Git yer gay on!

28 06 2009

Any parade that begins with Dykes on Bikes can’t be bad, can it?

She was cute, but turned her head at the wrong moment:

T. scoped out a spot under a tree near Christopher and Bleeker, and she, E., N., T., T., and I shifted on and off the tree-protector stand and tried to catch whatever breeze deigned to blow our way.

At one point, near the front of the parade, there was an, oh, 10-15 minute break while. . . something was (not) going up further on. While I groused whether this was a parade or a sit-in these 99 luft (and whatever else is German for the rest of the colors) ballons kept us company:

Soon, enough, the parade re-upped, with the support of our officers in (pink and) blue:

Of course, this was a gay pride parade, which meant queens:


And niiiiice young men in underwear:

(Be glad I cropped out the guy with bare ass. Not good.)

And, of course, that is gay pride means that this is still (still!) a question:

Overall, it was nice. I’m not really a parade person, but there are worse things than hanging out with T., E., and N. (T. & T. booked at some point) on a warm Sunday afternoon in the Village.

One final note: There was a lot of Michael Jackson music. A lot. The sweetest moment, however, may have been when one group played Whitney Houston’s ‘I wanna dance with somebody,’ and the whole crowd sang along. As the float moved down Christopher, all you could hear was us singing ‘I wanna dance/with somebody who loves me.’


Yeah, I’ll give you a smile. . .

25 06 2009

From an article posted at the Canadian Broadcasting Association:

Edmonton-Calder Conservative MLA Doug Elniski apologized late Monday afternoon for controversial comments that he posted on his blog, and insisted that he is not sexist.

Elniski posted the text of a speech on June 13 that he said he gives to junior high school students at Grade 9 graduation ceremonies.

Part of the posting included advice to girls saying, “Ladies, always smile when you walk into a room, there is nothing a man wants less than a woman scowling because he thinks he is going to get s–t for something and has no idea what.”

It continues, “Men are attracted to smiles, so smile, don’t give me that ‘treated equal’ stuff. If you want Equal, it comes in little packages at Starbucks.”

Elniski’s blog was taken down on Monday afternoon.

(Hat tip: Feministing)

Mmmmm, cheeeeese

23 06 2009

A follow up: Before I implemented my Fordist approach to lunch production, I did make a stove-top version of the mushroom/cheese/tortilla thingamajig.

It’s similar to the, um, m/c/t thingamajig, but good to eat right then and there!

For a single serving, I simply saute mushrooms & peppers (no tofu), season, then scoop onto mustard-smeared and cheese-strewn tortilla, roll, then return to pan (low heat), to allow cheese to melt and produce a nice, crispy exterior (I flip the roll when one side is golden; I also flatten it—because that’s how I roll [sorry, couldn’t resist]—but it’s your lunch: do what you like).

I eat eat it by hand, but do note that  juice usually drips out of end. Oh, and I do use hand-rolled tortillas for the EatRightNow version—I do notice the difference.

Other cheese-tortilla variations:

If I want to be neat, I combine a sharp cheddar and decent mozzarella cheese on an olive oil-smeared tortilla, add salt & pepper, fold into neat package, and toast on stove top (low heat) flipping once.

Sometimes I add a thin slice of tofu; sometimes I smear tortilla w/pesto; sometimes I add marinara sauce internally; sometimes I use marinara sauce as a dip.

If I want to be messy, I simply turn this all into a quesadilla, smashing the torts as flat as possible and causing cheese to ooze out of the sides and bubble into a crispy golden deliciousness.

Hot cheese and tortillas. You really can’t go wrong.

Feeeeeed me!

23 06 2009

Comin’ home on the train tonight, I had a coupla’ ideas for a blog post.

Got home, pooft, gone.

Still, here’s something I can contribute: Lunch!

I don’t really enjoy cooking, but as a cheap bastid, I prefer to bring my lunch to work rather than eat out. Thus, the cheese-and-mushroom wrap, easy to make a bunch ahead of time, handles freezing-and-thawing well, and, post-thaw, ready in 2 1/2-to-4 quick nuker* minutes!

  • 2 packages mushrooms (I buy pre-cut, since I’m too lazy to chop ’em up, but if you like slicing fungi, go for the whole ones; alternatively, you could use an egg slicer.)
  • Approx half a package of firm tofu, sliced into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 large fresh hot pepper, or generous tsp of hot pepper flakes
  • Approx 2 cups cheese, coarsely grated
  • tortillas
  • spicy brown mustard
  • salt
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat oil in large skillet, along with pepper flakes. (If using fresh chilis, wait until oil is hot to add).

When oil is hot, add chilis, mushrooms, and tofu. Season liberally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally.

While mushrooms and tofu are cooking, grate cheese.

Prepare tortillas: spread mustard liberally around tortilla, then add the desired amount of cheese in middle of tortilla.

When the liquid has evaporated or nearly evaporated from the skillet, the mushrooms & tofu are done. Remove from heat.

Ladle mushroom/tofu mix over cheese in center of tortilla. Add more cheese to top, then fold and roll tortilla.** Repeat until shroom/tofu mix gone. (If using a medium sized tortilla, this should yield about 9 wraps. Burritos. Whatever.)

Wrap each rolled tortilla in plastic (works better than waxed paper to keep stuffed tortillas together). Double bag and toss in freezer.

If having for lunch, remove 1 or 2 from freezer the night before to thaw in fridge. Remove plastic, set on decent microwave-proof plate (i.e., not styrofoam or any sort of material which will melt upon contact with hot cheese), cover with waxed paper or paper towel (to keep tortilla from drying out) and nuke* on high 2 1/2 to 4 minutes (depending upon strength of microwave). Do note that it is highly likely the mushroom roll will at least partly come apart, so make sure you have a big enough plate.

Oh, and you’ll need a fork for this baby.

*If you don’t have a microwave, reheat on stovetop, in a small covered saucepan, on low-to-med-low heat. The point is to give the innards a chance to heat through before you burn the tortilla.

**Handy roll technique: fold tortilla in half over shroom/tofu/cheese mix, then pull top half toward you with fingers. Roll, either folding in sides as you roll or, if you have space for another roll, after the first one. Set aside, fold down. Or just go to Chipotle and watch how they roll their humungous burritos—same idea.

A few additional points:

  • I buy the cheap button shrooms because they’re, well, cheap. And in this dish, I prefer them to the so-called ‘baby bella’ shrooms.
  • Similarly, I forgo the more expensive hand-rolled tortillas in favor of regular ones—since they’ll be frozen, you won’t really notice the difference, anyway.
  • That said, you will know the difference if you use fresh tortillas over those that have been sitting around in your fridge for a coupla’ weeks: fresh tortillas roll soooo much easier.
  • And, continuing the cheap/frozen theme, no need to use expensive cheese. I like a sharp or extra sharp cheddar, but monterey jack, brick, colby, or any other good melty cheese will work. (I’m not a fan of American cheese product, but hey, if that’s your thing. . . .)
  • Ditto with the mustard: save the grey poupon for your fresh sandwiches.
  • Since I commute near a Trader Joe’s, I use their sliced button mushrooms, firm tofu, and regular tortillas. (I also buy my cheese there.) Why? Cheap. If I could find something cheap and more local, that’s what I’d go with, but in the meantime, this works.
  • Finally, it’s painfully obvious that you can swap ingredients in or out as you see fit. I like spicy mustard and the kick from the peppers; if you don’t, then leave them out.

As I mentioned, I’m not really a big cook, so I like that in about an hour I can prepare a bunch of meals, to be eaten over the course of a week or a month. And, as a bonus, these wraps/burritos/rolls actually taste better eaten the next day or after having been frozen & thawed than if eaten that day. I don’t know if the flavors get a chance to meld or something funky happens in the cold dark, but there it is.

And there it is. Relatively fast, relatively cheap, relatively hard to mess up, and pretty darned tasty.

Good eatin’!

Playmate, come out and play with me

19 06 2009

There will be no porn in this post. It’s about cats (NOT pussies). Got it?

It’s been about 2 months since Chelsea died, and while I think about getting a kitten, it’s more an abstract than real thought.

I have almost a week off between summer teaching sessions at the beginning of July, and toyed with the idea of getting a kitten then. I’ll be home; I’ll have time; I’ll be able to referee between kitten and Bean.

But I’m not ready. And I don’t know if Bean is ready.

Bean has never been an ‘only’ cat. Sweet Pea was three years old when I picked up the second legume, and thus grew up living with another cat and me. Now the other cat is gone and Bean is, I dunno, fine and needy and lonely but really, mostly fine.

She gets a lot of attention from me, which she doesn’t seem to mind. We’ve established a new routine, just the two of us, and it seems to be working. I think she gets a little bored being the only one of her kind around here, but, you know: projecting, anthropomorphizing, etc.

I know she’d hate the kitten. Hate it. Hissing and backing away and hissing some more and batting at the tiny critter whenever it came near.

It’s what Chelsea did to her.

But Chelsea and Bean also curled up together and tussled and chased each other and double-teamed me when they heard me crack open a can of wet cat food. That day I took Chelsea to the vet, I leaned her over Bean, to let Bean sniff her, one last time. Bean licked her head.

Instinct? Habit? I don’t know. It felt like good bye.

And, as I told lesleykim in a comment to another post, as hard as it was coming home without Chelsea, I don’t know that I could have handled coming home to a feline-less apartment.

So I want a kitten for Bean, and for me. Just not yet.

Power to the people

15 06 2009

The extreme form of power is All against One, the extreme form of violence is One against All. —Hannah Arendt

The events in Iran thrill, in every sense of the word: the demands for liberation, the fear of the reaction, the unpredictability, and as the most basic argument for a notion that power is about politics—the public gathering of citizens—and that violence is the antithesis of power, that it scatters the public and as such, eliminates power.

Violence: Witness the crowds literally scatter as the motorcycle cops accelerate into them, their riders swinging batons at anyone near.

Power: Watch the crowd assert itself against the agents of the state, pushing back against the police and security forces, as when those around a BBC reporter kept a security agent from interfering with his broadcast.

Unfortunately, as Arendt knew, politics was bound up in what she termed the ‘frailty of human affairs’, such that Wherever people gather together, [political space] is potentially there, but only potentially, not necessarily, and not forever. Power is evanescent, ‘not an unchangeable, measureable, and reliable entity,’ but one utterly dependent upon the presence of others, a presence which can be dissipated by apathy, more urgent needs, and, of course, weapons.

But while violence can destroy power, it can never become a substitute for it.

Ahmadinejad and the Iranian security apparatus may succeed in dispersing these crowds, in denying these bodies politic their destabilizing (not least because of their unpredictability) potentialities, but in so doing will have condemned themselves:

[From the destruction of power] results the by no means infrequent political combination of force and powerlessness, . . . In historical experience and traditional theory, this combination. . . is known as tyranny, and the time-honored fear of this form of government is not exclusively inspired by its cruelty. . . but by the impotence and futility to which it condemns the rulers as well as the ruled.

Yes, there is always the concern about mob rule, but as the photos [hat tip: Daily Dish] and videos of protesters aiding injured policemen attest, the ‘mob’ in Iran are the ones wearing the uniforms—or the be-robed men directed the men in uniform.

Who knows how this will end: the beauty of Arendtian politics is inseparable from its terror, the potentiality from its frailty.

But still! To witness what we can do! The promise. . . !

Violence cancels politics. . .

14 06 2009

. . . and politics cancels violence.

It’s a basic Arendtian equation.

See what’s happening in Iran: check out Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Daily Dish.

I was never a huge fan of Sullivan’s, especially in his brash I-know-how-to-be-an-America-better-than-you-do phase, but in these past few years he’s been chastened by life—and become a much more interesting thinker as a result.

More to the point, for this post, is that he’s been posting as fast as he can on the situation in Iran, throwing up amazing photos (here, among others) and videos (here, and here, among others)  of street protests, as well as a variety of commentary on the elections. The urgency of the posts matches that of the activity; the Times’s coverage is pallid, by comparison.

Fascinating, heartbreaking, and breathtaking. Go. Read it all.

Out of the corner of my eye

10 06 2009

I saw Chelsea on the train today.

There she was, sleeping on a towel in that corner near the end of the car with FatCat, when she woke and stretched and sauntered over to me.

What? There is no corner near the end of the car? Ah.

Did I mention I had been dozing? And that in non-dreamland she would have hated the lurch and screech of the train?

It was good seeing her, though.

Talkin’ at the Texaco

8 06 2009

To SmallTown and back in 48 fun-filled hours! Whoo-hoo!

It wasn’t bad, actually, and another 12 or even 24 more hours would not have been the worst thing.

Still, all that quiet was unnerving. Fucking BIRDS woke me in the morning!

That’s not right.

Paying the same amount for a pitcher of beer that I would pay for a pint, well, that IS something New York could learn from SmallTown.

Saw family, saw friends, laughed a lot.

Came out as bi to half my friends. Would have come out to them all, but, mm, timing. Besides, one of the people I told is unlikely to keep the news to herself, even though I asked her to.

Ts. knows everything about everyone, and tells all to all. So be it.

Found out something bad a friend had gone through, long ago. Those who heard this were suprised, but not shocked. Certain things made sense, in retrospect.

What was striking, however, was the guilt carried these decades later by the woman who told us. She was a kid, in no damned position to do anything, and unlikely to have found help from anyone in a position to help, and still, she feels she should have done. . . something.

If nothing else, I hope she got a bit of relief telling us. I fear she has not.

Really not happy smelling like an ashtray after my night out. Yes, in this respect, at least, smelly New York is less smelly than SmallTown.

Found out S. and her husband will be visiting New York at the end of this month. I hope we can at least squeeze in time for a beer. At a smoke-free bar.

T. and I firmed up plans for her visit in August. I know: August in New York sucks (hot, smelly, hot & smelly), but she has time and I have time and what the hell, we’ve been through worse together.

Now I have to decide whether to go back for a class reunion this fall. Shees, and I have issues with Facebook; don’t know that I’d do much better face-to-face. . . .

A girl in trouble is a temporary thing

4 06 2009

One more question, and I swear to god that I’m done with this topic (for awhile).

This is directed [out into the ether] to those who would enact a legal ban against abortion:

What will you do to the women?

It’s a simple question, but I’ll be damned if I’ve been able to come up with an answer. I’ve checked pro-life web sites, asked this question in comments sections of blogs, listened to those who want abortion made illegal, and no one will say what would happen to women who want abortions and act to obtain them.

Most declare they have no intention of charging women—we’re all just victims of the big, bad abortion industry—unless those women happen to be the ones providing the abortion. No, those on the receiving end, well, we’re to be pitied for being dragged into the maw of the baby-killing machine.

Erin Manning, who comments on and occasionally subs for Rod Dreher at Crunchy Con, accused me of scaring up a Handmaid’s Tale-style scenario when, some time ago, I asked this question to the Crunchy commentariat. (And, honestly, all I did was ask the question, nothing else.) She then went on to outline a future in which life is valued and women and children protected and supported and valued and families supported and, um, valued and. . . it’s all good!

With those nasty abortionists out of the way, girls and women will apparently be liberated from the degredation of sexual autonomy and boys and men will cherish us as the sanctified vessels we are.

I’m only exaggerating a little bit. Really, she wrote in rose- and golden-prose of this spectacular, life-affirming, future. And she absolutely refused to engage the question of law, order, and punishment.

So, to repeat: If abortion is outlawed, what happens to the women who seek abortions?