Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fresh Raspberry Linzer Tart

This is a little embarrassing, as I like to have a picture of the finished product.
We took a number of pictures last night with the digital camera and somehow a glitch erased them and we ate the Tart!
Yes, with the help of a friend, we ate the entire tart. With good reason, this is one of the most incredible desserts I have ever had. The crisp linzer crust and raspberry confiture acts as a stage set for the the fresh raspberries. This mix of textures and tastes is incredible, plus it is incredibly beautiful to look at. Take my word for it!
It is relatively simple:
The Linzer Crust:( this recipe makes more than you need for one tart, but it freezes well!)
250 grams of flour
150 grams of sugar
150 grams of powdered almonds
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
10 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder
200 grams of butter

Mix all the ingredients together quickly until they form a homogenized ball.
You can melt the butter to mix it, but make sure it is not too hot when you pour it in.
Spread the crust, push it into shape with your fingers, into a tart usual, I recommend one with a removable bottom. Refrigerate for at least a half hour. Preheat the oven to 325 farenheit, poke some holes in the crust with a fork and bake it about 15 minutes. The tricky part is to make sure it is done and not burnt, because the crust has the cinnamon and cocoa, it is already a dark shade.

Let it cool.
Then spread it with Raspberry Jam, at least a 1/4 inch layer. Then artfully cover the surface of the tart with fresh raspberries. You can dust it with powdered sugar before eating.
This combination of fresh raspberries and the confiture on the crisp spicy crust makes the most delicious tart I have ever had in my life! Of course, I love raspberries. My raspberry plants are beginning to wind down. I think there is another week left of berries. All in all, we've gotten 1 to 2 kilos a day for the last 3 of so weeks. There are 30 some jars of jam and a freezer of frozen berries.

Speaking of the confiture, I have 2 cassis bushes which produced a bowlfull of berries this year. There were enough to make on big jar of cassis/raspberry jam which turned out to be an incredible combination! Next year I will have much more cassis!

I learned a few days ago that I am leaving on Tuesday morning for another 10 days or so of work at Chateau Vieux Chevrols on the grape vines. I will be out of touch again with most media. All I have is my radio. I am going to read Lee Iacoccas book "Where Have All The Leaders Gone?". I'll let you know what I think of it.

Now I have forced lawn cutting and trying to tie up all the little projects and loose ends running free range around here!
Bon Apetit, bien sur!

Eyes On The Prize!

In September of last year, at a High School in Jena, Louisiana, a group of African American students decided they wanted to sit under the Whites Only tree on tthe school lawn. They asked permission from the school authorities and the next day arrived at school to find nooses hanging from the branches of the treein the school colors.

The nooses were labled a harmlesss prank and the students who put them up were suspended. The Black residents of Jena didn't take it, though. Fights and unrest started breaking out at the school. The District Attorney, Reed Walters was called in to address the black students directly. He told them that he could "end their life with a stroke of a pen."

Things got really crazy, black students were assaulted, a man pulled a gun on a group of students in a store. They wrestled the gun away from him and ran away. Some one tried to burn down the school. Then a fight broke out in the school and 6 black students were arrested for assault and true to his word, DA Walters upped the charges to attempted murder and asked for maximum sentences, 80 years.

Four of the six are being tried as adults, they are 17 and 18 and the others are being tried as juveniles.

This is the backdrop of an America which has convinced itself that it not racist and set the stage for the the Supreme Court decision that undid 53 years of Civil Rights legislation yesterday.

53 years ago, Brown vs. The Board of Education ruled that segregation was inherently unequal ands ordered schools to integrate. Since 1954, the Supreme Court has been the driving force to force America to open its buses, public buildings, parks and playgrounds to all.

It was a struggle to enforce the ruling. Governors, angry senators and mobs threatened massive resistance. The Court never wavered and in most of the ensuing cases, it spoke unanimously.

At a time when the nation is becoming more diverse, the schools are becoming more segregated. More than one in six black children attend schools that are 99 to 100%
minority. This resegregation is only going to get worse due this courts ruling.

The embers of hate are never extinguished and it only takes a small wind to start the fiires roaring again. The White Conservative Male class of America is feeling threatened and you only have to listen to the rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh abd Bill O'Rielly to get a mild version of the bile being swilled.

We forget what a grand struggle it was for Black Americans to gain the fragile equality they deserve. We forget the martyrs, the heroes, the villains, the dark side of America.

The video I have for this post is a cut from Mavis Staples new CD, We'll Never Turn Back! The cut is Eyes On The Prize.
Mavis was on the frontlines of the struggle along with her sisters and father, The Staple Singers. It's been a life long commitment for her and she is now in her late 70's. If you don't know Mavis, go back in time and check out her monster 60's classic, A House Is Not A Home. One of the greatest voices American music is still singing and testifying! The CD is almost autobiographical and tells her struggle to brilliantly sparse backing and production by Ry Cooder.
We need Mavis now more than ever!

Friday, June 29, 2007

George Winston Bush

"It'll be 20 years before they appreciate me...Yes, I may be at
30% in the polls, but in 20 or 30 years, they'll
appreciate what I've done."
George Bush, comparing himself to Winston Churchill
as reported by Seymour Hersh.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


RULES? Who needs your stinkin' rules!
We're not part of any branch! We're our own special Bat Branch!
We make our own reality! As if you give a flying fuck!
You got a problem with that?
C'mon Bush Boy, we have a constitution to trash!
This is the new action figure government that you sissies always wanted!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Family Portrait

Post coming soon, I just had to share this very special portrait of the
Newest Version of the New Sarkozy Government
as soon as my photshop pixels were dry!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fete de la Musique 2007

Today, the 21st of June is not only the Summer Solstice, but here in France it is the Fete de la Musique. Music is celebrated and played everywhere. I want to celebrate it here at the brain police by sharing this video of Astor Piazolla, the great bandoneon player and tango composer playing Adios Nanino live in 1980!
Piazolla was born in New York and his family emigrated to Argentina and he went on to become the greatest Argentinian composer of the 20th Century. He reinvented and revitaliized the form of tango. I was lucky enough to see him a few times in New York.
Passionate, intimate intelligent music for any Fete!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tarte aux Framboise

So many raspberries, so little time. I am spending my first 2 hours outside each day picking raspberries.
This has gone on for the last 2 weeks and averaging a kilo and a half each day. The end is in sight. We have many bags of frozen berries in the freezer and a 20 some jars of raspberry jam.
Raspberries with fromage blanc and sugar is a nice instant dessert and really too good to be so simple.
I have a linzer tart recipe that I will print soon, but tonight I want to give the classic Tarte aux Framboise.
This is the tart that you find in season in all patisseries . It has to be fresh. It can be finished with a dusting of powdered sugar or glazed with a coating of thinned red currant jelly.
You need to make a pre cooked crust.
This is for a 25 cm tart. You really need a low tart pan for this! The kind with a removeable bottom is the best.
The Crust:
Mix together 125 g. of soft butter
250 g. of flour
100 g. of sugar
1 egg

Here's a trick, melt the butter first and let it cool so it doesn't start to cook the other ingredients and mix them all together fast. The dough should hold together in a firm ball. Press it into the tart pan and refrigerate for an hour.
Then bake the crust after poking it with a fork at 325 for a about 15 minutes, check to see that it is just begining to brown.

You need to make a batch of creme patissiere:
2.5 cl of milk
75 gr of sugar
10 gr of flour
15 gr of cornstarch
1 egg
a quarter teaspoon of vanilla

Mix together the sugar, flour, cornstarch and the egg.
Bring the milk to a boil and add the vanilla. Then add the sugar and flour, egg and cornstarch and cook it for 2 to 3 minutes. It will thicken. Cool it down and when it is cool, spread it in the cooked tart crust.
Then take your fresh raspberries and and cram as many as you dare, as esthetically as you can and dust with the sugar or glaze with the thinned heated currant jelly.
This tart is not made for tomorrow! Eat and enjoy it today!
Bon apetit, bien sur!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Ray Of Hope!

For the last few months we have been waiting for some word regarding the fate of the Tripoli 7, the subject of 2 other posts over the last year.
If you don't know the background, briefly in 1999 a group of Bulgarian medical workers, Libyans and a Palestinian doctor were arrested in Tripoli on the scapegoat, witch hunt charges of deliberately infecting over a hundred children with the HIV virus. After an investigation, most of the people arrested were freed but 6 Bulgarian Nurses and the Palestinian doctor were held. The atmosphere of Xenophobic panic that infected the parents and the Libyan public made it a politically charged issue for the government.
To make it worse, the government claimed it had confessions from the defendants which were proven later to have been obtained under torture.
They have been held since 1999 and have had a trial and an appeal just last December but unfortunately the death sentence was given in both of them.
The death sentence and guilty verdict was given in spite of a world wide movement of support which included evidence by the French HIV researcher at the Institute Pasteur, Luc Montagnier and top Italian specialists who proved that the epidemic began a year before the Bulgarians arrived and was a specific Saharan strain of the virus and the lack of hygiene in the hospital was the real culprit.
The Libyan Government of Khadafy obviously knows the real story but has chosen for internal political reasons to side with the xenopphobic hate and fear of the public.
They also let it be known that they would take a cash settlement that was revealed last December to be approximately the amount Libya had to pay in settlements over the Lockerbie, Scotland terrorist plane crash.
Bulgaria refused to pay saying that this would be an admission of guilt. None the less, there has been action in Europe to raise the sum and negotiate. This diplomatic effort has been ignored by the United States and is not even a speck on the windscreen.
In January, Saif al-Islam, a son of Khadafy stated that there would be no execution.
In Febuary, the 6 were back in court being sued by the police accused of torturing them. It was a very good sign that the charges were dropped.
It was announced that July 11 will be the day of sentencing. The Bulgarian government went ahead on Tuesday to grant citizenship to the Palestinian doctor after hopes were raised last week by the visit of the German Foreign Minister and the EU External Relations Commisioner.
The latest info from diplomats is that the deal between the EU and the families who are negotiating for $14 million each is not yet completed but that the results will be announced on Friday. This is speeding everything up and perhaps on July 11, Nasya Nenova, Snezhana Dimitrova, Valentina Siripolu, Christiana Valcheva, Valia Cherveniashka and Ashraf Alhajouj will be on a plane to Sofia.
Of course, anything still could happen...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Here is a video of Frank Zappa conducting the German Ensemble Modern during the Yellow Shark Concert in 1992, shortly before his death. This is a piece based on The Dog Breath Variations from the Uncle Meat Album composed for the Movie which was never finished in 1968. Absolutely stunning performance.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cheneys House of Cards

In the last weeks, the relationship of the United States with Pakastani Military Dictator, General Musharraf has come under increasingly close scrutiny.
The continued crackdown on Pakastani civil society and the rise of a new generation of Al Qaeda leaders with in the country led the New York Times to editorialize last week that "Washington needs to disentangle America quickly, from the generals damaging embrace."
The Bush administration is in the embarrassing position of propping up the Muslim worlds mostt powerful Military dictator in its half baked attempt to spread Democracy through out the Muslim world.
In yesterdays Washington Post, Ahmed Rashid, a respected analyst of Pakastani policy, explained the key problems.

"The problem is exacerbated by a dramatic drop-off in U.S. expertise on Pakistan. Retired American officials say that, for the first time in U.S. history, nobody with serious Pakistan experience is working in the South Asia bureau of the State Department, on State’s policy planning staff, on the National Security Council staff or even in Vice President Cheney’s office. Anne W. Patterson, the new U.S. ambassador to Islamabad, is an expert on Latin American “drugs and thugs”; Richard A. Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, is a former department spokesman who served three tours in Hong Kong and China but never was posted in South Asia. “They know nothing of Pakistan,” a former senior U.S. diplomat said.

Current and past U.S. officials tell me that Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney’s office. The vice president, they say, is close to Musharraf and refuses to brook any U.S. criticism of him. This all fits; in recent months, I’m told, Pakistani opposition politicians visiting Washington have been ushered in to meet Cheney’s aides, rather than taken to the State Department."

In effect, the man who has made and has been linked to the most damaging actions and policies carried out under the Bush Regime, the origins of the war in Iraq, warrantless domestic spying, the expansion of presidential authority and the authorization of torture, now has his inept, brutal and bloody finger prints on the failing US/Pakistani Policy as well!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Une Bonne Claque!

The final round of the 2007 French Elections are over. Today was the 2nd Tour of the legislatives and the UMP Party was crowing that they had an unassailable majority sewed up. Even this morning, the Reuters press service was predicting a tidal wave for the Party of Nicolas Sarkozy.
At lunch we were surprised to see that the very low turn out numbers of last weeks First Tour seemed to be virtually the same.
Last week it seemed a lot of Socialists stayed home, discouraged by the outcome of the Presidential election.
Tonight it seems that the opposite occurred. The UMP voters, perhaps over confident, stayed away from the polls. The dust is settling and it looks like the Socialists have picked up at least 20 seats over the last UMP dominated legislature. This is very good news as the UMP does not have the solid numbers they thought they would have to pass automatically a lot of the major contraversial legislation they had planned.
The Communists picked up seats, Bayrou's new Modem Party has only 4 seats and the extreme right, The Front National has nothing! Marine LePen lost big in her area to a Socialist!
In their first weeks of power, the UMP overplayed their hand. They proposed legislation that would raise the minimum wage a paltry amount that would not even buy a loaf of bread. They also immediately let it be known that they were going to raise the TVA...the added value tax on goods and services, citing the very unpopular high TVA in Germany and Denmark. This immediately negated Sarkozy's mantra of "Work More, Earn More" in the minds of the electorate.
The UMP lost some important seats. Juppe, the mayor of Bordeaux and Chiracs one time Prime Minister had recently been rehabilitated after his corruption conviction.
He had been named Minister of the Environment, but now if Sarkozy is to be believed, Juppe is out of the government!
Last week on a French News broadcast, Segolene Royal laid into the announcer for the way he reported the election news. He mentioned all the races in which Socialist candidates were in trouble and mentioned the UMP candidates by name and never mentiioned the names of the Socialists. The UMP supporters jumped on her for her display of temper, but every one of the candidates she mentioned and then personally campaigned for, won solid victories tonight!
One item of fall out from the campaign is the relationship of Segolene Royal and her companion, the Secretary of the Socialist Party, Francois Holland. It was leaked that she was leaving him after 17 years. After the election, it became known that he had an affair and she was furious. I think that this leaves her open to seize the leadership of the Party from him. The Socialist Party has a lot of young new blood and it wasn't in much evidence in the Presidential Campaign. In fact, there was a lot of jealousy and infighting between the aging party stalwarts. These guys lost the election by trying to hold on to their positions. Eric Besson, became a traitor, wrote a book to destroy the Party and went over to the UMP. He is now a minister in Sarkozy's government. My theory is that Besson was planning to do this for a long time and was the UMP's Trojan Horse.
Tonight is the official beginning of the end of the age of Sarkozy. The ministers are already at each other throats. The people are beginning to see how they have been duped. This should get interesting as we already have Celia Sarkozy mutating into the Empress Eugenie before our very eyes!

Papa was/not was

Saturday night, do you know who these guys are/were? Was/Not Was, one of the great conceptual bands of all time. Two Guys, Don and Dave and their brilliant musical buddies, Sir Harry Bowen of the OJays fame and Sweet Pea Atkinson of Ford Production line fame. Don plays great bass and produced some of your favorite albums...Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Cheb Khaled....
Live, these guys were highly explosive, they invented Detroit techno back in the late 70's. I think they are back together again. This is from 1989.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gateau basque d'Itxassou

Yesterday, I said I was going to post a Linzer Tart recipe. That's coming, but today I want to share another recipe that uses Raspberry Preserves. You can use other fruit jams, the classic is cherry, but it must be really good. We are getting approximately 2 kilos of Raspberries a day now. This should keep up for another week then taper off.
Consequently, we are dealing with them every day and able to make pots of raspberry jam. This is a simple regional classic from Basque Country. It's a gateau, but it's made like a pie with a top.
For the crust:
Put 275 grams of flour in a bowl and make a well in the center. Into the center, put 2 egg yolks, save the whites for later. Then add 220 grams of melted butter, a pince of salt, 200 grams of sugar and the grated zest of a lemon.

Mix all this together quickly, you should have a fairly firm dough.
Let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

When you are ready, preheat your oven to 350 (225 C). Butter a tart pan and divide the dough into 2 parts, one part should be a third larger than the other.
Put the larger part in the tart pan and push it into shape with your fingers.

You will need about 400 grams of jam. Spread that onto the tart. You can roll out the rest of the dough or spread it out by hand and put the sheet over the top of the jam.
Seal the edges. Make 6 little holes in the surface of the of the tart and then paint the reserved egg whites onto the pastry with a brush. Then use a fork to make a wavy all over pattern on the crust.

Put it into the oven for 35 minutes, the crust should be golden brown. When it is cool, take it out of the tart pan and admire it, but not for too long! Bon apetit, bien sur!

"Please Don't Kill Me!"

Is Bush going to pardon Scooter Libby? Both sides are braced for the inevitable. It seems in the media, Scooter is universally portrayed as a victim of a harsh justice system looking for a scapegoat. A advisor for Obama is raising the argument that a pardon for Libby would focus attention on where it really belonged, the Chief Executives. A pardon would place Bush's fingerprints more clearly on the case.

I don't agree at all. We have seen a pattern since the days of Nixon in which the scales of justice do not work the same for Republicans as they do for the rest of us. Nixon was pardoned by Gerry Ford, the man who became president because of Nixon. He claimed he was saving the nation from a traumatic crisis which would occur if Nixon had been impeached and prosecuted.

During the term of George Bush Senior, he pardoned all the convicted players in the Iran/Contra Scandal, using the same reasoning. The American people would be traumatized by prosecuting these great Americans who served their country well.
One of these pardoned criminals is Eliot Abrams who is currently an official in the Bush White House, a rehabilitated ex-felon who was responsible for the near coup d'etat against Hugo Chavez in 2002.

I on the other hand think that a nation needs traumas and society has to face harsh realities to keep the sense of justice and fairplay alive. Where was this sense of Justice and compassion the Republican seem to think that the Public needs to see when they were trying to impeach Clinton over a sexual pecadillo and lying about it to the American public? There were almost weekly new fantastic charges brought against the Clintons and a Greek chorus of blood thirsty conservative media geeks promoting his immediate prosecution for unproven charges ranging from land deal fraud to out and out accuasations of murder.

In fact, when Clinton pardoned a criminal, the financer, Marc Rich, the Republicans had a full blown fit! Now to put this into focus, Mr. Rich's lawyer was none other than Scooter Libby.

Why should we hold the Republicans to a lower standard of behaviour than the rest of us? How can the media try to make claims of of a witch hunt, when the prosecution of Libby occurred before the 2006 election, when the Republicans were the majority?
The prosecutor, Fitzgerald was an administration appointee who if he was involved in a case prosecuting a Democrat would be hailed as the tough go get 'em bulldog type of prosecutor who makes America Great!

The biggest hypocrite in all of this is will be, if he pardons Libby, George Bush Jr. You know the tough guy, give em the death penalty and don't blink an eye guy the Republicans elected as president? The guy who in a Tucker Carlson interview back in 1999 mocked an inmate on death row, Karla Faye Tucker, who was the focus of an amnesty move? There was a lot of shaky evidence against Karla and George ignored the pleas and she was executed. When He was asked by Tucker if he had any regrets, he ended up mocking her by imitating what he thought she would say to him if she could have spoken to him, "Please!" Bush whimpered in mock desparation"Please, dont kill me!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Better White Chocolate Mousse

In My Raspberry Piece last week, I published a recipe for a white chocolate mousse.
It works, but it is a little tricky because it is just white chocolate and cream.
This is much better and makes a richer mousse to serve with your raspberries
Melt 300 grams of white chocolate in a double boiler.
Meanwhile, whip 4 egg whites until they are firm meringue.
Whip also 20 cl of heavy cream

When the white chocolate is melted, whisk in, one at a time, 2 egg yolks.
Then carefully fold in the beaten egg whites and the whipped cream.

Refrigerate for at least one hour! This really works and it is pretty simple and fool proof.

Tomorrow, I will publish a recipe for a Linzer Tart with fresh raspberries!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wanna Buy A Watch?

George Bush, still a little groggy from his near beer experience, left Kossovo a little lighter after his watch mysteriously disappeared during a grope and greet session in Kossovo. The Americans claimed it never happened, but the evidence is here. Watch as the watch disappears from his hand in this video of the event.
The Americans took great pains to mention that the watch which did not disappear was a 50 buck Timex!
Wanna buy a watch?

Ask Elmo

Hey, our friend Little Norville, the kid wiith all the questions has another question for Elmo, our robotic creationist buddy!
I cranked up Elmo in advance as he's not feeling up to snuff today...don't tell him robots can't feel, he only gets more cranky!
Norville, what's your question?

Mr. Elmo, I hope you're feeling better, I have a question!
Were Neanderthals the "monkey men" that Evolutionists keep talking about?

(There is a slight smell of ozone and burniong insulation as Elmo blinks a few times and a couple of crackles emanate from his speakers)

Ping*Cough*Greetings Norville, Ping. Excuse me, my resistors are acting up today and I think I am getting snotty. I hope I'm not getting the flu! Hack*PING!*
Oh the dreaded pinging has started...bear with me....
The answer to your question is No! Neanderthals were humans with abnormal bone growth due to very advanced age and Flood-cloud-related rickets!
Ping*Ping*Ping*...oh did you hear that? I think I'm having an attack. Could you get me some silicone based lubricant, fast! This is serious!***Ping* Crackle!

(Norville runs off to find something for Elmo)
Thank you Elmo!

Monday, June 11, 2007

G-8 Spring Break Madness!

First George spills near beer on Angela Merkle! Now Nicolas Sarkozy staggers into a press conference totally shit faced! Was he doing Lime Jello Vodka Shots with Vladimir Putin? More Quality Time?
Another sanctimonious gas bag falls off the wagon! This time with hilarious results!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Fatal Glass of Beer.......

Hmmm, somebody "fell off the wagon".

Brokeback Diplomacy

(activate youtube player for total atmospheric enhancement)
Steam rises from a king size red heart shaped hot tub in a tacky garishly decorated hotel room. Mood candles flicker and sensuously fill the room with their aphrodisiatic love scent. Through the mists we can see two figures langorously nestling in the jet of the hot tub. If we listen closely, we can hear them whispering softly as Barry White plays in the background......

....It's been a long time, Vlad, I forgot what it was like...

.....Dah, me too, my little Georgey, We lose the cameras, the press, our entourage
and now, it is just me and you say? Quality time!

.....You know Vlad, I'm sorry about the things I said about you and Democracy. I just
get crazy, you know? The leader of the free world thing? There's so much
pressure...uhhhhh...sometimes, I...uhhh....
get, lonely...uhh...a fella has needs...uhh and lately, Laura...welll.....

.....And me, Georgey, about the missle thing. I'm sure we can work it out. You are so
tense, here let me give you a massage. This is a little trick I learned in the
KGB. You know Georgey, you don't always have to use "torture" to get what you

.....Vlad, that's nice, ooohhhh....I can feel that tenseness evaporating already,
I feel so, Have I ever told you how i feel when I look into
your steely blue eyes?

.....Yes, Georgey, many times, you say you can feel that I am someone you can do
business to...You are forgetting, I am a bastard.....

.....Yes Vlad, you are a naughty bastard. Oh why can't I quit you? Turn up the Barry
White! I'm ready for you!

.....Okey Dokey Georgey, but I have to remember my Missle Defense Shield, if you know
what I mean!

It's time to leave the room now, the candles are flickering, Barry is crooning, the steam is rising...let us leave these lovebirds in privacy to work out their differences. Maybe, someday, we can all learn to live together in peace and harmony!
All the worlds national anthems will be replaced with Barry White and his Love Unlimited Orchestra playing the Love Unlimited Theme and we will all live to dance together in peace under the giant disco ball of Understanding and LOVE!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hound Dog Taylor

Sometimes.................there's nothin left to say!
I really miss this guy! It doesn't get more real than Hound Dog Taylor!
This was Hound Dog in 1973 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He played the rawest wildest slide boogie music ever made. His drummer and and another guitarist, Brewer Phillips, who played all the other parts! The House Rockers!
I'm trying to find a recording of his classic, Give Me Back My Wig!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Turkey Invades Iraq

A few months ago, I wrote of the many possible outcomes of Americas involvement in Iraq. Not so very long ago, I wrote about the Kurdish independance movement and the fact that the richest Iraqi oil reserves are located in Iranqi Kurdistan. In that piece I wrote of Turkeys stance in this war and how they now were massing on the Iraqi border to possibly invade and seize Kurdistan.
That is what happened today. Turkey is unclear as to how many troops it has sent but there are at least thousands. The reasoning behind Turkeys move is supposedly to stop the PKK insurgents that are infiltrating Turkey to sieze Turkish Kurdistan. The Kurds want their own country and have been threatening to secede from Iraq. The Iraqis have been making a lot of concessions to the Kurds to placate them. So far, Kurdish Iraq is the quietest part of Iraq, though there have been some very bloody terrorist massacres commited against them.
It remains to be seen how many troops Turkey sends, how far they go into Iraq and how long they remain there. Turkey has been making a lot of capitol investments in Kurdish Iraq. Are these investments for the future of an Annexed Turkish/Iraqi Kurdistan? How will America react to their very important NATO Ally invading Iraq?
It must be embarrassing for George Jr. at the G-8 Meeting with all his buddies.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Just Ask Elmo!

Okay, today we are going to let little Norville,
the kid with all the questions ask Elmo, The Brain Police Creationist
Know-It-All Robotic Buddy, a question about Creationist Doctrine.

Little Norville asks,"Hey Elmo, what are fossils and where do they come from?"

You are going to have to imagine the humming noise that Elmo emits and please don't be alarmed by the sparks and smoke, it's a pesky little short somewhere in his
math circuits we've been trying to diagnose lately. It doesn't affect his Creationist Science circuits, I just can't use him in Vegas anymore.
Okay...Elmo's humming has taken on a melodic bent, he's humming the Concentration thinking music....he must have his answer.

Elmo responds,"Greetings, crackle,!
Where did fossils come from and what are they?
Simple, fossils are the buried remains of wicked men and animals that perished
4,000 years ago in the flood!"

Thank you,

If you have a question for Elmo, please post it and we let his little friend, Norville
ask him for you!
Elmo was programmed by Dr. Richard Paley, Teacher of Divinity
and Theobiology at Fellowship University.

Monday, June 04, 2007


One of my favorite all time books by an American Author is 334 by Thomas Disch. Thomas Disch wrote science fiction and more accurately, something called speculative fiction. He also wrote gothic horror that was hilariously banal, controversial social commentary plays and childrens books, I'm sure everyone has heard of the Disney animated adaptaion of his book, The Brave Little Toaster.
In 334 he writes of the near future in New York City, fashioning a tale that is almost melodramatically like Dickens. He interweaves the lives of New Yorkers of all classes in the bleak near future of 2025. That seemed like the distant future back in the early 1980's.

A constant backbeat to his story is the news reports and vague references to the "War" which is never ending. A war on Terrorists fought on many fronts and seen on TV with occasional incidents making life slightly more dangerous and providing a little action occasionally on the home front. If you ever read the book, you will be amazed at how many details of his imagined future seem to be becoming our reality today.

I was reminded of the book last week, when at a new conference, White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, when asked about the future of the War in Iraq, started to compare it to the Korean War and said that we could be there for the next 50 years.
His report was corraborated the next day by a general who said that was a realistic assessment. I also read the comments of Lyndon Baines Johnson as he contemplated further American involvement in Vietnam and how he agonized that he was creating another Korean War situation.

The reality is that this is not Korea. The enemy is not Communist China, which was so easy to label in the simpler world of the late 1940's. In Iraq, we are busy creating the enemy that we will have to confront for the next 50 years if we continue on this path.

I had been thinking about the massive US Embassy Compound in Bagdhad and how I read that it is the only project in Iraq that is coming in on schedule albeit millions of dollars over budget and the documented use of virtual slave foreign labor in the construction. This is virtually a small city within the Green Zone little talked about and never seen. I went to the web site of the architectural firm, Berger Devine and Yaeger and lo and behold, there was a virtual slide show of the architects rendering of tthe Embassy buildings and a plan of the complex. The architecture is massive, unimaginatively ugly and bunker like. There are residences, office complexes, huge recreational facilities, an Olympic size pool with a huge pool house and enough facilities to house and feed a small army. This is a project that speaks volumes of the ambition to establish a permanent presence in Iraq. I would include a link to the web site here, but it was taken off line the next day as a security risk, after it had been up for months.

Curiously enough, after Tony Snow made his comment and the world began to react to it, ABC News posted a story on the comment. When I tried to access the comment, it had been removed. I keep thinking about the history of this war, how nothing has ever seemed to be as it really is... How one reason mutates into another reason...How the administration has released their take on reality in dribs and drabs, carefully managing the flow of information so the public can be conditioned to take the next step.

Are we being conditioned to the idea of a never ending war? Have we lost control of the process completely and Mr. Cheney and Company outsource the entire executive branch of the government? Are we heading towards a bleak future of anonymous authority from a corporate unitary executive? Will I live to see Thomas Disch's Book 334 become reality?

Friday, June 01, 2007


Today I picked the first raspberries of the season. They are a little early and today there were only a handfull ripe, but tomorrow? I love raspberries, we had a lot last year and tonight I realized that there were still some in the freezer from last year frozen!
Each year my raspberry rows increase, I sacrifice a little more of the property to extend the rows. This year, I know we will have enough to make jam as well as freezing them for the winter and eating them fresh through the season and for the many desserts we research here in La Sechere.
I have the raspberries under netting to protect them from the birds. We have crafty flocks of starlings lurking, waiting to strip the plants. There are merles and
magpies, little queu rouge, mesonge and other little seemingly adorable and innocent birds just hanging out, waiting for an opportunity.
I work all year for this. I cut the old canes that bore fruit when they are done and select the strongest three from each plant for the next year. When I cut the lawn, the grass clippings go between the rows and around each plant. I turn the earth over with the clippings. During the winter, I empty the fireplace ashes onto the earth around the plants. In the early spring I turn it all over again. I fertilize the plants and carefully tie then to the wires. Then the magic begins.
So, I still have raspberries from last year and they cannot go to waste!
I am going to make a dessert that I dreamt up. It had to be made. I invented this last year and perfected it in the research test kitchen at La Sechere....It is so simple!

White Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis

Refrigerate 30 cl of whipping cream.
Melt 300 grams of very good white chocolate, when it is barely all melted, take it off the heat and whip in another 30 cl of whipping cream until it iis all well homogenized.
Take the 30 cl of cream in the refrigerator and whip until it is stiff.
This is the tricky part:
Carefully fold the whipped cream and the chocolate/cream mixture together. Use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon and do it gently so as to not lose too much of the whipped creams stiffness.
When they are mixed together, refrigerate for a few hours. It should be set light and firm.
Take either fresh raspberries and crush them and add some sugar to taste and lemon juice, or you could just use fresh raspberries. If you use frozen, taste them and add sugar or not.
Serve the mousse with a helping of raspberries artfully drizzled or sprinkled and Voila.
That's it
The La Sechere Dessert Research Testing Facility