Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Somewhat guiltily, I am fine.  Our cable went out for a few hours and another tree came down this hurricane, but my neighborhood is fine.

My poor city -- oof.  It sounds like 9/11: no traffic, no subways, no planes.  Sirens.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tropical Storm Sandy & Shameless Promotion

Tropical Storm Sandy is coming.

I have a new hobby or job -- I'm not sure which -- doing some social media consulting for a book that has more common sense about food in it than any I've read, Pam Peeke's The Hunger Fix.  Please feel free, everyone, to give me ideas and help in how to promote the book more deeply in the `net scape.

I have to go to the store and get some real food in the house -- God, how I dread walking out of the Bat Cave.  But I thought I'd run this recipe by you.  It has a four-HF rating from the doc herself ("I love the recipe") and it has a zing from the lemon and olives that I wait for with each bite.  It's from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, btw.

It will be good to chop on Monday.  Cooking is one of the most satisfying things I can do, you see.  And if there's anything I need, it's a feeling of satisfaction.

If I ever get to give a dinner party again, this will probably be a starter course.


Moroccan Stew

1½ cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups cubed potatoes (I often omit because I don’t always have a carb at night)
2 cups chopped green beans (canned or frozen are fine)
3 cups cubed fresh tomatoes (canned will do in a pinch)
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 red bell peppers, chopped
3 13-oz cans artichoke hearts, drained & halved (reserve the brine)
½ cup pitted black olives (use good Greek olives)
pinch of saffron 

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Sauté the onions & garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add the thyme, green beans, bell peppers, and tomatoes, & cook on medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Ad the vegetable stock & the brine from the artichokes & simmer, covered, until the vegetable are tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the halved artichokes, black olives, & a pinch of saffron.  Continue to simmer gently for another 5 – 10 minutes.  Add the lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Smack Down, Smack Back

Friends and I were sharing some hilarity on Facebook during the presidential debate last night and enjoying some special glee when Obama retorted to Romney's proposal to add an additional (unasked for) $2 trillion on the military that, "We have these things called air craft carriers, where planes land on `em."  I posted, "We have this thing called ELECTRICITY, Governor" to the general chuckles of my lefty pals who were snickering with me.

I posted on a public place so of course my comments are open to criticism.  But boy, was I stunned to find this response this morning:

Yeah. It's made from coal & oil. A whopping 12% from "green" sources. Divorce Pakistan? Nah, divorce O'blahblah. Building the military makes jobs. You remember what a job is, right? Not as adjunct, but with benefits & tenure. The cave as you call it must not have good reception. The dogs can't make political discussions. Might want to go grab a bite to eat somewhere that has cable TV. O'blahblah repeated almost verbatim everything Romney said. Oh, and by the way, on the military--Marines still use bayonets. Looks like your boy's rhetoric smacked down, allright. O'blahblah was petulant--almost childish. He smacked himself by being out of touch with the practice of the men he's supposed to be "in command" of. Romney at 52%, O'blahblah at 45%. Rasmussen. History dictates that no candidate up by more than 50% this late in Oct has ever lost. *little shrugs* Hm! BTW, does walking dogs require taxes be filed, or would that make you one of the 47% Miiittenns was talking about? I like the name "Mittens." It fits: Simple, straightforward, strong, warm and effective.

I don't know this writer except that we both play Cityville together.  My profile page has seen lots of political controversy in the last few months and I know I've argued with this writer more than once -- but I don't think I attacked her personally.  A dear friend from childhood is a well-informed neo-con with whom I take umbrage on a regular basis but she is also interested in the peanut butter cookie recipe I used to make my father's birthday present.  She refers to instances from her life in her argument as I do mine.  The ire behind this response, however, is seething.

We are all seething.

This is the zeitgeist and I feel I need to respond to her and other conservatives who look at me and shake their heads at the enemy.

Yes, Virginia, I have cable.  I work and I pay taxes, to the tune of 33% a year.  I do not have children so the taxes I pay toward education do not directly benefit me.  I own nothing so I have no tax loop holes.  I do not receive food stamps or medicaid.  I also pay sales taxes, taxes on my cable connection and cell phone, electricity and air flights.  Et cetera.

I'm not part of the 47% but I'm a taker because I have collected unemployment twice in my life and worker's compensation once.  I also use traffic lights, subways, streets, libraries, PBS, NPR, Homeland screening at airports, etc.  I went to a public high school, a public university and a private graduate school that receives prodigious federal funding.  

refuse to be shamed by the fact that I work in nontraditional jobs that require a degree of personal enterprise and complete self-discipline (i.e., if I don't walk a dog, it doesn't get walked by someone else and I don't get paid: I'm not claiming to be the world's most disciplined person by far!)

I've written two books that have, I believe, helped people understand their relationships with/around food better and reassured them that they are not alone, not freaks, not even very weird.  I may have even helped a lot of people.  I'm proud of that.

Polls are polls.  If Romney wins it doesn't mean he's the better man.  It doesn't make me a loser if I back a loser.  It just means a LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIE.

Medicare and Medicaid will be left to individual state governments, many of which have such records of grift and nepotism that no one will protect the recipients.  Those recipients include my father, by the way, who is 95, self-made and a veteran.  

But, hey -- you can always go to the emergency room, right?  That drives medical care up higher and only the person obviously at death's door is going to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.  An ER will not screen for cervical cancer, say, or take a routine chest x-ray.  From my personal experience, an ER will look for the simplest explanation -- ulcer -- when the problem is a 36-pound ovarian cyst.  (And I had insurance then.)

I do not worship Barack Obama but I would martyr myself to comprehensive health care.  It's simply the right thing to do -- extend a hand to everyone because we CAN.  If we can run two wars, we can provide health care.  My taxes pay for all sorts of things that neither help nor I believe in.  Get over it.

And if you want evidence, look at life expectancies and happiness indexes of European countries with national health care.  Socialist?  Who cares?!  People are healthier (the Dutch are even taller) and happier where the central government provides essential services and safety nets.

An enlarged military, history also tells us (see Germany in the late 19th century), means two things: it will go looking for a fight and high profits for industrialists.

You can't cut taxes, add $2 trillion to the military and balance the budget.  It.  Can.  Not.  Be.  Done.

Trickle-down doesn't.  I live in a neighborhood of true trickle-downers.  It trickles down in imported cars, imported marbles, gold bathroom fixtures, real estate in swank weekend towns, trips to Turkey, kids in private schools and Armani.

Do you know how long it takes for that to trickle down to Nebraska?

This is the most important election I have voted in because it's life and death.  We either make our people healthier and more secure or we throw the deck of health cards in the air and watch what happens.  We either take a sane military approach to the Middle East or your grandson dies in Iran.  We are either grateful for the actual progress that is being made in the economy or we believe in political roulette. 

I hate it that an election has come down to a moral perception of the world but the fact is that all evidence points toward the contempt someone lucky and suited for a job-with-benefits has for everyone who doesn't and how life-threatening that is this year.

And by the way?  Even the Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch of Fox News, noted that Romney agreed with Obama's foreign agenda.  Obama didn't repeat Romney -- Romney conceded to Obama.

So really, don't assume, OK?  And if you want to truly claim that you don't rely on the federal government, get off the highways, home school your kids, find out if those drugs you take for high blood pressure were invented with federal grants, don't let your kids go to ANY college and sit in your back yard and rot.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Now Trending in Francieland

I will write here soon -- I promise!  Right now, I'm dissecting my 12-Step program over at Psychology Today.  Check out today's post, "Doing the Two-Step with the Twelve Steps".