Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Talking Trash

Accompany me on a fascinating voyage into the present state of mind in Conservative America. A place where things are neither near or far, here or there, not exactly good, not exactly evil. A place where there are no racists, but we don't really like any one different than us, but, who are we? Who are they? Why are we here? What are we doing? ohhh...whatever... A place where the horizon is obscured in a confusing grey mist just beyond your field of vision...  Come with me to this place where what ever it is, "It's the JUST NOT RIGHT ZONE!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Devla: Blown Away To Dance Hall Heaven

I have become a real fan of Eastern European horn driven music. The tradition of Balkan Brass Bands, passionate gypsy hybrid pop, the fragile marriage of the Ottoman Empire and European Pop Music creates something totally wild, a furious esthetic, music to dance, get married and buried to.

Many are aware of the music of Goran Bregovic, the composer who has scored the films of Emir Kustarica. Kustarica also plays bass guitar in the No Smoking Orchestra, a punkish variety of this passionate music. This is the music of Serbia and it is incredibly precise fast furious horn driven music.

The superstar for many years has been Boban Markovic, with his Orkestar Bobani, a dazzling revue with gypsies and singers. Boban brought his son Marko into the band when Marko was 14, already a trumpet virtuoso. Since then, Marko has matured into an artist walking the line between Miles Davis, Herb Alpert and Funkadelic, but in the context of his Southern Serbian Rroma roots.

An aside about The Orkestar Boban, the legend is that Bill Clinton was so amazed by Markovic that he suspended the NATO bombing of Serbia. This may or not be true, but it is a good example of the aura surrounding this music!

The latest recording by The Markovic father and Don team is called Devla:Blown Away to Dance Hall Heaven. It is Rroma Brass at its most furiously precise. The unison horn parts have the energy of the most adrenalin fueled thrash played with acute precision.

The music ranges in influences from hip hop and rap to Serbian Folk, Flamenco, experimantal jazz and almost cool jazz...I tried to find a good clip of the band as they are today playing and I found the clip from You Tube that gives an idea of what Balkan Brass played by the Markovics is....Play it loud for maximum effect!

This is an incredibly vital music that is finally having an influence on the rest of the world, but the Markovics are the real thing! Devla:Blown Away To Dance Hall Heaven,
available now for downloads, general cd release in America, Nov. 18.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Secret Weapon

Last night I watched the last 2 episodes of the new French historical epic, Apocalypse. A major work that is a history of the 2nd World War. It was produced by the France2 Network and diirected by Isabelle Clarks. It contained many hours of never before seen footage from private and commercial archives. Much of the footage was colorized in a fashion that only accentuated the feeling of horrific reality and haunting nostalgia. 6 Hours of course is not enough time to really tell the stories, subplots and human drama of this near apocalypse of our civilized world, but they managed to show how the war was actually a world even. The concurrent events all over the world were presented inan interrealated fashion which gave a clearer understanding of what had happened and why.
I can only give my most enthusiastic praise to this series and hoe that it is shown all over the world on tewlevision and as a teaching aid. It did have 6.6 million viewers in France.
In a remarkable serendipidous coincidence, I looked at the blog of HistoryMike in Toledo later that evening. While I was watching Apocalypse, I remembered one of my favorite Warner Bros. WW2 propaganda cartoons by the genius, Bob Clampett, Gremlins From The Kremlin!
I looked at mIkes Blog and he had posted a WW2 propaganda cartoon called TOKIO JOKIO and asked about the violent racist content and the context. Actually, I find that the material produced at this time was a truly cathartic release from the horrors of the reality the world was facing hourly. America was able to laugh, dance and sing in a way it had never done before as a survival mechanism which has always served it well and really was a big part of the effort to win WW2!
So, here is Gremlins From The Kremlin, a part of Americas greatest secret weapon, humor!

Get Sick, See Paris....

So the big issue with Republican about Health Care Reform is making sure illegal immigrants are not covered. If an illegal immigrant has a health issue and goes to an emergency room in a hospital, one way or another, under US law, he has to be treated.
This treatment is reimbursed by the government. That's why we are seeing the problems with emergency rooms, the over crowding and the poor using them as clinics of the last resort.

In fact an average emergency room visit is billed at around $1,000.00 (per AARP)
So, why can't we do something that costs much less money?
Why not buy an illegal immigrant who needs health care a round trip plane ticket to France?

You do the math:
Depending how you book the flight, you can get bargains these days at around $500 to $600 bucks for a one week stay round trip NYC/Paris, or Washington, DC/Paris.
A visit to a French Emergency room is a straight 23 that's $33.80
If the patient is admitted to the hospital, the daily fee is 23 Euros, so a week is $33.50 times 7 = 234.50
The grand total in dollars is between $768 and $868....
Okay, so you might have trouble booking in advance for an emergency...but you get the idea........

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Your White Trash Moment

I know it's been a long time, too long since we've had a White Trash Moment here on thebrainpolice, but Tom DeLays delerious dancing debacle demanded it!
This is good, too good. It's so good that there should be a Constitutional Amendment to deal with it...
The only thing that would have made it better is if Mr. Delay wore his leather pants with the ass cut out, maybe the judges would have scored him better.

This Bizarre Relationship

“What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.”
Have you ever gotten involved with someone and then as the relationship progressed, you began to realize that in spite of the sex, the person you thought you knew was more than just a little nuts?
You know what I'm talking about. Going out and getting your face tattooed on their arm and then telling you that if you ever leave, they'll have to cut their arm off?
Maybe the idea of a suicide pact could be kind of special?
Calling repeatedly in the middle of the night to include you in their current paranoid fantasy?

Michelle, we're leaving, no,don't, those threats won't work anymore...
Yes, I know I'm cruel, but sometimes you have to be cruel...
You'll appreciate this someday....
Go ahead jump! I don't believe you and nobody cares!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Return Of McCarthyism

Reasonable Americans, Democrats, Republicans, Independants, are quietly appalled by the rise of hate lnaguage, the increase in the shrillness of the rhetoric used by the extreme right in American discourse today.
This is how a great democracy crumbles and it has almost happened before.
Will we sit on our hands, helpless, too timid to act? AGAIN?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stuck In The Sound/OUAIS!

A French Band I really like. The layered guitars remind me of the NYC New Wave Band, The Feelies, but these guys have the ability to write great stuff that's out of the box and the pop smarts to be able to go beyond the borders of France.

Big Career Move...

Lately, I've been pondering a career move and doing a little research as to a new metier that might prove to be more exciting and profitable and I keep hearing the fundamentalist christians referring to an anti christ. After a bit of research, I discovered that they've been going on about anti-christs of one sort or another for centuries, since 70 AD as far as I can see.

An anti christ was supposed to destroy Jerusalem then, but didn't and the next time the job position was open was around 1000 AD, which was considered an apocalyptic date, so the expectations were high, but no applicants came forward.

Again around 1120 Ad, in the obscure text, The Vaudois Church, there is mention of the anit christ and the effect of creating "moral turpitude, but not much more.
In 1260, Joachim announced that the anti christ was already born and the last days of the world had begun...that was 800 years ago and we are still in the last days of Joachim, I guess.

In 1520, though, Luther claimed that the anti christ was not just one person, but an institution, beginning a long tradition of fundamentalists labeling anything they didn't like as the anti christ, there by making it ok to hate it and destroy it.
So, the catholic church became the anti christ.

In 1585, the protestants refined the idea that it wasn't the entire catholic church, just the "papacy".  Meanwhile, the Jesuits counter charged that the anti christ was definitely not catholic and would be one person who had a great personality and was probably very entertaining...and could cause moral turpitude...Yeah!

The anti christ was supposedly mentioned in 1846 to some spaced out peasants who reportedly saw the virgin Mary in France. This time, the anti christ was definitely going to be catholic...

For some reason, the date Febuary 5, 1962 became fixated upon as the birthdate of the anti christ. People sharing this birthdate are Bill Gates and my dentist.
Fundamentalist christians claimed that John F. Kennedy was the anti christ, Mikail Gorbachev was the anti christ..Jerry Falwell before he O.D.ed on fried foods claimed the anti christ was alive and  was a jewish guy in Queens named Larry.

Barack Obama is supposed to be the anti christ because of his Chicago Zip Code, which proves it beyond the shadow of a doubt to many well informed evangelicals...

I dunno, does the job pay well? The job description says that the anti christ has to be highly likable, reasonably talented and an atheist or what ever and capable of causing great moral turpitude... I can do that. I mean, people like me, I really like to sing, I can dance pretty good and play a musical instument. I'm not religious in the least and more than a little intrigued by this moral turpidtude thing. I would like to see the dissolution of organized religion, but I'd really be a reasonable kind of anti-christ.

I'd be willing to take alternate Sundays. The fundamentalists could get every other Sunday, if they didn't want to listen to me on my Sundays, they could organize a bowling league or take up mah-jhong. All the other people who wanted to hear my message of moral turpitude are welcome....
Now, the next thing I want to find out about is the vacations and BONUSES!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Funk Soul Brother, Check It Out Now....

Glenn Beck, Cover of Time Magazine, Issue of September 18, 2009
Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Cover of Time Magazine. Issue of May 8, 1954.
Papists, Communists, Socialists, Foreigners, Non-White people, Non-Christians, Wobblies, Labor Unions, Arabs, Jews (when neccessary), Peaceniks, Hippies, Womens Libbers, you name it!
Conservative America united, standing together doing the one thing they have always been capable of doing in times of crisis! The only thing that keeps them from destroying each other!
C'mon People now, Scream at each other
Try to hate some one diffrint right nowwwww!
Right Now...
Funk Soul Brother, Check It Out Now!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This is the trailer for a major motion picture, Creation, which is premiering at the Toronto Fim Festival and is opening in Great Britain this Sunday. It is opening in the next week in almost every country in the world, except one.
This film is a biopic about the life of Charles Darwin starring Ralph Bellamy and Jennifer Connelly. In pre release reviews in England, the film is described as an even handed biography of Charles Darwin and the personal and moral struggle he experienced as he formulated his theory of Evolution. It has been hailed as one of the best pictures of 2009.
The film ahs already sparked a fierce debate on conservative websites and blogs in the one country it won't be released in, one country where only 39% of the population in a recent Gallup Poll admit to accepting the theory of Evolution as truth.
Well, the country is America, and while other reviews have lauded the film as even handed, presenting the theological imnplications and personal doubts of Darwin as he formulated his ideas, the film is being condemned in American reviews as glorifying a "mass murderer", a racist, a bigot, the father of Eugenics who enabled Adolph Hitler.
The uproar over the film in the Conservative Christian press and blogs is so vocal that no American distributor will touch the film and there are no plans to distribute in the USA.
Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, said he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published.
"That's what we're up against. In 2009. It's amazing," he said.
"The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it's because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they've seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.
"It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There's still a great belief that He made the world in six days. It's quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules.
"Charles Darwin is, I suppose, the hero of the film. But we tried to make the film in a very even-handed way. Darwin wasn't saying 'kill all religion', he never said such a thing, but he is a totem for people."
No wonder conservatives believe liberals lack the courage of their convictions. We prove them right every other day.

Monday, September 14, 2009


You've never seen this Malcom McLaren 1952 classic?
McLaren was a pioneer of experimental film techniques. This is stop motion animation at its finest! The silly levitation scenes are hilarious. McLaren made thousands of films for the Canadian Film Board and happily passed away before the dawn of digital techniques. Much of his soundtracks were produced by the old fashioned optisound system. He learned how to scratch and paint on the emulsion on the side of the film, where optical sound was recorded, to create totally synthetic music and effects. he was an original Canadian genius...

Saint Cloud

This weekend marked the 3 day festival of my Village, Badefols d'Ans. The Fete Saint Cloud has been celebrated here before records were kept right up until today. The church here is l'eglise de St. Cloud and was built around 1100 ad as well as the donjon of the Chateau which is connected to it. I have tried to find references to St. Cloud and the only thing I can find is the legend that he was the one of the grandsons of the Merovingian King, Clovis, who converted to Christianity around 500 ad.
The sons of Clovis all became kings and inherited their own kingdoms which were hewn out of the conquests of Clovis. The sons, Theudebert, Childebert, Chlodemer and Chlothar have all made their mark on history and their feuds and alliances have been well recorded by Gregory of Tours. In the course of their feuds, about 523 ad, the sons of Chlodomer were murdered by Childebert, to consolodate his power. The one son who was spared was Cloud.
St. Cloud was spared and his royal long hair was cut off and he was forced to be raised as a monk. He wandered through France founding monastaries and one of his monastaries was on the hill top that is now Badefols d'Ans.
He is comemorated by a traditional pilgimage to his Church, here and in the neighboring hilltop village, Chatres.
The Fete seems to have its origins as a continuation of an ancient Gallic harvest festival, so you might surmise that the Fete de St. Cloud has been celebrated here on the hilltop since prehistory. Perhaps, there was never a real St. Cloud and he exists only as a reason to give some kind of christian disguise to the pagan past. The name though, is likely a Merovingian name that has been obcured by the layers of Occitan merging into French and the inevitable creative spelling.
It evolved into a 3 day event with dances, markets and feasts. Now it commences with trucks hauling carnival rides into town, wiring up loudspeakers and decorating the streets with garlands and paper flowers.
Saturday, there was a big dance and fire works at the chateau to kick it off, today, Sunday, there was the annual Defilee de Chars! A parade of floats pulled by tractors.
Before you get too excited, this is a small village and there were only 4 tractors. There was a group of Portuguese folk dancers and musicians singing and dancing and playing music who led the march and gave a little performance.
There was a crowd of around 200 spectators and every one had a good time. I took some pictures for you...It is very reassuriing that people can still have such simple innocent pleasure takiing part in a ritual that has always marked the changing of the seasons.
The farmer driving the tractor with the giant duck figure was one of the mainstays of the festival and he stopped his tractor a few times to sing some bawdy songs for every one.
Tomorrow, there will be a traditional market selling garlics, onions, pumpkins and squashes and in the upper village, there will be the traditional auction of veal calves and milk cows.
Finally, after the auction, a huge dinner is served in a big tent.
Enjoy the pics, The giant Sponge Bob was pretty surreal!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Message de la Fonction Publique

A public service announcement from The National Broadcasting Service of The Republic of Groland regarding protection from La Grippe A (Swine Flu) from a concerned citizen.
Groland is a small Republic somewhere near Belgium, the Michelin Guide isn't very clear,
mais Je suis un citoyen Grolandais! 
Eat pork, lots of pork.
Drink wine, lots of wine, plenty of wine
Children, special advice, atay home from school and smoke cigarettes....
This has been a Public Service Announcement from the National Broadcasting Service of The Republic of Groland. Thank You.........


signcomp1 signcomp2

I recently posted about William Kristols 1993 Strategy Memorandum regarding the Clinton Administrations attempts to reform health care in America.
In the memorandum, Kristol stressed repeatedly the importance of defeating the attempts completely as being vital to the fuuture of the Republican Party. He said that any compromise would be defeat. The Republicans and the Health Care Industry pulled out all the stops at that time to defeat the reform. The methods used then were pretty tame by todays anything goes, media assault we are witnessing. Fear was used in 1993 to turn an initially 72% pro reform public against it.
Yesterday, in Washington, we saw the ideas of Kristol come full circle in the 9/12  March. Jim DeMint, the Republican South Carolina Senator stated the same thing in his remarks in the last few days, calling the event, Waterloo. In fact he stated, yesterday on Glenn Becks show:
DEMINT: We’re just, we’re coming down to a matter of days. If we lose the health care battle, I think we’ve lost it all. [...]
And that’s why I’ve said strong things like Waterloo and other things. This is, the nation has to focus on this because the czars and other things are secondary in a way if we lose health care, the president’s going to be so emboldened, we’re going to see so much more of the growth at the executive branch level that, I don’t think we’ll be able to stop it. But if we stop him on health care then I think we have the opportunity to maybe realign the whole political system in our country.
 Perhaps DeMint is absolutely right. The majority of Americans still want Health Care Reform and after the speech by Barack Obama this week, the support jumped dramatically. This spectacle in Washington, provided by FOX NEWS and their need to generate sensationalism by mobilizing the most extreme elements of the Conservatives and letting them parade their lunatic racist hate live on national television appears to be a very fitting self inflicted fatal blow. The pathetic image of these aging lunatics iis a very potent anti-republican message. If I had set up a stand selling White sheets and hoods, I couldhave made a small fortune.

Today, the real numbers are coming out and FOX's hyped reporting is being debunked,.
They had their nasty little parade, the world saw it and we disgusted.
They have lost control of the message and the lunatics are running the show. In their toxic bubble of desparate hatred, they have failed to realize that this is a very small and ugly portion of America. What worked to stifle opinion and discourse in the confines of a Town Meeting is very different when it is expanded to a nasty hate filled mob.
I'm watching this from Europe and all of the networks are beaming the images of the racist hateful signs that the demonstrators seem to think the world wants to see.
This is our acid reflux moment, to put it bluntly, in language most American can understand.
DeMint is right. This is Waterloo.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Freddie Bee 4

No, this is not from a David Lynch movie.
The song, "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" has never sounded creepier.
Excuse me while I cringe.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

They Win, You Lose.....

In 1993, the Republican Party pulled out all the stops to defeat President Clintons attempts to reform of the American Health care System. One of the main theorists behind the Republican strategy was William Kristol, who authored a memorandum titled "Project for a Republican Future". 
In the 4 page strategy outline, he laid out the basic talking points that are being expanded now to try to defeat Barack Obama's initiative.
The Kristol outline is very much what we are hearing today and plays upon the supposed effect on the economy that changing the way Health Care is made available to Americans.
It is a basically flawed piece of reasoning because it does not deal with the real facts.
It claims over and over again that the American system is the best in the world and of course does not deal with any of the real problems facing millions of Americans. It also deals with the realities of 16 years ago and the costs and strictures of the industry have increased incrementally.
Yet, the Kristol Memorandum makes on thing clear, over and over again. The spector of health care reform is seen as a clear threat to the welfare of the Republican Party and the sense of vunerablility is made clear over and over again.
It was said that if Clinton had been successful in reforming health care, the Republicans would have faced at least 20 years in the wilderness.
This is just one quote from the Kristol Memo:
 "But the Clinton proposal is also a serious political threat to the Republican Party. Republicans must therefore clearly understand the political strategy implicit in the Clinton plan--and then adopt an aggressive and uncompromising counterstrategy designed to delegitimize the proposal and defeat its partisan purpose."
No one has really spoken of this memo in this current struggle, but it is the heart of the Republican opposition. It's about power, not people.
They win, you lose........ 

Monday, September 07, 2009

The 500,000 Pound Box of Pencils

A 19 year old street artist who goes by the name, Cartrain, has stolen Damien Hirsts box of
Faber/Castell Mongol 482 Series Pencils and has threatened that if Damien doesn't give him back his consfiscated art work, he will sharpen them.
In case you haven't heard of the British Artist, Damien Hirst, he produces some of the worlds priciest modern art. His work over the years has had at its core, a sensationalist need to shock. His sculptures can consist of an entire shark or a sheep cut in half, in a glass tanks filled with formeldehyde.
His latest and most sensational work is a series of multiple sculptures. He has used actual human skulls which he has had covered in diamonds and precious stones. Of course, the very idea generated instant outrage and controversy and millions of dollars.
Cartrain, on the other hand, is one of the new generation of guerilla street artists, like the legendary Banksy, or in America, Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the Obama/Hope poster image, but for years has been a shadowy figure on the streets of America creating conceptual/graffiti. Street art that makes statements and challenges us.
Of course, artists such as Cartrain and Fairey exist in the commercial sense by selling their work in galleries and on line, but the real work is the statement made in the streets which have an epemeral life span. They exist as long as they are allowed to by the forces of urban existance. Recently, a piece on the wall of a London building by Banksey, whose work in galleries commands major prices, was destroyed by civic street cleaners who were just doing their job.
The video I posted above is a piece by Cartrain. He walks into the National Portrait Gallery and puts up a collage with a little plaque on the wall, where it remains for 2 hours before it is noticed. 
So we have the engaged world of urban guerilla artists and the rarefied world of personalities like Jeff Koons and Hirst...So often the work of the big money gallery artists is purely sensational and exists mainly on a reputation level.
Cartrain created a series of images lampooning Hirsh and his skull art as being the epitomy of vapid capitalism. He exhibited them in a gallery which was served with an order to cease and desist by Hirst's lawyers. Then, Cartrains art work was seized by Hirst as well as the proceeds of the sales of the works, which came to approximately 200 Pounds.
Cartrain is a 16 year old kid who makes practically zilch and Hirst is world brand name who makes millions. This raises many ethical and moral questions, the least of which is the ability to create art which references other art. We won't even touch the fact that Hirsh's skull sculptures were inspired by the work of a friend.
So, in an inspired bit of guerilla theatrical tactics, Cartrain walked into the Tate Galleries in London, where Hirsh was exhibiting an environmental piece called Apothecary and stole a box of pencils which was part of the piece.
He then printed up posters which he distributed which stated that Cartrain was holding Hirsh's Pencils for ransom. His demand was his 200 Pounds and his artwork, due by a certain date, or he threatened to SHARPEN THE PENCILS!
Brilliant, humorous and in a better world, it should have been effective.
But, in this world, Damien Hirst proves again that he doesn't make art, HE MAKES MONEY!
He had the police arrest Cartrains father as an accomplice who might know where Cartrtain was hiding the pencils. He put a value of 500,000 Pounds on the pencils, making Cartrains act of guerilla theater potentially one of the biggest money art thefts in British History.
Cartrain, hired a lawyer and turned himself in to the police...
This story is presently in motion in Britain. I admire and support Cartrain and here's the link to his blog and the world of British Urban Street Art...
Damien Hirst? He's a corrupt, greedy sadistic bastard. He is too fucking rich to matter anymore. Let some real artists roast his greasy corpse with the satire he deserves!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Hunting And Gathering

"Yeah, well, microdot" you might well ask, "what exactly do you do all day long when you are not lounging about on some luxuriously tastefully decorated internet site?"
I'd be forced to take a langorous sip of my exotic mixed drink, remove the paper parasol and  nibble on the garishly crimson maraschino cherry while pensively gazing out into space and admit...
I'd have to admit that my life is actually quite medieval. We are scurrying about, filling the larder for the winter. I have a big modern German freezer which is just about filled to the bursting point and faced with a crisis. My old trusty 30 year old little Scottish freezer is kaput. It is the back up and has never failed until I plugged it in yesterday and it won't get cold. It worked 2 months ago when I defrosted the big one.
So, I went to a friend who resells appliances to see if she had a little freezer for sale and she told me that this is the wrong season in the Dordogne...Nobody is selling old freezers.
It's critical, I need more space to put containers of soup, tomato sauce, the bags of pesto and baba ganoush...
So Monday, I go to Brive la Gaillarde and buy a new little freezer at the Darty contrat de confiance! Actually, I found one quite like the one that died for under 200 Euros with agood warranty.
That is what I do these days, find stuff and put it in the freezer. I have a few fig trees and they are beginning to bear fruit...when they start, it is a few weeks nonstop on the average of 2 kilos a day. The figs draw hornets and I have to make hornet traps from old plastic water bottles...quite effective!We eat a lot of figs, but we make a lot of fig jam...gallons of it, with walnuts, plain or this seasons new zest!
I have a few hazelnut trees, one old one and quite a few that I planted when I moved here which are all full of nuts. I collect them off of the roof of the garage and off the ground.
We have to get them before the birds and other assorted pests do...I have around 12 kilos.
They have to be shelled, roasted and skinned. Then they can be frozen.
I discovered that cherry tomatoes can be frozen whole in bags for later culinary use. The rest of the tomatoes including the multi kilo Russian giants become frozen sauce.
At the same time, it is now the beginning of serious mushroom season and I have to be wily and get up earlier than mushroom boy...this dude in a red car who shows up everyday and parks his car down our lane and disappears for a few hours methodically picking every mushroom in the forest. 
Still, I've managed to find a few kilos of girolle in the last few days. I ran into Old Vergne this morning who wanted to know if I had found any Cepe yet...Not yet, Vergne.
It seems like a lot of work, but the satisfaction of having a kitchen full of roasted hazelnuts, making a mexican dinner with ingredients we grew ourselves, not spending money on vegetables and eating well makes it all worth it.
If I could only train my dog to find truffles...............

How To Confuse An Atomic Bomb....

Senator Al Franken demonstrates exactly why the Republicans fought so hard to keep him from his rightfully won Senate seat! About a dozen tea party activists had staked out Sen. Al Franken's booth, and confronted him loudly when he arrived. But within minutes, he'd turned an unruly crowd into a productive conversation on health care. The discussion went from insurance reform, to the public option, to veterans benefits, to cap and trade. He made a few laugh and even told a touching story that moved a few to tears. A whole lot of common ground was found.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Vielle Mimolette

Sometimes I can't begin to think rationally about politics. I have a good idea, a rant and then I get a little too emotional to write rationally. That's a good thing, sometimes, but...
When it happens too often, I realize it is time to write about the cheese of the month!
And here is this month's cheese, and a handsome cheese it is! A good old Vielle Mimolette!
My first impression of Mimolette was in the supermarket, here in France. I like to make Mexican Food and one important  element in recreational Mexican cuisine is cheese.
You need a cheese for nachos, a cheese that melts well over the enchiladas, a cheese that resembles the cheese of Mexico....
When I saw Mimolette in it's commercial wrapper, it looked perfect. In fact, a young Mimolette is perfect, in flavor, color and texture and price. It is a great artificial shade of deep yellow/orange and the mild flavor resembles a mild, young commercial cheddar. Mimolette is the cheese I use for Mexican cuisine.
Bur the diference between a young Mimolette and the cheese that is referred to as a Vielle Mimolette ends abrubtly. A young cheese, which is a cows milk cheese, has a orange red waxy covering. The cheese is intensely colored with anchiote, the yellow food dye thta colors many cheeses. 
The history of the cheese begins with Louis XIV, who admired Dutch Edam, another cheese covered with red/orange wax. The waxy cover is a story in itself. There was quite a wine trade with Holland. The boats would take casks of wine to Holland and then fill the holds up with Dutch Edam for the voyage back. There was always a lot of leakage from the wine and the holds of the ships were stained with the wine and the cheese skins always picked up the red coloring. The color was adopted as tradition and remains to this day.
Because of the wars of the 15th and 16th century, this trade was disrupted often, but the taste for the cheese was so popular that the King ordered a cheese made in the tradition of Edam to be made in France but colored with anchiote to differenciate the two.
Mimolette is made in North Eastern France, in the vicinity of Lille, where it is sometimes called Boule de Lille.
The red wax coated cheese is sold young and mass produced, but the same cheese, made with the same techniques, uncoated and aged becomes something very different.
The Vielle Mimolette could be mistaken for a cantaloupe. They are about the same size, but a boule of Mimolette weighs about 2 kilos. The outside rind is grey and textured like a melon due to the action of intentionally introduced cheese mites. The cheese mites, which are little arachnids, actually cause some varieties of cheese to change becomes sweeter. The flavor of an aged Mimolette is deep, sharp and sweet. It has a hazelnut like tones. It is an absolutely delicious cheese. The action of the aging also makes it become a hard cheese.
While young Mimolette is a relatively inexpensive cheese, Vielle Mimolette, due to the strictly controlled technique, is a much rarer and pricey matter, but to me, well worth it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

La Voyage de la Lune

Perhaps the first science fiction fim ever made was the 1902 La Voyage de la Lune by Georges Melies. Melies was a French Magician, born in 1861 in Paris. In 1895, he saw the first motion pictures and started soon after to make his own. Quite by accident, he discovered the technique of stop action animation. He invented the techniques of fade ins and fade outs and the dissolve as methods for narration. He made over 500 films. He died in relative obscurity in 1938, the victim of a rapidly changing world and unrecognized by the industry he had helped to create.
His films are now being restored and admired for the truly innovative and magical wonders of imagination that they really are.....
La Voyage de la Lune:
Briefly, the voyage is announced and all of Paris turns out to marvel at the huge gun which is going to shoot a rocket to the moon, actually a cannon shell with a party of explorers inside.
The shell is fired and hits the moon in the eye. The explorers see the earth rise and the marvels of the stars. They trek into the interior of the moon where they find a forest of giant mushrooms and the Selenites. They are captured by the Selenites, but fight their way back to the shell, which falls off the edge of the moon and plummets back to earth, into the ocean where a waiting ship rescues them.        
They go back to Paris, there is a big parade and everyone is happy!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Government Health Care Explained

A cartoon explanation of why we need a public health insurance option. If you agree that a public option should be part of the health care reform bill, make sure you let your representatives know!...and please pass on this link to this video to anyone who has questions and you think is rational enough to comprehend this information.