Thursday, November 10, 2016

Mourning in America

OK it’s been a long time since I posted but mostly things have been going well and Detroit is a fantastically changed place since we moved here.

So why the title, and what’s the connection?
Well the connection is that if what you read about Detroit in the 1990’s and early 2000’s then get ready because the individuals that just got put in power are like the white flip side of the folks who drove this city into the ground.

This election I think turned on a LOT of pent up anger. I get it I am still pissed off at Wall Street and the banks and the complete lack of congress to get much of anything done. 

Trump came along and said it's OK to vent in ways that have never been acceptable in public and people wanted to vent. I'm sad that so many people didn't see beyond that anger and look at what a Trump / Tea Party America would look like.  An America (white male AmeriKKKa) first, isolationist, turn back the clock and pretend it’s 1952 (and that we are not fighting a War in Korea) world.

What that doesn’t of course take in to count is that WE are not the kings of the universe.  If we can ignore Europe, then we hand it to Putin’s remaking of the USSR.  If we ignore Asia then we leave it to China.

The America they want to back to depends on things that don’t exist anymore.  A huge industrial base.  Being the only world power not devastated by WWII, England was still on food rationing.

We can either be positively involved with the rest of the world or end up living by Moscow and Beings rules.  The ONLY thing that keeps them in check is American partnerships with Europe.

Atomic weapons are pointless because they all know any use ends all of their reigns.  No power survives an atomic war because there is no way to stop retaliation, the other sides missiles will launch long before the first ones land.  And any crazy leader pushed to the point where they have no viable survival chances will throw the hail marry play, as Saddam did by launching missiles into Israel.  If Bush senior had not managed to keep the Israeli’s uncharacteristically out of the war there would be a lot of green glass in the middle east and a LOT of people still dyeing from the after affects.
As a weird aside it’s sort of interesting that the Tea Party chose to name itself after a media stunt that is remembered for something it was not.

It wasn’t about the tax on tea, americans didn’t drink a lot of tea.  Tossing the tea was a slap at England for a tax on molasses which is the key ingredient in rum.  Something that americans did drink a LOT of.  The colonies were at the time the largest makers of rum in the world, and they were no exporting…

So I am mourning the loss of the ideal of America.  

The country didn't change, nobody suddenly became different.  I worked and lived at a theatre squeezed between tenements and projects in a rather scary part of Oakland California in the late 70’s so I have seen this side of america and I have seen what black americans deal with that white americans rarely experience.  I also did a set design for a gay theatre in the 80’s where I and the other straight contributors were given an orientation on how to stay safe.  See there were thugs that would assume we were gay just because we left the building.  Not having had to probably deal with this issue the theatre wanted to make sure we knew to never leave alone and to watch out because we might well be attacked on the assumption we were gay.  This was in San Francisco where one would have assumed it wouldn’t be an issue.  The point got driven home when one of the crew was caught on the two block walk to the subway and beaten so bad he spend a week in the hospital.  He hadn’t payed attention, he grew up in suburbs and wasn’t gay.  Didn’t mater to his attackers.  Perception was all it took.  So I know that under belly probably better than most folks “like me”.

But till now there was at least the ideal that if we had our issues we at least in principal were striving to be a better place.  America was proud to be the “Melting pot”  Sure some were on the top of the pot and it wasn’t as easy to get from the bottom to the top and it was harder if you fit into any number of groups, BUT most people still seemed to believe in the pot.  At least they said they did.  Folks have said the want Trump because they want the america of years before.  Well that America publicly embraced the melting pot and would NEVER have found most of what has publicly said about women acceptable.  They probably wouldn’t have a big issue with tighter immigration, but they would not have supported a WALL because WE saw ourselves as a Melting Pot.  America has played with isolationism before and restrictions on some races have been at times very restricted but mostly the concept of immigration has been strongly supported.

This election showed that a significant portion of the population rejects that idea.  The core founding idea of America.  This is the most unAmerican result possible and that more than anything else is what really shocks the rest of us.

The next election someone will be able to truthfully run on a "make America great again", because 4 years of Trump and TeaBag control is going to leave us looking fondly back on the "good days" of the "great recession".

The “Tea Party” is fundamentally unAmerican and always has been.  The “government” IS America.  If your stated goal is to “reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub” you are by definition antiAmerican.  It actually stands on the brink of advocating a violent overthrow of the government which would be, ah, treason.

And speaking of treason Russia says it was working with Trumps campaign during the election.

Working with a foreign power to subvert an American election…

It sounds like a bad remake of the MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, maybe the PUTIN PUPPET?

Part of this travesty is the fault of the DNC and the RNC.  That is one part Trump got right.  I don’t hate Clinton, I don’t really hate Trump either.  Neither should have been their party’s candidate.  And not Bernie either.  Neither Party when out and found any viable candidates.  Though I have to say the RNC did a MUCH better job.  I didn’t like the RNC crop but they at least had some variety, not many I would call Ike republicans but at least they had some not already on Medicare.  

I get it Hillary took one for the team and was a good soldier for Obama but sorry she is TOO OLD.  I’m a boomer and ALL of the choices that came close with the exception of Cruze were TOO OLD.  Somewhere around 70 you should become ineligable.  If you need more bodies lower the start age to say 30.  I would much rather see a 30 year old in office than a 70 year old trying to learn on the job.

Hillary is not a bad person despite a decades old obsession of the right to try and “nail her” on something, anything.  But she is a TERRIBLE candidate, and nearly the worst choice possible to try and get the first woman in the oval office.  She has a history of doing things that while not illegal look bad.  She has had a (possibly unfair) image of being an elitist that dates back to when Bill was governor.  I know you owed her but putting her out there was just WRONG.  Wrong for the DNC and WRONG for the election.

Trump on the other hand IS a criminal.  He will go to trial for FRAUD, not an accusation but an actual trial.  He may have to do time before his term is up.  He has publicly bragged about sexual assault.  He will probably have to be in court over some of those issues.  He made an issue of Bill’s exploits but with possibly one exception they were all conventual.  None of Trumps have been.  It is now documented that Millania violated her Visa so that means she had to purger herself on her citizenship application.  They are very unlikely to take any real action but she IS an illegal Immigrant.  Who BTW was working illegally and so taking away jobs that would have gone to people who could legally work in the US.
He has been divorced twice and was openly having an affair while married.
Trump employed illegal workers to build Trump Towers and paid less than the minimum wage.  He was sued and lost by the housing administration for discriminating.  And didn’t pay any taxes for 18 years.

There is probably more and the point isn’t that any of these necessarily means he would be a bad president.  Some of our better presidents have had some of these same “flaws”.

But imagine for a second Hillary having any of these “flaws” and what the RNC’s position would be.  Now you can join me in saying RNC How DARE you put Trump on your ticket.

And while I can agree with the argument that with Hillary if she got the votes she and you can’t talk her out of it has to be the nominee.  Though it appears you did a lot less that even try to get her to step aside.  There is NO excuse for the RNC.  Trump is a criminal.  Not a speculation or suspicion or a maybe or an innuendo but an actual criminal who has bragged about it publicly.  And he embraces NONE of the traditional Republican values.  He is not a conservative, he is not fiscal astute, he is not religious, or moral.  He is not pro business (he is pro Trump business but he has stiffed hundreds of small business owners over the years).  
He is NOT a Republican.  He doesn’t embrace the parties core beliefs.  He could have and should have been rejected by the RNC.  Yes you would have lost some TeaBaggers, but you would have picked up the middle and in the end Trump wouldn’t have been a contender.  His outrageous behavior wasn’t new, the fact that you were letting him try to be your candidate was new.

Do the parties survive?  Hard to tell.  I stopped giving any time or money to the DNC when they abdicated an election they won.  If you don’t fight for your winners what is the point?  The DNC has now shown such a total lack of interest in what America want’s or needs that for me it is totally dead.  I will support candidates I like but I’m reregistering as an independent.  My out look on the DNC has gone from disappointment to disgust.  They don’t represent me, or even seem passingly interested in doing so.

The RNC on the other hand????  Does it even exist?  Certainly it no longer supports ANY of what it has traditionally stood for.  I have never been a Republican but I have liked some of their candidates and I have had a fair number of friends and family who were Republicans.  For those of you locked in a left wing bubble, there are a LOT of republicans you would have a good time with and a LOT of them did not vote for Trump (if that would be a stopper for you).

Republicans used to split mainly between the more liberal IKE republicans and the more conservative William F. Buckley Constitutional conservatives.  I actually have a lot of respect for both groups.  I don’t know if many of either side would be happy with the RNC today.  The driving force seems to be the TeaBaggers who don’t support really any of the core values of either group.  They are big on select parts carefully interpreted of the constitution but want to trash the rest.  They want to trash government support for everything but what actually benefits them personally.  They have no long term hopes for America or making it better, or even maintaining it.  Take a look at your roads next time you bump along.  Eisenhower started the national highway system to benefit America, the TeaBaggers won’t maintain it because they would have to pay for that maintenance so they leave it for future generations to deal with and hope it doesn’t totally fail while they are in office.  They want no taxes.  Well no taxes means no services, no roads, no police, no fire department, no FDA and all those pesky regulations that keep what you buy in the store from killing you.

Well I moved to Detroit five years ago and I can tell you at that time the tax base had eroded to the point that we had a good taste of what a minimal government city looks like.  Twenty two minute fire response time (if you were lucky).  To put that in more concrete terms it means any serious injury and you DIE.  Any house fire and you loose your house and all your belongings.  And because of the above you either can not get insurance or your premiums are through the roof.  So you want to buy it has to be cash.  You want to sell you can only do that for what someone can pay cash for because there is no possibility of a mortgage.  Houses in Detroit today that are gong for close to a million dollars were selling for thirty thousand in 2010.  If you had a mortgage then in most cases it wasn’t worth paying it.  People walked away in droves and the ones who stayed couldn’t afford to do much in the way of maintenance.  When we bought the house needed a new roof.  That roof cost as much as the selling price.  The downward spiral happens fast and takes a LONG time to recover from.  This country is only partially recovered from letting the banks have their way 12 years ago.

Assuming Trump and the TeaBagers don’t get checked (or locked up) my recommendation is to brush up on your first aid, buy a lot of fire extinguishers, and learn to garden.

And hope that americans get over their rage at the “establishment” and remember what America is all about.  I agree that monopolies and globalization is generally a bad thing.  “Big Business” and Wall Street will screw you three ways to Sunday if given a chance.  But the solution is not trashing the only systems that can keep them in line.  And immigration did not take your jobs.  Globalization to a certain extent did, and the evolution of manufacturing and energy to a big extent did.  The solution is not to bring in the head of a global corporation.  NOTHING you want is in Trumps interest.  If there is one thing that has been obvious for his entire life, Trump ONLY does things that benefit Trump.

Breaking up the big multi nationals and bringing back the old requirements that government contracts have to use actual American companies that are using actual American components will bring back some jobs.  

Coal?  Forget it.  It won’t be coming back and really should have been a dead issue years ago.  12,000 people died from coal smoke in five days in London in 1952.  It was a bit of a freak of smoke mixing with the fog (the origin of the word SMOG BTW) but anything that dangerous has no future is there are any alternatives, and there are plenty now.  There is no “clean coal” that was a lie to get your vote.  Get mad you deserve it, but the answer is to transition people into jobs that do have a future.  You are energy workers, there will be a lot of need for energy workers going forward.  Make sure the people you vote for will keep those jobs in the US, that is a future.  

Manufacturing?  even if we can force a bunch back to the US the job count in modern manufacturing is 1/2 to 1/4 of what it was when it left.  Figure at least 3/4 of you are going to have to find other work.  The answer is probably not “learning computers” a phrase that would make anyone who works in high tech fall down laughing.  If anyone ever proposes to “teach you computers” or any politician ever uses that term put them on your “never to vote fore” list.  They lying to you or they have no idea what they are talking about.  Either way you don’t want them to have anything to do with your future.  So I’m not sure what to say except that the more you keep companies from combining and growing into market crushers the more jobs there are and the more stable the industry is.  A small machine shop is not going to move to Mexico to save a few dollars an hour on labor.  You are probably not going to make what your union says you should, but they lied to you also.  They didn’t move to protect you from the changing manufacturing landscape and instead tried to lock manufacturers into old models.  So the jobs moved because it cost too much to play the “nothing ever changes” game.  Detroit’s water department had a guy on staff who’s job was to maintain the horses shoes.  They haven’t had horses in the department in generations so this guy got the job well after there were no horses to shoe.  It was a grandfather job the union wouldn’t let them eliminate.  They didn’t do the guy any favors.  We went bankrupt and his job was eliminated and what skills does he have going forward?  A horse shoer who hasn’t been shoeing horses.

I’m not anti union I’m just pointing out all of your representation union and political has been blatantly lying to you any time they talked about “bringing all your jobs back” because those jobs don’t exist anymore and they never will again.  Buggy whip makers had this problem in the past, and countless other industries have had similar evolutions.  Get your people to be straight with you.  It won’t be easy but it’s the only way you are not going to get screwed.

America is strong only when it works together.  The whole concept America was born with was working together.  It is US all together that make America Great, not politicians.  Trump can’t make America great, even if he really tried.  Only YOU can make America great.

The flip side to Detroit when the city was failing big time was that neighborhoods largely gave up even worrying about the government, you knew they weren’t going to help.  So neighborhoods and communities started doing it on their own.  If you got stuck in the snow there was always a bunch of folks to hep get you out.  If someones house alarm went off are things looked strange neighbors would investigate.  If you needed a hand with something lots of folks would lend it.  When arson became a thing on the night before Halloween citizens organized city wide watch groups.  That arson at it’s height a number of years ago was over 300 in one night has dropped to 0 two years running.  People took over abandon properties and started community gardens and tiny farms.  Where there was no street lights many communities started their own patrols to cut down on crime.

So I have also seen the strength of Americans when they work together.  Say hello to people you don’t know.  Get to know your neighbors.  Get involved in local politics.  And I mean your block, neighborhood, and eventually maybe the city.  You can get a lot done if your block or neighborhood can speak as one voice.  You can’t do that unless you embrace all of them, not just the ones that look and think like you.  Not because it’s politically correct but because you are ALL Americans and with out them YOU are weaker.  You don’t have to agree with their politics or religion, or even want to have them as friends.  Just respect them, and talk to them.  You will find lots of things you agree on.  And when you have worked with them maybe to organize the neighborhood to force the city to fix that pothole, they might even lend you a ladder when you need it.  Or call the cops if it looks like your house is being robbed.  You might even find out you like each other.  And after that you may still disagree on politics and religion, but at least you will know that like you they are not an “other” but an American.

And that is the best outcome I can see from this disgusting election cycle.

Maybe, just maybe people will finely realize if they don’t learn work together nothing will ever get better.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Report From the frozen midwest - and the NCL

So long time and no posts WTF? Well life mostly.

But we are in the first “real” winter since our improve adventure started. Last Feb. I was in the Bay Area and it was colder there than in Detroit. This year I’m hear and it’s in the 70’s in the Bay Area and Detroit is breaking records for cold and snow.

Jan. was the snowiest Jan. ever recorded in Detroit, and the coldest. As it turned out it was also the snowiest month ever recorded in Detroit period. With a bunch of days breaking individual records.

Feb. is looking like more of the same. Lots of snow and a few heat waves in the 40’s but mostly in the teens.

The most snow ever recorded in winter in Detroit was 93.6 inches in 1880-1881

As of Feb. 11Detroit had 70.8. Which kicked 1899-1900 out of fit place (69.1).

We had probably an inch accumulate this week and we are scheduled to have about four inches today and tonight so that might jump us right into third place leaving 2007-2008 (71.7) and 1981-1982 (74.0) in the dust.

To get to number two it only takes a few more inches (1925-1926 (78.9)), but number one still has a sizable lead. On the other hand we are only had way through Feb. and the year I first got here it was still snowing in April, so we still have a good chance.

Last year was the wettest one ever recorded for Detroit, and California is officially in a drought. So obviously Climate change is fiction...

Actually I generally bypass the whole political question and go straight to the “weird shit is happening more often” and if we can’t agree on what is causing it can we agree to try to find ways to survive it?

Because wether it’s people driving cars, or a cyclic change, or “god’s will”, we all have a vested interest in trying to find a way to stick around till things get better. So stuff like solar power and alternative fuels can be pushed as ways to stop climate change, but that is a hard sell to some. But they can also be sold as ways to survive what is obviously happening. Because when everyone north of Panama gets “real” winters and the far north, like Detroit, is only getting a month or two of thaw, it’s going to get tricky survival wise.

And BTW the heat and Drought are bad but what the scientists keep pointing out, but somehow doesn’t get a lot of press, is that the heat only goes so far, then the gulf stream changes and in a decade or so we are in an ice age.

I grew up with the concept of ice ages taking thousands of years to happen. But then they took core samples from the arctic ice pack and oops, the last one came on in about ten years. Atlanta had a hard time with a few inches of snow how are they going to do with permafrost in 2025?

I love bread but if the wheat states don’t get a growing season what do you think is going to happen to the price of bread? The basic thing is that world population was growing at a dangerous level. It’s tapered off. And it’s sustainable, but what happens when you cut the food supply in half?

Where do you get the power to keep the population from freezing to death.

But lets get to the really important stuff. No grains no BEER. Or bourbon, etc. No spring no Baseball. No Nascar (they could do it indoors but then they would have to use electric cars to avoid asphyxiating everyone, so Prius nascar?)) No grazing land, no hamburgers.

American’s will be forced to watch Curling on Sundays and sip some heavily marketed beverage made from recycled urine. OK the beverage is close to what those guys are drinking now so they may not notice that part. But no pretzels or burgers to go with it!, that’s a show stopper.

So stop trying to sell climate change, or trying to get people to do “what’s good for the earth”. Sell the image of drinking piss while watching curling as what is waiting around the corner. NCL Sundays, anyone?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

THank you Julia Child

Thank you Julia Child, and my parents more directly.

Why would I say that? Well I’m sitting here by a fire on the coldest day Iv’e lived through (with the possible exception of some day in Germany when I was an infant - not sure how much german winter I “lived though” before I was hauled stateside) eating ice-cream w/ chocolate sauce sitting in a pair of KrumKakes.

I woke up this morning and it was three degrees outside with a wind chill of -20. For a Bay Area boy that’s COLD!

I guess it’s cold for around here also because they were warning people to not go outside and make sure your pets were all in so they wouldn’t freeze to death.

I decided to use this weird pa n that must have been my Norwegian grandmothers (it makes a Norwegian waffle cookie called a KrumKake and I can’t remember ever having any except at her house). My mother must have inherited it and I inherited it from her. I’ve never seen it used and didn’t have any recipes, actually didn’t know what the name of the cookie was till I looked it up. They are a bit like a Scandinavian version of cannoli. You know “leave the gun, take the cannoli”.

So I looked up a recipe and plowed on in.

I’ve been doing a bunch of cooking lately. I have a version of potato leek soup I make pretty often and I’m working at a fish stew that is pretty much like cioppino. French sourdough (actually doesn’t use a sourdough starter, Croissants etc.

Before it sounds like I’m off on a Martha Stewart tangent... The point is I like to cook.

I love to go down to the Eastern Market (Huge farmers Market) and I’m really digging (OK I’m dated) the “cooking seasonally” aspect. I’m not a “foodie”, well I wouldn’t put it that way anyway because I really hate the term. I just like to eat well. Maybe if I had a lot of cash and there were a lot of good restaurants in town like back in the Bay Area or in NYC I would just go out a lot. But I doubt it, because I like to cook.

And why is that? I grew up when straight men didn’t cook (in the US anyway) and a lot still don’t.

I do because that’s what we did growing up.

Recently I for some reason got on a Julia Child kick and read a few things including a biography called “Dearie”. Not a great book but the subject shines through and it’s not bad. I think my parents must have gone through something similar to her journey because they cooked well from as far back as I can remember. I say parents because both cooked. Admittedly mostly my mom but still my father is the only father that I knew growing up that cooked other than a BBQ.

And when I say cook I don’t mean “beanie weenie” or “mac & cheese”. With three kids there was plenty of meatballs and gravy, etc. But we also had a wide selection from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and a slew of other cookbooks. If my parents went out and liked a dish they would work out how to make it at home (as I kind of implied we were not rolling in dough - if we had been maybe they would have eaten out more?). Probably not a lot more though because I think they really liked cooking.

So how does this wrap back to JC ;~)

Well “The French Chef” was one of our “family shows”. We would all sit around and watch JC “wing her way” though some recipe. After reading the bio I know there was very little “winging it” going on but it seemed that way to me. My brother and sister may have been too young to have it imprinted as strongly?, but they both cook well and enjoy it so...

The BIG thing was she instilled the idea that you can just do it. And it will be fun. Even the disasters will be fun and fixable, or fun and a lesson.

People coming over for dinner was never a time to pull out the tried and true. It was a time to try something new and spectacular. Disasters, in the kitchen, don’t end the world. You can salvage most and roll with the rest.

It’s been a saving grace since we moved to the Big D. There are not a lot of restaurants that will “surprise” you in motor city. There are a number that do basic stuff really well, but few that surprise.

In SF we couldn’t afford to go out to high end restaurants often but you knew you could. There were any number of places that you could go and the food was SOOO good you just wanted to go home and make something like it.

I haven’t found one in Detroit yet that has given me that feeling. There is one that comes close.

So here, for now any way, you have to surprise yourself. ;~)

That is the connection BTW.

My parents really change the way their kids approach food and cooking. Most of my friends growing up really looked forward to the “special” TV dinner as opposed to the every day TV dinner.

Julia Child helped change the way many in america approach food and cooking.

It’s not slow food and it’s certainly not fast food, but it sure is damn good food.

So thank you to all three, you have made my life much more enjoyable.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Detroit paranoia VS Detroit reality

So tonight we are sitting in front of the fire and we hear a noise. I look out and there are two guys shoveling out front walk and driveway, it’s 9pm and???

Twice today guys have showed up wanting to shovel the snow, but we are in Detroit and who the heck is going to be shoveling snow at 9pm???

So we go into paranoia mode and figure they must be casing the place or are going to ring the bell and want to get paid. I mean who shovels snow at 9pm!

So I called a neighbor because the association pays to have the snow plowed, the city only does downtown, and ask if this is something the association pays for.

Aislinn, has a more positive out look, that turns out to be the case, and says maybe they are the neighbor kids - more later...

But still it seems weird so we are paranoid. Too much of the “hype” of Detroit...

Well earlier we were out walking the dog. We were coming home and a car was stuck in our driveway. Because of where our house is our driveway get used as a turn around place for neighbors so it is not unusual for people to turn into our driveway to turn around. It’s a neighbor a few doors down and she has gotten stuck because of the snow. So we put the dog in and we and another neighbor help push/ rock her car so she can get some traction and make the move.

As it turns out it’s her kids! She has sent them out in the cold to shovel our walk and driveway.

It’s a good thing and our paranoia, maybe more my paranoia, has gotten us on the defensive over a good neighbor thing.

It’s funny because in San Francisco where there is less “paranoia” (for no good reason) we would have been shocked at this, but here in Detroit there is a very strong neighbor helps a neighbor culture and in reality we should have expected this. It was one of the first things Aislinn thought but it just seemed “strange” from a west coast orientation so we got paranoid.

Maybe it’s because we did have 5-6 inches of snow and that is a bad thing to be stuck in, and there is no way we would let someone sit out there in stuck in those conditions but it never occurred to me that someone would “repay” that “kindness” by going out in sub freezing temps to shovel out snow.

So it changed from paranoia to a “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of moments.

It’s great when life surprises you in a good way. It happens more times than not in Detroit.

Kind of the opposite of the press that you read on Detroit.

Maybe after we live here awhile it will seem normal, but right now it still is one of those “wow” moments.

And a great cap to the Christmas week.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Summing up a bunch of months

It’s been awhile. So lets see... what happened.

Still living in Detroit ;~) and there are a number of ways you can take that.

Here are some tit bits and now that it’s snowing I’m going to finish up a bunch I started earlier so there should be a little flurry of activity ;~)

Kid Rock has moved into the hood, kind of.

Apparently he looked at a house down the street but actually bought another place. East side good size colonial... So it has to be around here someplace. Well actually it’s is around here. Basically down the street till you hit the water and hang a left a couple of blocks.

A slightly right wing nutcase. Actually as far as I can tell not really a nut case as in Ted Nugent.

The black guy kept the white house! A lot of folks were worried, I didn’t think it would be that close but then I got worried. So I checked the LasVegas odds, yes they bet on everything, and they had Obama by 90.5 electoral college votes. So I relaxed again.

We had some snow around Thanksgiving :~)))))) But it didn’t last. I’m kind of hoping we will have snow for Christmas, but?

The lakes NEED a bunch of snow this winter, because of a couple of dry years and warm winters they are very low. We are getting some cold weather but it gets mixed in with some warm so it’s kind of Bay Area neither here nor there kind of weather but generally colder. We have been having heavy fog and you wake up to the fog horns on the river honking away. Makes it feel like SF. Though my father says they don’t use fog horns in the Bay Area any more. I thought I remembered hearing them not long ago but maybe it’s just such an iconic Bay Area sound I just think I heard them? But we have them here!

Work continues on the house, smaller less impacting work, though I still haven’t finished the sun porch. most of the floor is out but I need to get more aggressively destructive and peal up the bottom of the walls also to actually put in the new joists and re do the floor. Probably spring.

Been brewing for more parties and such. My numbers are going to be close to 150 gallons this year!

Speaking of which we kind of resurrected out Thanksgiving dinner. Camille was the only other family to make it and we held it on the Sat after Thanksgiving (hardly anybody was available on Thanksgiving) but we had just under 30 folks and it was very reminiscent for the SF annual bash.

The BIG change here is that they all fit in the dinning room!

The kids, there were a bunch of younger ones, had a grand time doing all kinds of stuff that their parents thankfully didn’t know about till later, but no permanent scars and they cleaned up after themselves!

I tried pickling, not so successful. And made a bunch of chili souses from the huge late crop of peppers.

That reminds me. Aislinn was hot to do raised planter beds so we build four 2X8 beds and she stuffed them with all kinds of plants the GREENING of DETROIT was giving away. We ended up with a monstrous crop of tomatoes, a bunch of tomatillos bunches of peppers and pounds of eggplant. We still have some cabbage and broccoli out there (winter is late) and piles of herbs.

OK I’m signing off this post.

To Be Continued.........



Friday, December 7, 2012

Slow food what a awful name

In a fast world who has time for slow food. OK I get it it’s the opposite of “fast food”, but it sounds like eating in an eastern block country where it takes an hour to get a menu. And that is the WRONG impression to make.

What is it about?

Well, not eating poisoned disease laden food. Not eating meat that has been processed in such filthy conditions that they have to soak it in toxic chemicals so it has a chance of passing a rare FDA check.

Now there are laws around the country that say IF I say something bad about say the meat industry they can sue me. It doesn’t matter if what I say is true or not it’s still bad for business and so they can sue me.

Well I won’t say anything bad about the food industry, but personally I would rather eat food than a factory product.

Fortunately I can say negative things about the government, at least for now.

And while the “evil” corporations are the “perpetrators” that is kind of what they are supposed to do. We would all like business to think about the environment and the future and well their customers health. But WE (as in the government we let govern) have passed laws that push them to always look for the short term profit. Ideally they would be “good citizens” and fight that but really when was the last time someone gave you some money that you handed back for ethical reasons?

So they are doing some “bad” things but the FDA is supposed to keep that from happening. Democrats AND Republicans have gutted the agencies that are here to protect us from those bad practices. At best it’s a 50-50 thing.

Back to the topic.

The name is trying to imply the opposite of Fast Food. But really good food can be fast and you can take a long time to make junk.

So I stick “slow food” in with other bad names like “global warming” and “foodie” and pretend I heard a better name.

Maybe unjunk food, or how about, and this is radical, Real food.

Basically look at the ingredients, if it doesn’t sound like stuff you should put in your mouth then don’t.

Of course you could go radical and actually cook your own food.

It’s not always possible, unless you get a bit crazy with it or have a LOT more free time than most people do. BUT you can cook 90% of what you eat and buy your ingredients with some thought of where it came from. I try not to buy produce that has traveled thousands of miles and especially if it’s from a country with a spotty track record of public safety. In most places you can head to a farmers market and buy from the people who grew it. You can also often buy meat from ranchers at the market. That depends a lot on where you are of course. Fish also is often available that is fresh and not shipped in from a distant land.

Most cities also have shops or areas that are a close second to the farmers market. In the Bay Area you can go down to the docks and get very fresh fish. In Detroit you can also get fresh fish, though most of what is fresh is fresh water fish, but there is lots of that. We also have a HUGE farmers market. It has tons of produce, and fish and meat. The meat is seasonal, as in they don’t sell fresh meat when it’s not freezing out side, but some of the same people sell frozen during the summer. There is some fish but there is also a shop across the street that has a large selection of fish and meat.

Once you have the “stuff” meals are not that hard.

Breakfast can be made in not much longer than it takes for the coffee to brew.

Lunch can be very fast as in make a sandwich.

Dinner could take a long time, or be very quick.

Even things like bread that take “a long time”, don’t actually take a lot of your time. Mix it up, beat the hell out of it, and let it sit for some hours. Beat it again, shape it, let it sit for an hour or so and pop it in the oven.

Your time is maybe 15-30 min total, quicker than going to the store and back.

Don’t get me wrong you can spend a great day cooking. But if you need to be quick that is easy also, and you will reduce your “chemical load” a lot. The generation that grew up on a lot of processed food (post WWII) has not fared to well in the health department.

So go out and eat some unjunk food and celebrate the passing of Twinkies, a “food” so toxic it can be used as a defense for murder.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Netflix or Amazon Prime

I don’t know how many films Netflix has for streaming but it’s a LOT, many thousands anyway.

Well I read something about Amazon Prime having fewer but still a lot of films. And it offers other perks so I though I would give it a try. Netflix is not super cheap and I don’t watch that many films so...

Well it may be true that Prime has a good number of films available but most (by far) cost extra to watch!

Some visual aids.

So here is I assume what’s available. It’s a bit misleading since a lot of “titles” are actually behind the scenes and trailers.. but still almost a million


BUT what you can watch with our extra charges is drumroll less than a thousand and a LOT of those are trailers and such.


Now there is this ??? category that doesn’t look to bad but the difference is that it lists any film that yu have to buy but can get free shipping on.


And if your looking for free streaming here it’s ridiculous. But I also think it’s probably meanigless.


So as far as I can tell, and I did try this out for a month, Prime gets you around 700 streaming titles of which maybe 3/4 are actual shows (some are TV shows so maybe less than 1/2 are actual films). Netflix gets you more than the total that Amazon offers including the ones you would have to pay to rent (on top of membership).

Bottom line IF Prime makes sense for you with out the streaming go for it and the few films available are gravy. If you are looking for an alternative to Netflix Prime is not even a distant compeditor.