her best drag--I was hooked. Something vague went off in my head and I felt connected. The discomfort and squirming my mom and sister exhibited seeing her pass as a man probably helped. Since then I've realized the value in making your audience just the teensiest bit uncomfortable and try to exploit it whenever I can.
What's fascinating to me, now, 23 years later, is that some people still don't realize it's her. Check some of the comments in the versions posted on Youtube. Really--astonishing.
Anyway, enough of this, on to the show.
I'm spiralling into the dark space with this...as soon as I had my list of 5 obsessive listens, I started doing 5 other 5s.
5 Favorite Dance Tracks
1. "Get Ur Freak On", Missy Elliot
2. "Ray of Light", Madonna
3. "Blue Monday", Orgy
4. "Milkshake", Kelis
5. "What You Waiting For", Gwen Stefani
5 Albums You've Probably Never Heard (but Should Hear)
1. The Kills, No Wow
2. Dogs Die in Hot Cars, Please Describe Yourself
3. The Futureheads, The Futureheads
4. The Arcade Fire, Funeral
5. Angela McCluskey, The Things We Do
5 Albums I Keep Repurchasing
1. Damien Rice, O
2. Radiohead, OK Computer
3. REM, New Adventures in Hi-Fi
4. David Bowie, Outside
5. Elton John, Goodbye Yellowbrick Road
5 Songs that Make Me Write
1. "Myxomatosis", Radiohead
2. "Eskimo", Damien Rice
3. "Big in Japan", Tom Waits
4. "Waiting for the Man," Velvet Underground
5. "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes," Modest Mouse
5 Favorite James Bond Themes
1. "Diamonds Are Forever", Shirley Bassey
2. "The Man with the Golden Gun", Lulu
3. "Live and Let Die", Paul McCartney and Wings
4. "A View to a Kill", Duran Duran
5. "Die Another Day", Madonna
Keith tagged me to do my five favorite songs. I'm doing my five obsessive listens for the first part of '07, in no particular order.
1. Wild is the Wind--David Bowie, Station to Station
2. Bouncing off Clouds--Tori Amos, American Doll Posse
3. Leaving it up to You-- John Cale, Fragments of a Rainy Season
4. Walk Away--Tom Waits, Real Gone
5. Shores of California--Dresden Dolls, Yes, Virginia
I'm tagging Aaron and Montgomery.
She danced in front of the window,
snowflakes glowing behind her
under the streetlight. The blue silk blouse
slipped off her arms and floated out of sight.
Black slacks into a shadow, then
the quick shiver, the beautiful awkward gesture
into nakedness. Her skin startled me--
luminous or pale, depending. We didn't know
each other well, but it was my turn,
so I raised my arms above my head
and tried to shake. We both wanted to know
something about somebody. My clothes
piled beneath me in a clump.
The striptease didn't do much
for either of us, but by then
we were chilled and fell against
each other's skin.
Snow under streetlights landed
layer upon layer.
We fell forward,
then fell apart against the sheets,
cold again, and wet. She whispered
in my ear, and I pulled the blankets
up over us. I knew her name,
so I whispered that.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Like a Peckinpah film or one of Shakespeare's tragedies, the body count keeps rising here. Avalanche paraded around the house with a mouse he caught last night until I managed to get him scooted outside. Today he tried to tangle with a huge snake sunning itself near the meadow (it was a little over three feet long)--I ended up whacking it with the machete because neither one of them was backing down. I shudder to think what else he's going to find in the next few months. I have to give him credit--he's not afraid to tangle with something significantly bigger than he is.
I'm not sure when this landscaping project is ever going to be done. So much to clear out and kill that I think I'm never going to be on top of it all, much less ahead.
Monday, May 21, 2007
I totally forgot to blog this this morning.
Wednesday night I dreamt about Robert Bly. I was in an archway between two rooms and he was approaching me, wearing an embroidered vest and cravat. We walked up to one another and shook hands and I said "You're shorter than I'd imagined." He was probably 5'4" in the dream, coming up just to my collarbone.
I've never (in my memory) dreamed about another poet (that I don't know personally) and am (more than a little) surprised that he's my first. Likewise--I have no idea why he'd surface now.
Sunday, when we were driving back to Buckhannon, I avoided a squirrel in the road. It was hunkering and darting beside another squirrel who had not been so lucky as to avoid a car. Actually it was pretty flat--it had not avoided a lot of cars. I had to avoid the skittish, befuddled, living one. I'm not one of those people who stops and helps box turtles across the road or who'll run into the ditch to avoid a bunny; but if weather conditions allow, I'll try to veer away or brake enough to avoid killing something.
I sometimes think we're like the couple in Green Acres--he's Eva Gabor, I'm Eddie Albert. I'm pretty adaptable. I like the options of cities: the venues, the anonymity, the restaurants, the shopping. At the same time I really love the space and quiet I have here. Sometimes it's grating, but overall it's a fair trade. We drove past people I knew and without thinking I'd point them out, oddly happy seeing them out running errands or whatever on a Sunday. Unlike Eddie A, I'd never ask Brian to relocate to an area like this--it'd drive him mad, I fear. But one of the things I'm gladdest for about this visit was that he got to be with me and some of my favorite people and see that part of my life.
Every time I see a possum I think of Gerald Stern's "Behaving Like a Jew" from Lucky Life.
Behaving Like A Jew
When I got there the dead opossum looked like
an enormous baby sleeping on the road.
It took me only a few seconds – just
seeing him there – with the hole in his back
and the wind blowing through his hair
to get back again into my animal sorrow.
I am sick of the country, the bloodstained
bumpers, the stiff hairs sticking out of the grilles,
the slimy highways, the heavy birds
refusing to move;
I am sick of the spirit of Lindbergh over everything,
that joy in death, that philosophical
understanding of carnage, that
concentration on the species.
--- I am going to be unappeased at the opossum’s death.
I am going to behave like a Jew
and touch his face, and stare into his eyes,
and pull him off the road.
I am not going to stand in a wet ditch
with the Toyotas and the Chevies passing over me
at sixty miles an hour
and praise the beauty and the balance
and lose myself in the immortal lifestream
when my hands are still a little shaky
from his stiffness and his bulk
and my eyes are still weak and misty
from his round belly and his curved fingers
and his black whiskers and his little dancing feet.
I picked up the new Bjork album on Thursday--it's sort of a "meh" experience. I want to like it...I just don't, really. Not sure if this is something that'll grow on me or if I'll not even try future listens. I knew I should've bought the latest Modest Mouse.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
In the grand (?) tradition of miniKiss, the Misfats and AC/DShe there's now Mini-Britney!
Terra Jole is a 26-year-old 4'2" little person who tours the country doing a 45-60 minute show as Britney. (I am refraining from taking any of Mrs. Federline's song titles and using size-ist puns for a punch line, but trust me, I have a few.) The Mini Britney link above is to DListed.com which has video of Terra in action.
(hat-tip to Brian)
Kill Bill + subtitles + full-face makeup + krumping= Genius
My favorite lyric from the song?
Look,let me move to the left
Go head, let me feel myself
Touch my chest my sweat
Show that d.j. how I shake my breasts
Watch how my gluteus dangle
I do a 1-2 step,STOP
No, I ain't done yet.
"Jerry has been a tower of strength on many of the moral issues which have confronted our nation." -- evangelist Pat Robertson.
"Dr. Falwell's shadow falls across the face of the rebirth of conservative values in our nation, in the Southern Baptist Convention, and in the entire evangelical world. Only once in a generation will a man of his stature arise. We all owe him a debt of eternal gratitude." -- Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
"An American who built and led a movement based on strong principles and strong faith has left us. He will be greatly missed, but the legacy of his important work will continue through his many ministries where he put his faith into action." -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
"Dr. Falwell was a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Falwell's family at this difficult time." -- Republican presidential candidate and Sen. John McCain.
"His life is a testament not only to the power of faith to move hearts, but to the strength of the American ethos that stresses the importance of citizenship ... He was a great leader, a person totally sustained by his faith but able to work with many people from many different backgrounds without imposing rigidity on anyone else." -- Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
No...no...wait...it's coming to me...
And I've been scolded twice for being less than gracious regarding his passing.
The fact that such a hateful man (he did, after all, make Larry Flynt look sympathetic) could wrap himself in "god" and attain national prominence and influence is a surer sign of moral paucity and societal backsliding than a couple of leather bears kissing while a flotilla of drag queens toss rubbers from sparkly floats. The sad truth is his passing means nothing. His death, like the death of single termite, merely creates space for another just like him to take his place.
Some of his greatest hits:
I do not believe that God answers the prayer of any unredeemed Gentile or Jew.
After the September 11, 2001, attacks Falwell said on the 700 Club, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" ( PatRobertson concurred).
I listen to feminists and all these radical gals - most of them are failures. They've blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men - that's their problem.
The true Negro does not want integration...He realizes his potential is far better among his own race...We see the hand of Moscow in the background...We see the Devil himself behind it...It will destroy our race eventually...In one northern city, a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife ...It boils down to whether we are going to take God's Word as final
Herpes, AIDS, venereal diseases ... are a definite form of the judgment of God upon a society.
Homosexuality is Satan's diabolical attack upon the family that will not only have a corrupting influence upon our next generation, but it will also bring down the wrath of God upon America.
AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals.
AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.
If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being.
Textbooks are Soviet propaganda.
I truly cannot imagine men with men, women with women, doing what they were not physically created to do, without abnormal stress and misbehavior.
I think the Moslem [sic] faith teaches hate.
Falwell tells a pastors' conference in Kingsport, Tenn., that the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible is alive today and "of course he'll be Jewish."
[Tinky Winky] is purple - the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle - the gay-pride symbol.
I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be.
Update: Montgomery Maxton commemorates JF's passing in high style.
Update the Second: more can be found here.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
I'd wanted to find a pink butterfly bush for her for M-Day, but none of the nurseries or garden centers I went to had them--she's admired a neighbor's for some time so I thought that'd be the perfect thing. So, I had to improvise. I ended up buying a bunch of bulbs for her favorite flowers--stargazer daylilies, pink vermeer daylilies, and a bunch of gladiolias. They're interred and hopefully she'll be able to enjoy them shortly. I'd wanted to get her something already blooming but nothing I saw was appealing. She loves callas and dahlias--and they're readily available in stores right now, but a pain in terms of maintenance. Here in temperate zone 5A they have to be dug up every fall and stored, then replanted come spring. Just not worth it.
A lot of the seeds sown last weekend have popped up--I have no idea what they are (I didn't have my little map handy) but I'm hoping that more of their little brothers burst up and fill in the space. No clue how many bulbs I planted today. I tried to transplant some sweet peas for my mom--I encountered one of the largest tap roots in my life. It broke the shovel handle.
A good day really--beautiful outside, temperate and warm.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Brian has a habit of calling me Donna Reed when I'm on a cooking binge. (Either that or my penchant for house dresses, aprons and pearl necklaces.) He's coming for a visit next weekend and since I couldn't make it to Baltimore for his birthday I've gone into baking mode. Today I made Macadamia Nut Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies (I've come to realize that I also have a habit of making things with multiple chocolates.) Anyway--here's the recipe--it's a riff on the one my mom used when I was a kid.
Macadamia Nut Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies
5 T. Butter
5 T. Shortening
1/2 C. light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsps. Vanilla extract
2 T. milk (I prefer buttermilk)
1 1/2 C All-purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
optional add-in: 2/3 cup cocoa powder
Chocolate and Nuts
1 4 oz. bar Semi-Sweet chocolate (I prefer Ghiradelli's)
1 4 oz. bar White Chocolate
1 4 oz bar Bittersweet Chocolate (I prefer the 60% cacao bars)
4 oz macadamia nuts
preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Chop nuts and chocolate bars into chunks and set aside.
Cream together butter, shortening and sugars until fluffy and increased in volume. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time; beat until well combined. Add milk.
Sift in dry ingredients a little a time, mixing slowly.
Fold in chocolate chunks and nuts with a spatula as gently as possible.
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. It might help to spray your spoon with Pam or occasionally wet it--it's very sticky. Wet or Pam your fingers and gently press down dough to flatten slightly. Batter should be dropped about 3" apart--it can spread like crazy if its too warm.
Bake for 10-12 minutes--cookies should look slightly underdone. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
A Few Notes:
I usually split the dough before folding in the chocolate chunks and nuts and sift in 1/3 cup of cocoa to make a half batch of these in a chocolate variety.
You can use either all butter or all shortening--I've just found that a split between the two gives a better finished cookie. All butter tends to spread out more when baking and all shortening seems a little too crumbly to me.
Use the chocolate of your choice--around here the best I've found in grocery stores is the Ghiradelli's--it chops easily into nice chunks. Other baking chocolates I've found make curls and shred. The cookies are still tasty--but there's just something about seeing huge chunks of chocolate and nuts.
Since the recipe calls for baking soda as a leavener I prefer buttermilk--it reacts with the soda and gives a lighter texture than sweet milk does. It also negates a little bit of the alkaline taste.
If you don't want to deal with such a wet dough (or you want a chewier cookie consistency) refrigerate the dough for about 20-30 minutes before baking.
Parchment paper is a gift from god. Due to the amount of chocolate in the cookies the paper makes a much easier cleanup than using a bare pan does. It also helps minimize spreading.
Makes about 40 cookies.
I went shopping and ran errands with my mama this morning. Biiiiiiig mistake. I should've known it would be a madhouse--tomorrow is mother's day, it's sunny and warm out, next week is the local Strawberry Festival--but did I really think of all that before I said: "Hey you want to go to the nursery and run errands?" No, no, I did not. Dammit.
I'm a misanthrope. I know it. I own it. I'm cool with it. I try to stay out of other people's way when I shop--it's only polite. I don't know what's more irksome--the woman at Lowe's with the two out of control tweens who were running up into checkout aisles and throwing shit from her basket (one had the charming habit of putting a rubbermaid-esque storage tub on his head, then walking around like a defective robot, banging into other shoppers); the dude from Kentucky with the white Lexus that almost hit my 67 year old mother in the Wal-Mart crosswalk (I gave him the finger and cussed him out); or the general people who shouldn't be allowed to operate a shopping cart because they seem unable to walk and push at the same goddamned time. I know that there's a lot of stuff on the shelves--I know options are scary and overwhelming, that the sheer capitalist bounty of Wal-Mart is akin to a spiritual experience--but do you need to park your cart in the middle of the aisle and stand between it and the shelving moving back and forth muttering to yourself?
Ach. Time to go out and dig in the dirt and plant some of my purchases.
Friday, May 11, 2007
The Habit of Being was the first epistolary collection I really read simply for the pleasure of reading and it turned me on to searching out the available letters and diaries of many of my favorite writers and artists. If you've not read it yet--do it. She's damned good (misspellings and all.) I hope these just-released letters will be included in future editions or made available on their own.
Single shoes on the berms and verges
of roadways and off-ramps. Rusty
armature of a pram in a pasture
doll house in the rainy north-bound lane.
The left wing of a heron, adhered
to the macadam, catching
the shear of passing cars, waving
beside the cane field. Hair bands,
receipts, thanks for shopping come
again! bags in the rumble strips and ditches.
The carcasses, the cherished,
The black snake in the middle of its dying:
long back ground open, whipping
its sharp head over itself:
as if frenzy was a suture.
Sometimes you stop the car—
you can’t help it—you have to see.
Faced with the question so simply put makes me realize that most of what I've wanted to write, most of what I've attempted to write has, in one way or another, failed or become something else entirely than I'd intended. The second sort of poem is its own pleasure...its own reward...I've gotten to a place I didn't expect, that I didn't account for, a sort of subconcious radar ping. The other sort-- the failures, the stillborns, the congenitally deformed ones are at best instructive. I've learned from them; held onto them; saved them for use later in some future frankenpoem.
I cherish those moments when I see something and get a poem. It's like the universe is giving me a little present. I remember the moment of insight/inspiration better than I remember drafting the poem itself. My two best poems are the second unexpected sort. There was the flash of insight, the desperate need to chronicle and explore those moments. One took 10 years to write--a simple poem about being shaved by another person--and went through god knows how many versions, revisions, forms and permutations that I honestly wondered if I ever would get it right, get it down, get it out of my system so I could go on to the next thing. The other poem--an elegy for my grandfather, witnessing his dying--was much more compressed in terms of writing time. Essentially that poem was there from the first draft--everything that is in its current state was there-- and a steady stream of revisions over a year or so got it to its final place. They have become my gold standard for successful poems--by whatever vagary of application, effort, skill or luck, they inhabit and enact their moments. They've also been the hardest to get past in terms of technique and style. I'm always leary of mannerism; being too dependent on one set of tricks; of becoming fossilized and a caricature. I don't want to write the same poem(s) repeatedly.
The new challenge for the summer is to take these old poems that are not so successful and revisit them--try to find a way to get back in and blow them up and put them back together in a way that feels vital and necessary. To get them under my skin and treat them like a fever.
Keith addresses the idea of seeing our own mortality in the deaths of animals. I responded in a comment that I didn't think it was necessarily true in my case: I grew up on a farm, we raised livestock for food; my cats and dogs have all practiced predation on various varmints. But now, I'm wondering. I've got a lot of dead animals showing up in poems--maybe I'm fooling myself.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Fresh from the Baltimore Sun.
Check the comments...there's your 28% Mr. Bush. Jeebus. I've heard toy dogs yip and bark that were less shrill.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I don't want to watch MILFS and barely legal girls get wild.
I don't want to refinance my mortage.
I don't want viagra or cialis.
I don't want the three grey hairs I found growing in my bangs this morning.
I also found these fertilizer spikes for shrubs and flowering bushes--they were cheap. They look like a cross between dog biscuits and suppositories. I need to do something, my azaleas look like ass. I hate broadcasting fertilizer by hand. I always end up scorching the leaves.
Forgot to get canned cat food and the new Bjork album while shopping. The cats are pissy. I'm pissy. But a woman at Wal-Mart was very sweet, I only had 3 items and she let me cut in front, that improved my mood until I got into traffic.
I hadn't been bowling for months and went last night with my friend Michael. I bowled a lot better than I expected--it's probably been about 5 months since we last went. I need to learn to throw a hook, I've just never really bothered trying. We gorged on bowling alley food. It was the best cheeseburger I've had in my life.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Pay attention, talk to no one unless
you are buying food or borrowing a book.
Or asking for directions to the border,
or the canyon, or the river with a pool.
Always formal. Poor with poor.
It's not the same here. No Greek ruins.
No fragment with legs of walking horses
painted delicately on it. No part
of a lion on bits of a glazed vase.
Like a code to tell of how the world they knew
would be destroyed. Here there is no need.
The rabbit's groin is ripped open
on the road. When you find a bird's wing
there is a flattened small bird attached.
A ranch at evening, the sun leaving,
antelope standing and the other birds
flying. All of it meaning the same thing.
I finally saw the Beyonce & Shakira video. Amazing how effortless it seems for Shakira to be sexy and in control of her own body. Beyonce just worked so hard. Even with a wind machine blowing her to hell and back she didn't pull it off. If she screws like she dances I pity Jay Z--especially if that's her "sexy" face. I need the Shakira album.
At some point I fell asleep. Dreamed (twice !) about being at a prom-like function. I wasn't in formal wear but a blazer, a baggy madras plaid shirt, slacks and (big gay inhale) sandals! I kept running into the daughter of a former coworker and said the same thing each time: "I haven't seen you in ages." She had on too much eyeliner (which only accentuates her lazy eye) and a fuschia sequined gown with assymetrical shoulders. The left shoulder was a mass of dyed-to-match maribou and feathers. It resembled nothing so much as tumorous cotton candy.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
The bunny survived the night, so he/she/it has been released. Of course, as Brian pointed out, this is probably in vain--if the cats want to eat him, they will.
Friday, May 4, 2007
I reek. I'm sweaty. I got a few hundred pounds of sod moved and then replaced it with a few hundred pounds of sand, peat hummus, cow manure and dirt (all in a 1:1 ratio). It's raked and aerated and ready for planting. All told I think I've moved half a ton of material. My back however is ready for a couple of Extra Strength Tylenol. The planting can wait til tomorrow. I need to rejigger my map and plotting.
Fletcher, lord love him kept me company while I worked and was kind enough to bring me a not-dead-yet bunny. I used Gluck's "we do not experience will in this manner" on him. He's not nearly so impressed with that line as I am. I got the rabbit away from him and it's in a secure location. Its prospects as of now are dubious.
I resent the havoc the rabbits, the chipmunks, the moles and their kind do to the garden. This is the first time he brought one that wasn't expired. It's so small and I'm torn.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Ladies can replace that monthly period with an exclamation mark as feminine hygiene goes lethal with The Pink Stinger, a taser/stun gun creatively disguised as a tampon...except for the buttons, prods and high voltage. This weapon of mass absorption aims to target a niche market consumer, that being the tampon wielding women who desire private and discreet security in a friendly familiar package.
The tampon taser/stun gun is the latest in portable and personal security systems. The beauty of this taser/stun gun, aptly named The Pink Stinger, is its ingenious design and ability to be concealed nicely and unassumingly into any purse for ultimate stealth. The taser's gentle glide zapplicator easily fits in the palm of your hand for incredible comfort and protection and ready for honorable discharge at a moments notice. In addition, its fresh floral scent helps eliminate the smell of fear, not just cover it up.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
All Greece hates
the still eyes in the white face,
the lustre as of olives
where she stands,
and the white hands.
All Greece reviles
the wan face when she smiles,
hating it deeper still
when it grows wan and white,
remembering past enchantments
and past ills.
Greece sees, unmoved,
God's daughter, born of love,
the beauty of cool feet
and slenderest knees,
could love indeed the maid,
only if she were laid,
white ash amid funereal cypresses.
William Carlos Williams
Her body is not so white as
anemone petals nor so smooth - nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand's span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over--