Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wash Post's "Barney & Clyde"

is almost as bad as "Judge Parker". Not even as good as "Mark Trail" and the drawing for "Mark Trail" is horrid. I'll read the comics in the Post and the comics are one of the few reasons why I still subscribe to the paper. Sadly, unlike religion, if I don't like it, it's not like there's another church around the corner that I can go to instead. Yes, there is the Washington Times, but that's akin to being really annoyed with your Anglican Church and the only other churches in town is the Greek Orthodox Church and a bunch of storefronts. Thank goodness for "Zits" and "Baldo" and "Dilbert".
Now why do I hate "Barney & Clyde"? So far it has failed to make me laugh or even smile. I don't care about the characters because they are 1930s types in a 2010 world. The last time I was on the feed the homeless of DC truck, the homeless didn't have patches or fedoras. "Dan" (I think his name is Dan) or as I've thought of him "ZZ Top" the homeless guy near the Archives/ Navy Memorial station is a baseball cap, moderately worn jeans and T-Shirt wearing dude. A few years ago he was clean shaven but now he's sporting more of the motorcycle gang member look. And then you've got the crazies. Those are the ones with the ripped clothing and the busted shoes. I think it is a great testament to all the various churches and non-profits that offer free clothing, food, and counseling.
I ran into a homeless fellow I knew from the late 90s. I would see him everyday when I was working at the museum, and give him fruit or a yogurt, but never money. Anyway about a month I ran into him on my way to lunch at Oyamel. He's also a beared baseball cap man. He's also a vet. I did notice he was wearing those socks/stockings diabetics need to wear and gathered that's from the VA. He's mentioned his trips to the VA for various medical services. We had a nice long chat about the oil spill in the Gulf, slavery (modern and 19th cent), and the weather.
Sadly I don't know any billionaires personally. That I know of. I'm separated by 2 or 3 degrees from that amount of wealth. And if I were a person of wealth I'd spend a great amount of time on foundations and charities. I'd set up the CR Murphy and the Tom Bard Scholarships for mediocre students (there's enough money for genuius) of Irish decent and for guys named "Tom" or "Thomas" or some variation who are over 6'1" but under 7'. I would not be as the comic's billionaire moping around.
Simply said, Barney and Clyde suck.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Compline and the Book of Common Prayer

Apparently the missal for Anglican Use is out of print... And yes I could get the PDF from the Anglican Use website, but I like the little book, so BCP it is.
Ever since I encountered compline at the convent in Catonsville, MD I fell in love with it. It is an excellent way to end the day. However on my own I have the darnest time trying to figure it out. But I muddle through. It has given me comfort.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Disclosure- I work for the government, & I'm here to help.

One of the reasons why big corporate agriculture can determine what you eat is that they are in cahoots with the government that makes laws and regulates that best suits agribusiness. The legal word "organic" has been co-opted and taken away from the hippies who supported the movement and now Cargill owns it and the farmer at the farmer's market can't claim it because it requires approval by the Ag bureaucrat (more trouble than it's worth) who doesn't have the spirit of organic in his/her heart.
Government is a lot of things. Good things, bad things, mundane things, and things we don't even think about. Your tax dollars feed single mothers, undermine democratically elected governments, save stranded boaters, blow up innocent civilians, kill inmates, seizes property, floods the market with cheap corn with subsidies, raids banks, encourages home ownership, builds roads, builds prisons, props up 3rd world strongmen, keeps up National Parks, and a whole slew of stuff.

Pasta Salad

Despite being very sore towards someone right now, I will say that previously I hoped marriage would be like pasta salad. Currently I'm trying to put marriage out of my mind. Let me explain. You know how people focus on the thought that in marriage you are stuck with the same person day after day and it is like eating the same thing day after day. Well sometimes when I discover a dish I love, I try to eat it day after day after day. Pasta salad is such a dish.
Here are the ingredients:
Rotini (originally called for tortellini)
Olive Oil
Dijon mustard
lemon juice
Red wine vinigar
Grated Parmesan cheese

I don't give measurements because I've been making this since forever. I get the water boiling and throw the rotini in for 6-9 minutes, depending on the package or experience. While that's going I squeeze the lemon, put the garlic in the crusher and deposit in the juice. Experience has taught me that the garlic is less likely to taste funny if I have it sit in the citrus. Then I take some vinegar and shake about a few drops into it.Then add some parsley, and mustard. I stir it up then add oil. The original recipe said about 1/2 of the volume should be oil. I make it less so. Just enough to get a good dressing. I try to emulsify. Then I add a boat load of cheese.
About 2 minutes before the pasta is done, I throw in frozen early peas. When the timer goes off, I drain the pasta and the peas and add them to the cheesy dressing. I love this dish. And each time I make it, it is different. The quality of the ingredients can differ, the measurements differ, my mood, what I'm drinking to accent the flavors differ, the heat of the pasta when it hits the cheese, etc. A bunch of differing factors makes the same dish different. Sometimes I use fresh lemon juice, or farmer's market peas, or fresh parsley from the garden and lots of it. All I know are the last 10 spirals in my bowl of the dish are the most precious things in the world and I try to savor them slowly.

Yea South Carolina.

I was very eager last night to hear what the results of the South Carolina race because of two Republican candidates Nikki Haley and Tim Scott, but mainly Nikki Haley. Why? Because they are both people of color, tea party supported (okay TP split over Scott)and Southern. I’m excited about them because their existence denounces the outdated narrative about the South and the Republican party. I’ll be the first to tell you that the Republican party is completely tone deaf when it comes to racial sensitivities. Totally tone deaf and clueless and at points racially insensitive. Being all kumbaya about race was never and still isn’t the GOP’s shtick. And despite this there is a place for people of color and women in leadership and the ranks of the party.
Now myself being a registered Republican in the District of Columbia my vote most of the time counts for jack. This city is over 80% Democrat. The Democratic primary usually chooses the mayor and most of the city council. Because the city is so overwhelmingly Democratic I don’t believe we’ll ever get voting rights. In a GOP lead administration there is no chance of voting rights because the city is overwhelmingly of the opposing party and would only produce (D-DC) congressmembers. In Democratic administration at some point it dawns on them that they really don’t need to try that hard because succeed or fail DC is their bitch, their political booty call.
But back to SC. Yea! Especially for Nikki Haley, the female Methodist Bobby Jindal provided she makes it to win the race in November. Imagine another Southern state electing an Indian-American. I’m glad she survived the stupid whisper campaigns regarding her martial fidelity and her faith. I mean come on! If she has family who are Sikhs at some point she’s gonna wind up in a Sikh temple. I mean I’m no longer Baptist but there is a fair chance I’ll be sitting in a pew at a Baptist Church in the next year or two because of my aunts, my parents, my nieces, or any other random relative for a funeral or wedding or other church sponsored event. So the idea that she might not be a ‘real’ Christian because she has been to a Sikh temple since her conversion is stupid.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Mommy reminded me that I needed to call daddy today. So I figured they'd be up around 8. So I called and mom answered. She went to get daddy and returned telling me to call back in 5 minutes because he was still praying. Okay.
Things are so much easier since my parents got back together. They are living in sin, but they are back together. They divorced 10 years ago after a very rocky marriage and lately reconciled. They haven't yet remarried. It would be nice. Until then I remind them that they are living in sin.
When I say rocky, I mean daddy in his youth (20somthing to 40something) was an abusive husband, and for two daughters as less than stellar father. But he was there and somewhat interested in our upbringing, though he wasn't quick to show it. Looking back I am thankful that he was there, a statement that would bewilder my 16-17 year old self, when I was all for my parents divorcing. What I would tell my 16-17 year old self is it will work out in time, trust in G-d, forgive, and that mommy has lousy luck with men so sadly she's not going to do better. I wouldn't encourage a woman to stay with a physically abusive husband or partner for the sake of the kids, but she really has to be exceptionally careful and/or be willing to be celibate for a very long time for the sake of her kids. There are some real A*holes out there and some women keep repeating the same mistakes with new boyfriends. Just sayin'.
Anyway, back to daddy. I'm happy he's easier to locate now that mommy knows where he is. I'm happy that Jesus got a hold of him and changed his life. It would have been nice if the Savior did this while I was a kid, but the Lord's will be done, when he chooses.
The conversations are easier. We have something to talk about. The house, the grand kids (nieces), church, and the slim chance of him retiring are topics we can discuss. But daddy is not a phone person, so the call didn't last long, but way longer and it was less awkward than the time when they were separated.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Special Chicken

Okay I finally defrosted and cooked most of the Maryland local, free range chicken that cost me $17 for the whole bird. I had set aside the breasts for chicken marsala. Then I went to the bodega to pick up some items for ice cream making when the owner mentioned he had some fresh chicken. Oh, fresh chicken! The last time I had bought chicken, the $17 deal, it was frozen. So When I was ready I had to deal with the whole bird. I figured with a fresh chicken I could cut up and cook the parts as needed. This bugger cost me over $20. So I got home. Figured I would cut it up into parts and freeze it.
I had butchered half of it when I bothered to take a look at the packaging. It was a Polyface chicken. The same Polyface Farm as featured in Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. I was immediately struck with my own dilemma. Was I going to continue with my plan or was I going to see if fresh chicken from Polyface tasted as good as the hype not knowing if the freezing would make a difference. Since I had cut up half of it that was going into the freezer. The other half was going to be roasted.
I chose a recipe from the Gospel According to St. Martha, aka Martha Stewart Living. It was simple. Preheat oven to 425F. Take a chicken, put on foiled cookie sheet (foil not according to recipe but my desire for easy clean up). Brush with butter. Though I failed to read this and wound up pouring bits of melted butter on it. Salt and pepper. Take fresh thyme, stick under breasts and strew on sheet. Smash some garlic, place on sheet. Take day old baguette, in my case bread that has been in the freezer heaven knows how long, strew on sheet. Cook for 1 hour, but since it was ½ a chicken, 45 minutes. At about 45 minutes the fire alarm went off. I need to clean my oven. I tested the temperature and it was above 165F near the bone.
OMG. It was good. The breast was juicy and tender, and the breast is one of my least favorite parts. The bread, the parts that weren’t burnt, were like huge flavorful croutons. Garlic, which I left in the skins, tasty too. Excellent!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paralyzed by Quality

I’m trying to integrate more organic and locally grown food in my diet, with a slight hope that the more expensive the food the less of it I’ll eat, and the more weight I will keep off. This hasn’t worked so far as I am making lots of ice cream. Lots of local dairy, local eggs and local & organic fruit with organic sugar.
The problem I am now increasingly facing is meat. I’ve been buying locally grown or organic fruits and veggies and have no problem deciding what to do with them. I can eat them straight, put them in something healthy (or not so much), or let them become at one with the composter. But with meat, because of the expense I am sometimes paralyzed as to what to do with it. Considering a whole chicken I bought for $17, it took me a couple of weeks to decide what to do with it. I finally took it out of the freezer and cooked it, only after deciding what would be the best way to make the most of the bird. I was giving this bird more consideration than I had given any other chicken. I didn’t want to waste the bird on some unproven recipe, or drown it in sauces so I couldn’t taste it, and soup (tomato veggie) seemed to be unworthy. I finally decided on a chicken curry that was just lots of onions, salt, cinnamon and another spice. I had set aside the breast meat for my classic chicken marsala. It was good in the onion gravy and I could definitely taste the chicken.
Though I felt wasteful tossing the skin. I did save the wing tips for chicken stock. Also since buying the $17 local chickie, I had not bought any conventional chicken out of wanting to try to live more organically. But I do see myself buying conventional chicken to test out new recipes. Once tried and true it may be set aside for local chicken.
There is a piece of buffalo in the freezer waiting for me to figure out what to do with it.
I’m still going to buy conventional lamb, because I haven’t heard anything really bad about it. Yes, it has to get from down under to me in DC, but during its life it is feeding upon grass and apparently don’t take as much energy to raise and even when accounting for shipping uses less energy than local sheep farmers. Yet, beef and veal need to be local and grass fed, as well as goats.
The problem with buying higher quality and expensive food is I feel worse when I have to throw it out.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Church and the Poor

I've been thinking about my grandfather, who died years before I was born. He was s poor sharecropper supporting a wife and 5 kids. And he was deacon of a small Baptist Church in BFE, NC.
It dawned on me that these small churches could be one of the few places where the poor are given a chance to fill roles of leadership and responsibility. The poor are not clients but participants and stewards.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Catholic Baptist

There was an article in the Post that I directed the Help to read. It was "Interfaith marriages are rising fast, but they're failing fast too." The article mainly says that couples of different religions have a higher divorce rate. The purpose of pointing out the article was to have a serious discussion and clarify earlier conversations regarding theology.
Not having been raised Catholic I don't believe I have the same attachment as one who was born into it. I love it, but when pondering children, I would be fine if my progeny became Baptists. I was raised Baptist and most of the family on my side, are Baptists. And on any given day I'm not too sure about infant baptism.
My feelings about infant baptism was something I pondered at Mass. Though I do enjoy mass and yearn to be in agreement with the Roman Church, in my heart the issue doesn't seem right. I am very aware of the biblical interpretations legitimizing infant baptism, but there is the issue of my heart. I had asked the Help to defend infant baptism. It was an unfair question considering his lack of Christian knowledge.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Agnostic

Those are my choices.
The Help invited me to a bible study with some people from his church and I had a good time but a minor, very minor issue was the fact I was Catholic and everybody else was Presbyterian. At one point during the eating/meal part of the gathering one fellow was telling how his father led others to Christ and how the people of the town were not Christian. The people were Catholic and engaging in some odd little patron saint thing, which I guess was to illustrate their idolatry. I wasn't offended, as so much, I don't know. I decided to interpret it as the people being wrapped up in a cultural activity that had very little to do with the Gospels. The job of the saints is to point us to Christ, apparently this saint wasn't doing his job.
The more I think of it I know well in my heart I am not a Presbyterian, nor will I ever be. For one, I can only take the worship services in occasional bites. The sermons are too long to me. If you can't make your point in 10-20 minutes, you're droning. That's what drove me from the Baptist church. The sermons were long and at times didn't seem to have a point. They lost me. Thank G-d, literally, he manged to sweep me up into the crowd going to St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Gainesville, when I was on a mission to go to Burger King. It was either my freshmen or sophomore year (as I was still living in the dorms) and by that time, not going to church. When I was living with my parents, I kinda went to church, but I remember there was a point when I stopped going altogether. College, didn't go at all, until that weekend when I got swept into St. Augustines.
I did RCIA but didn't take the plunge. I was also checking out Grace Episcopal in G'ville. And come to think it is amazing I stuck with the Episcopal church then because my first encounter was with huggy hippies at the Episcopal student center across the street from campus. Ewww, hippies. My desire was to get the F*ck away from them when I saw their idea of the peace. I'm older now, now, I'd be firmer with extending my hand. Grace was cool. Grace was downtown, away from the campus. I liked them and got something out of it. I alternated between Catholic and Episcopal during my undergrad and my grad programs.
During my second grad program I didn't get to church often. I tried St. Andrew's in College Park, but didn't care for it, and didn't find it worth dealing with the metrobus in PG County nor the hills of Hyattsville to keep going. I tried to make it to St. George's in Virginia Sq, where I had been going prior to grad school, but Sunday's on a fractured green line, was a no go. So I really didn't go to church much those two years. I wasn't thinking much about theological issues much either.
After grad school I moved closer to a metro rail line. St. Andrew's was still uninteresting and I think, I'm not sure, returned to St. Georges. I can't remember when I returned to St. Georges. It might have been when I moved into DC, when going from the green to the orange lines on a Sunday morning was less a pain in the ass. But still a pain.
Somewhere in there I met up with Roland who then pointed me to the Church of the Really, Really Blond People and the Church of the Gay Lawyer (which upon last visit seemed to be getting more hetro). Though longer than I'd like, I did enjoy the CotGL, but the CotRRBP was a straight shot from the house on bike, had the best coffee hour, a kick-ass adult forum and a cool soup kitchen.
My appearances at Baptist churches pretty much came down to weddings, funerals, and instances where I had no choice (see, relatives). There are things about the Baptist Church that I enjoy, but my interest in the Lord, falls asleep, like the rest of me would if it weren't for dumb mind games I play to stay awake during the sermon. Sadly I found myself doing the same at the Help's church.
At Anglican/Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches I feel myself growing closer to G-d and I genuinely enjoy worship, even when the music is crap. At the black Baptist churches of my family, the music is good. If someone died, so is the food. The sermons are 'eh' and remind me why I left. At my grandmother's funeral (the mean one) I stayed interested in the sermon by picking out everything that was wrong. The pastor saying that she not saying one unkind word to anyone was the biggest lie. A kind lie, but a lie none the less. Note, she was the mean one.
And with the Baptist church I have all sorts of familial ties that make it a choice over any other protestant denomination outside of Anglicanism (and maybe the Lutheran church on a good day). My favorite uncle is the deacon of the baptist church where my grandfather served as deacon. My half-sister's husband is the pastor at some small baptist church in Florida. My father, just recently turning his life over to the Lord, serves on the men's choir and some church board at the baptist church where I was baptized. It is the same church that it seems many of our family has attended for decades (dare I say 100 years?). My mother serves on the usher board at another baptist church. Closer to here my aunts belong to a baptist church about 5 blocks from my home, and in helping one aunt with church activities, I've been dragged to that church and other baptist churches in DC ever since I was a teenager visiting. If it weren't for falling asleep and loosing interest, I might have remained a Baptist. If it weren't for the draw and the utter joy I feel in participating in the mass or the holy Eucharist in the RC and Anglican church I might have become an agnostic. But there is nothing (short of my struggling love of the Help) that would have drawn me to the Presbyterian Church.