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Member since: Sat Nov 30, 2013, 05:06 AM
Number of posts: 23,696

Journal Archives

New Year tradition: 10,000 people performing Beethoven's 9th symphony Ode to Joy.

I post this almost every year, it makes me weep.

First cold weather of the season, time for Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter."

"It was growing chilly. The cold crept under the table, crawling up from Laura's bare feet to her bare knees under her skirts."

That happened to me yesterday, the beginning of several days of cold, steady rain. No more bare feet and legs. Tights and socks. Short-sleeved cotton clothing into the closet, out come long-sleeved clothing made with the help of animals: wool, cashmere, suede; leather bag replaces canvas. Windows closed, heavy curtains hung. Blankets and quilts on the bed, flannel sheets, cozy flannel pajamas. Electric fans retire, heaters report for duty.

Hot coffee and tea, not iced. Heat from the stove and oven is welcome now, and I think about gratins, soups, stews. Roasting, baking, simmering. At the market: grapes, apples, pears, persimmons, mushrooms, squash, beets. Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves. I want to make an apple pie and baked beans. Every year I plan on making donuts and don't. Will have to read "Farmer Boy" to get in the mood and maybe it'll happen this year. These books are my comfort read from childhood.

Green pumpkin pie:

"'You may cut the pumpkin in slices and peel them while I make the piecrust,' said Ma. ... Ma put the crust in the pie pan and covered the bottom with brown sugar and spices. Then she filled the crust with thin slices of the green pumpkin. She poured half a cup of vinegar over them, put a small piece of butter on top, and laid the top crust over all. 'There,' she said, when she had finished crimping the edges. ... She slipped the pie into the oven and shut the door on it. ... When Ma laid down the shirt that she was making for Pa and opened the oven, the rich smell of baking pie came out. Carrie and Grace stopped to look in while Ma turned the pie so it would brown evenly. ... For an instant, Pa did not see it. Then he said, 'Pie!' ... 'What kind of pie is it?' ... Pa cut off the point with his fork and put it in his mouth. 'Apple pie! Where in the world did you get apples?' Carrie could keep still no longer. She almost shouted, 'It's pumpkin! Ma made it out of green pumpkin!' ... They ate slowly, taking small bites of the sweet spiciness to make it last as long as they could. That was such a happy supper that Laura wanted it never to end."

Bean soup and baked beans:

"'I'm glad I put beans to soak last night,' said Ma. She lifted the lid of the bubbling kettle and quickly popped in a spoonful of soda. The boiling beans roared, foaming up, but did not quite run over. 'There's a little bit of salt pork to put in them too,' Ma said. Now and then she spooned up a few beans and blew on them. When their skins split and curled, she drained the soda water from the kettle and filled it again with hot water. She put in the bit of fat pork. ... The little shanty quivered in the storm. But the steamy smell of boiling beans was good and it seemed to make the air warmer. At noon Ma sliced bread and filled bowls with the hot bean broth and they all ate where they were, close to the stove. They all drank cups of strong, hot tea. ... The hot soup and hot tea warmed them all. They ate the broth from the beans. Then Ma emptied the beans into a milk-pan and set the bit of fat pork in the middle, and laced the top with dribbles of molasses. She set the pan in the oven and shut the oven door. They would have baked beans for supper."

PBS: In Georgia, primary election chaos highlights a voting system deeply flawed

Full Frontal: Who Runs the World? Apparently This Guy. Meet Reference Man.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: The Republican Campaign of Voter Suppression

PBS: St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter's "challenge to young people of all ages."

Take your passion and anger and channel that energy: vote with that energy, fill out your census with that energy, engage with your community and the legislative process with that energy. Instead of being on the sidelines demanding that someone else on the inside make different decisions, step into a decision making role, step into your role as a stakeholder/owner of your community, city, country. Engage!

PBS: Why don't Americans trust experts anymore?

Ted Koppel Discusses the State of Journalism and Democracy

Objectivity and expertise in journalism is disappearing. Reporters now give personal opinions, used to only be on op-ed pages. Reporters shouldn't be perceived as siding with one group or the other, not being seen as objective undermines democracy. The Internet enabled people with extreme ideologies on the left and the right to be publishers potentially reaching tens of thousands of people and not half a dozen people at the bar like it used to be. It's "democratizing" journalism, but in other professions like medicine or law or plumbing, this doesn't happen, you expect expertise.

I love "The Canterbury Tales" prologue.

When the sweet showers of April have pierced
The drought of March, and pierced it to the root,
And every vein is bathed in that moisture
Whose quickening force will engender the flower;
And when the west wind too with its sweet breath
Has given life to every wood and field
To tender shoots, and when the stripling sun
Has run his half-course in Aries, the Ram,
And when small birds are making melodies,
That sleep all the night long with open eyes,
(Nature so prompts them, and encourages);
Then people long to go on pilgrimages ...

Garrison Keillor, "Leaving Home":

"Spring has come, grass is green, the trees are leafing out, birds arriving every day by the busload, and now the Norwegian bachelor farmers are washing their sheets. In town the windows are open, so, as you pause in your walk to admire Mrs. Hoglund's rock garden, you can smell her floor wax and hear the piano lesson she is giving, the tune that goes "da da Da da Da da da," and up by school, smell the macaroni cheese hotdish for lunch and hear from upstairs the voices of Miss Melroses's class reciting Chaucer. ... A person wants to be someone else and gets scared and needs to be known, but we ride so far on that bus, we become the stranger. Nevertheless, these things stay the same: the sweet breath, the rain, the tender croppes, and the smale fowles maken melodye ... ."

I look up as I walk, so that the tears won't fall.



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