Saturday, May 30, 2009

One of These Dogs is Not Like the Other

Dateline: 6:30 a.m., Friday, May 29th, 2009, Tijeras New Mexico. Dog A and Dog B are on their daily morning walk through the forest. Suddenly, Dog A's prey instinct is triggered by the flash of something moving rapidly through the brush. Dog B, equally prey-driven, is alerted by Dog A's interest, and the chase is on, with both dogs going hell-bent-for-leather after the flashing critter.

Within five minutes, Dog B is back by owner's side, tongue lolling, tail wagging. Clean-smelling.

Dog A returns another couple minutes later, stinking to high heaven.

Can you tell me, which is Dog A, who wouldn't know a learning curve if it looped up and bit said dog in the butt, and which is Dog B who, it seems, is turning out to be the one we're going to have to send to Harvard?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Life Isn't the Only Thing That Persists

I’m sorry; the mistake I made in my last post was including the Monty Python video, which detracted from my original question. Which is simply this: why do none of today's environmentalists deal with the question of human (over)population? You would think that this issue would be central to their argument that we are in such an environmental mess because of our inability to think long term about the impact our actions have on the planet.

While I’m not sure I buy into the “myth” of overpopulation, neither do I believe it takes a rocket scientist or a mathematical genius to see the potential for trouble if humans (or any creature for that matter) continue to expand their numbers within a limited space and with access to limited resources.

Aunty cited a Harvard study that postulates the ability of the earth to support 40 billion humans. Support, okay, maybe. But in what way? Supports, after all, is a very different word from thrives. And I can't help but wonder, with those kinds of numbers, if even more Draconian government controls would need to be in place to manage us all?

So again, why are the environmentalists mute on the issue of population “control” when they seek to control everything else we humans do in relation to Mother Earth? Why change a light bulb and drive a Prius but not use a condom or get a vasectomy?

Is it because human reproductive rights are too sacred a cow even for these busybodies? Is it because they cannot find a rational way to challenge the fundamentalists’ passion regarding this issue? Or could it just possibly be that they are silent because they are not really interested in preserving the earth for human use, but in eliminating our species entirely from the equation?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And Another Thing . . .

Speaking to Gnome's comment on my last post about multi-generational 15 year old mothers: Notice how the so-called "environmentalists" won't touch the population issue with a ten foot pole? Why is that, I wonder?

Discuss . . .

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Cretins Cloning and Feeding

Question: If we can legislate morality; if we can legislate economic activity; if we can legislate 'til we're blue in the face every gosh darn, ding dang thing that springs up as a result of human existence and interaction then why, oh why, can we not have an I.Q. requirement for flying on an airplane?


Did y'all see this on the news this morning?

Grandmother Paralyzed By Turbulence

I may not know much about the physics of air flight, but I do know this: When even the flight attendants aren't up and about serving their warm soda and stale peanuts, you for damn sure better keep your happy ass glued and buckled in your seat until the captain gives you the okey dokey. Capisci?

What an idiot. Sometimes, stupid is just stupid, an accident is just an accident, and incidents are beyond our ability to control, legislate, or adjudicate.

And, finally, why "grandmother"? Why not "Woman Paralyzed by Turbulence"? Does being a grandmother give this lady any special status in the eyes of the law? Does she deserve some extra special sympathy just because she's managed to pass along her genetics? Even though, by all accounts, she seems to have done so pretty incompetently?

Talk about media "bias."

And this is only Monday, Party People.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What I'm Not Buying This Weekend

I don't know if it's a good sign or a bad one when you can't even find a box of handgun ammo at a Cabela's outside of Dallas, Texas. But I'm thinking: good.

"Who are the militia, if they be not the people of this country? I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now the whole people."
– George Mason

"The great object is, that every man be armed." – Patrick Henry

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cash, Ay?

If by some chance St. Peter says nyet to me entering heaven for an eternity of crap celebrity gossip magazine reading and never ending margaritas served by Johnny Depp (but JD circa Blow and not that dumb ass pirate movie)?

Then hell will be the Devil forcing me to wear Cachè for all eternity.

Moi's Fashion Tip #726: Life's only a beach, Party People, if you're actually VACATIONING there.

This post brought to you by the recent snark attack going on at War of the Nuts. Enter at your own risk.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I've Tried Yoga But I Find Stress Less Boring

These past couple weeks I've been feeling like a slowly unraveling sweater. And not something in a fine cashmere knit by Dolce and Gabbana, either. Or even a serviceable merino wool by J. Crew. No. More like something of a dubiously synthetic fabric that I once nicked from my boyfriend's stash of Chess King pullovers on a stormy winter's night in 1987 pre a post-finals pub crawl because:

A. I was too college student skint to own a proper coat.

B. I believed that wearing my boyfriend's clothing was a totally cool way to, like, subtly but undeniably broadcast the fact of our way bitchin' union, only without the expense of a friendship ring or the pain of a tattoo. 

Only, instead of marking us as a couple, it marked me as a total dork, never mind the tights and cropped Pat Benatar boots to go with.


I'll spare you the gory details about my recent stress except to say that other than parent/child relationships, I don't believe that blood ties should necessarily trump consciously chosen relationships, especially when those ties are bound with a bat shit crazy dynamic. 

Luckily, I do have my limits. I may beat my head against the wall until it bruises, but when I start seeing skull, when I no longer have control over what I am able to give and what someone sucks out of me without permission, when the crisp line that separates my calm interior from the whirlwind exterior devolves into a murky watercolor wash, that's when I step off the bat shit crazy train.

All the better to shake my head at someone who has obviously chosen to ride it to the very end of the line:

What. The. Fork.

But not the only example of the truly, truly awful fashion being paraded around at this year's Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute fundraiser. Each year, the creme de la creme of the fashion and celebrity world gather together to raise money for the Institute but only end up proving in increasingly outlandish ways that money may make the world go 'round but it can't buy good taste. 

Irony much? 

Mais, oui!

Especially when it comes to perennial event hostess, Anna Wintour, editor in chief of American Vogue magazine. Now, this is a woman who has become so universally disliked that if the mental arrows that are shot her way on a regular basis suddenly manifested as real, she'd drop like a lacerated Spartan, only without the fab six pack abs and way cool lighting. "Fashionistas! Today I die without my Spanx!"

So you'd think she'd be extra, extra careful not to draw any more negative attention to herself, right? 

Uh. Apparently, in a galaxy far, far way? Princess Leia has decided to try her hand at fashion design.

That was last year. This year, Anna stuck closer to home. Well, to Chanel. But I'll be damned if I can figure out what's going on here. Me no speaky Bat Shit Crazy Dress Design, either.

You know what this reminds me of? One of those pastel colored, faux Swiss Chalet-style homes you find in certain areas of Middle America suburbia. The ones with window frames that mimic peaked roofs and eaves made from long strips of loopy, scallop-shaped wooden cutouts, resulting in a kind of creepy dollhouse come to adult-sized life. At any moment now, this photo is going to start yodeling.

At least she didn't pull a Scarlett O'Hara and make her dress out of the hotel drapes, like these two bims. 

And just when I was beginning to like Vicky B., too. But Kate? Never. Seems like every photo I see of her out and about, regardless of how up or down she's dressed, she still manages to look like she needs a good wash. 

But the worst offender?

Would it be tacky of me to snag this opportunity to make what I know, I know, is a very un-P.C. comment about Chris Brown slapping even the fashion sense outta the girl? Yes? No? Okay, how about: Rihanna, honey, snap to the fact that you're beautiful enough to break flash bulbs, date non-psychotic men, and dress like a girl rather than prom date to Ronald McDonald gone goth.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What I'm Not Buying This Weekend

Although my passion for bling will never match my passion for shoes, I do possess a rather large Jones for Indian (Native American) jewelry. Growing up, we lived about 30 miles east of the Navajo Reservation at Torreon. Which meant that for much of my early childhood, my mom traded food, trinkets, books, and friendship with the local Navajos in exchange for their jewelry and rugs. She did the pawn shop thing, too. The result is that I inherited not only some mighty fine things, but also her savvy for identifying high quality, distinctive Native American arts and crafts. Most of which is now way beyond my price range.

Like this Kirk Smith cluster bracelet. Be. Still. Moi's heart.

Okay, to be fair, I own a Kirk Smith cluster bracelet.
It looks like this one.

I was lucky enough to purchase it about five years ago at Skip Maisel's in downtown Albuquerque for a fraction of what these now go for. Kirk must have been out of fashion at the time. Now he's back in. Go figure.

But the red one above? That's about as special a bracelet as I've seen in years. Sure, life will go on without it. It has to, because my bank account won't go on with it. That red bracelet goes for about $1,200 smackers, Party People.

And you know what? I'm glad. For too many years, our Native peoples haven't been taken seriously as the artists they are. But they have been taken for granted. Pawn shop and gallery owners alike would purchase their wares for a song and mark them up outrageously for the tourists. Today, thanks to organizations like the Indian Arts and Crafts Association, these artisans are more in control of their work and receive fair compensation in both the wholesale and retail markets.

Still, I dodged quite the bullet this week, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cooking is as Cooking Does: Chef Troll's Culinary THROWDOWN

Moi's Official Entry to Chef Troll's Culinary Throwdown:

* * *

Those of you who kept up with last season’s Top Chef may remember that one of the later challenges facing the contestants was to make a guest judge’s last meal. Which got me thinking: with what would I choose to stuff myself silly during my last night on earth?

Would it be something native, whipped up by my hometown homies, Bruno and Hazel Herrera, owner/operators of what is arguably the best New Mexican restaurant in the universe?

Or something more rarified, like a mound of pate fois gras and . . . well. What more do you need if you have a mound o’ pate? Except maybe a big ol’ block of Limburger just to, you know, really push the PC envelope.

How about my favorite pasta dish, a perfectly cooked spaghetti carbonara, which, while oh-so-easy to mess up, is pretty much culinary heaven rolled on a fork when you get it right.

Or should I just go out with a real bang, like as many Top Pot donuts that a harried Fed Ex worker could Next Day Air, because hell, I’ll be dead in the morning so who’s worried about the cholesterol?

Or would it be one of my favorite southern dishes, like a heaped high sauce pan full of BBQ shrimp, accompanied by a hunk of my favorite French homie’s el perfecto baguette, real European butter, and a glass of perfectly chilled Kiwi-produced Sauvignon Blanc?

The first time I ate BBQ shrimp I was on my first dinner date with S.B., who assured me it was about the best thing to come out of his native state of Louisiana. He was right. I was instantly addicted and if it’s on a menu, I’ll order it. To the exclusion of just about everything else, except maybe a fried oyster po’boy. Then again, I’ve been known to aw hell, just go ahead and order both, I'll negotiate with my arteries later.

I also make the dish myself, but not often, because it’s one of those apply directly to thighs, do no pass go, do not get up the next day and think you can run it off, no siree, these five pounds are here for at least another month kinds of dishes.

In other words: sinfully good. If sex were a dish, it would be BBQ shrimp. Just one gal's opinion, sure, but I'm often right about these things and you know it.

Here’s how I do it:

Moi's BBQ Shrimp for Two
(double or quadruple if you’re feeding more folks)

1 one-pound stick of butter, softened
1 T. Hungarian paprika
1 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. ground black pepper
2 t. ground sea salt
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup of high quality virgin olive oil
Juice of two lemons
2 bay leaves
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
Ten shakes of Tabasco sauce
1 pound fresh shrimp, heads and shells still attached if possible (if no heads, then leave shells on)
3 green onions or 1 T fresh chives, chopped
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Put softened butter in a bowl and with a fork mix in paprika, cayenne, black pepper, salt, thyme, basil, oregano, and garlic. Set aside. (If possible, do this up to a day ahead of time, store in the refrigerator, and bring out to soften about an hour before cooking.)

Run shrimp under cold water and drain thoroughly. In a large skillet set on medium heat, melt the butter/spice/herb mixture. When fully melted and just starting to bubble (do NOT let the butter brown), add shrimp and fry for five minutes until they start to turn pink. Add olive oil, juice of two lemons, bay leaves, and Worcestershire sauce. Turn heat up until you achieve a rapid boil and cook shrimp another 5 to 7 minutes. It’s important to cook at this level so that the peels add their flavor to the sauce and the sauce makes its way under the shells. Just be careful not to overcook.

Pull from the heat and sprinkle with green onions (or chives) and chopped parsley. Serve immediately with fresh hunks of French bread for dipping, letting your guests scoop out the shrimp and sauce into individual bowls. Or if it’s just the two of you, do the Nietzsche thing and dip straight out of the pan – less to clean up.

P.S. Part of the challenge was to put your own spin on a traditional southern dish and post it by today, May 13. I posted in time, but outside of roasting some poblanos or Big Jims and tossing them, in, you can't really "spin" BBQ Shrimp. Unless drinking wine instead of beer with the dish counts.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mute Monday: Spirit

All Chickens Go to Heaven

The first time Miss Mean Dovey Cooledge dropped by Moi's Blob to leave one of her trademark bossy ass comments, I didn't quite know what to make of her. Friend or foe? Bird brain or wise ol' hen? But over the past year or so, I came to love her. If from a respectful distance. Dovey was her own bird for sure, and, like her human caretaker, wasn't afraid to ruffle a few feathers and say what was on her mind. She didn't take scheisse from no one and that's an admirable trait in any species.

Now it looks like Miss Dovey, who for many years split her time between urban Atlanta and the North Georgia woods, has been called to her final home. I'm sure she's negotiating the terms of her stay as I write this. An eternity of meal worms? A nesting spot on top of the television? A refreshing bath twice a day? Whatever they are, I'm betting Dovey will most certainly get her way. Roost in peace, Miss Dovey.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What I'm Not Buying This Weekend

I'm serious. Falling Water is one of the few buildings in the world that can actually make me cry just from looking at a photograph, it's that beautiful, that perfect a union of man and nature, form and function, site and structure.

At one point a few years ago, Falling Water was up for sale. There was talk that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were interested in it, but then the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy stepped in with a butt load of funds and a mission to preserve, maintain, and make this masterpiece available for public education and appreciation. Thus saving one of the greatest buildings ever constructed from the wrath of sticky-fingered sproglodites and ensuring my retirement fund remain intact (I would have had to rob a few banks, too).

So, there's going to be a lot I'm not buying this, and upcoming, weekends, because Falling Water is now open to the public for tours. I do believe I'll have to make the pilgrimage.

This weekend's savings? About a gazillion dollars.

Log onto the Conservancy's way cool Web site to learn more:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Baby's Got Back

One of the things I love best about spring is that the activity at my bird feeders and baths increases ten fold. Starting in February and lasting until fall, my yard suddenly becomes party hearty central for close to a dozen different species, from year round residents to those just passing through to the plain ol' lost ("I knew I shoulda taken a left turn at Albuquerque," said the buff-breasted flycatcher.)

Which can be a problem for our year round denizens, who, quite frankly, are a lil' pissy about sharing. Like our population of pine siskin, a smallish species of finch that hangs out in the trees on our property pretty much year round, making their nests in the taller of the piñon trees. These dudes love to engage the house finches in nasty turf wars, both at the stand feeders and the thistle tubes.

So, we're pretty familiar with adult pine siskins. Which is why, one afternoon last week when we were happy houring it out on the back patio, S.B. nodded his head towards the feeder and said, "That bird ain't right."

I followed his gaze and spotted this little dude (dudette?) hanging out in the feeder's catch bin. It looked like a pine siskin but then again, it didn't. It had the yellow tipped wings of the species, but also the downy feathers of a newbie bird. And, well it was, um, chubbier than the others of its kind. And there appeared to be something wrong with its eyes.

"Well of course there's something wrong with its eyes," said S.B. "He's like Cartman from Southpark. He's eaten himself into a stupor."

It did appear that Cartman was gobbling seed at a furious rate. Other birds were flying in and out, squawking up a storm, but he wasn't budging from his single minded task to eat every single sunflower seed he could get his beak on. Another question: if he was booted from the nest, how did he fly himself over here?

So while we waited to see if Cartman would, in fact, eventually get himself back up off the ground, we speculated about the events that might have led to his abandonment.

"Maybe his mom and dad kicked him out of the nest because, you know, he's not right?" said S.B. "Now he's got to fend for himself?"

"Or maybe his parents died," I offered.

We discussed everything from a vicious hawk attack to poison to a child's errant aim with a bb gun.

But we were stopped by a motion at the feeder. Cartman was no longer eating. Instead, he was hopping around unsteadily while at the same time rustling his wing feathers. We watched, hopefully, as he hopped to the edge of the feeder in what looked like preparation for lift off. It didn't end up being the most graceful of flights – more C-130 than Gulf Stream – and it didn't last long – he barely made a low hanging branch on a nearby piñon – but he did it. Then he flew back again. And commenced to stuffing his face.

Finally, another of his kind showed up. Was this his mommy? His daddy? Or a neighboring adult patiently waiting for him to finish up so he could get his share. We never found out. We took our attention off the feeder for a few minutes and when we looked back, both birds were gone.

Cartman, wherever you are, I hope you make it to full fledged bird. And remember, you're not fat. You're just big boned.