Monday, October 30, 2006

300 Million

Here are some interesting statistics about the growth of the US

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Alone this weekend

It is always tough when I am left alone for the weekend. I always tend too much towards self reflection anyway, but when I am all alone for a weekend it gets worse. I love staying at home, but usually with my sweet ever lovin’ not all alone.

So today I cooked. We will be having a dinner party next week, and I want to cook from Julia (Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol II), but it is a complicated recipe. (Paupiettes Gargantua). So I cooked it today.

I woke up early (as I usually do). But earlier than usual. About 4:30. So Blaze and I got up and walked that early. The city is surprisingly serene that time of day. I saw a couple of cars, and one fellow on a bike (with no shirt). It was cold – in the low 50s.

When I got back I made myself a cup of coffee and toasted some bread. (Home made bread. Simple, white bread. It is good toasted). I read the papers (three of ‘em) and had my breakfast. One of the cats stayed on my lap the whole time I was reading.

After cleaning the dishes, I made a list and decided that I should go shopping. I went to Costco. Traffic was pretty bad due to construction on I-10 (aka The Katy Freeway), but I was in a pretty easy going mood.

I got the meat and some light bulbs. I had to do to Fiesta to get the vegetables (We just don’t need 15 lbs of carrots) and headed home. Traffic was bad again. I was easy going.

I started cooking about 11:00. The recipe, as I said was complicated. It took about four hours, so I had a very late lunch. It was very tasty. I had a glass of the Rosemont Balmoral Syrah we bought a couple of weeks ago. A perfect match.

Then I took a nap.

Later today, I intend on going to a friend’s party. Though I don’t really want to leave the house. I would rather just stay home.

Just stay home.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


SO here I am sitting at home alone as my sweet ever-lovin’ is our gallivanting with her book group. (they are reading something foolish like Tales of my Russian Winter or Tails of my Russian Weasel. I am not sure. I know that Russian is in the title, however.). (She abandons me like this occasionally. I don’t like it. I don’t like it one little bit. But what can you do? Well, I can TELL you what you can do. Nothing)

I am eating a delicious Tuna Salad Sandwich that Doreen had lovingly made for me before she left. With it I am drinking an amazingly good wine (the bottle of which I am trying not to finish so that she can get a glass sometime soon). It is a Chilean Viongier/Chardonnay blend that I bought for only $6.99 (!) at the Houston Wine Merchant (note to self: buy more). I am reading the latest copy of New York magazine, lovingly subscribed to for us by Trouta.

I start reading an article about Baguettes in New York. I guess I am only reading it because I have a cat on my lap and it is difficult to move. Well, what do I see? I see that the description of a baguette that has a “piling up of little pieces of crust” on the bottom of it is croûtage! And what do I think of from that? Why Crou-crous! So this term, which I thought was made up by my Grandmother, (in deep south Louisiana) is really a French word!

Who knew?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bob Dylan

I just got the latest Bob Dylan disc – Modern Times. It is a wonderful set of music, if you like Bob Dylan. As my brother Mark said, “good thing he took care of his voice”. There is a certain earthy quality to his vocals.

But the songs are great.

Sometimes I wonder
Why you can’t treat me right.
You do good all day
And then you do wrong all night.

From Spirit on the Water – my favorite song so far.

I have listened to Dylan since I was a little kid. All the older siblings (four of ‘em) liked to listen to Bob. And they were my major musical influences. I would guess that I know most of his songs. I will sometimes surprise Doreen by bursting into song when I hear a Dylan verse in normal conversation.

Dylan, The Band, Warren Zevon, Tom Waits, and David Bromberg seem to be the core of my music library. I guess I need to expand my horizons.

I don’t have an i-pod. Mainly because I am not sure when I would listen to it. My commute is only about 20 minutes, and I usually listen to the radio. At work I have too much interaction with people to listen to music. At home, I have a stereo. And when Doreen is here, I would rather talk.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blaze & Coco - my first YouTube

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Military Commissions Act

I just hope that my Year of Turning 50 doesn't revolve around this rejection of our basic civil liberties.

Here is a good article discussing the risk that we are running.

Please read it.

(Thanks Matt)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Year of Turning 20

30 years ago, in the summer of 1976 I flew down to Lima to work at Hierro Peru. An iron mine located in Marcona. That was my year of turning 20.

I showed up with nothing more than my passport (without a Yellow Fever inoculation, by the way) and one piece of luggage. The Health Inspector waived me in anyway (though I can still remember in my mind hoping that I would just be turned away and sent home. It was a daunting thought to be 19 years old and about to spend three months in Peru, never having been out of the US before) and I went to meet the folks I was staying with.

There were some interesting things that I still remember. I had to register with the PIP (the Peruvian equivalent of the FBI), where they fingerprinted me and took my mug shots. I remember a Soviet Submarine entering Bahia San Nicolás. One evening when I was playing poker with some friends, there was a knock on the door and an armed soldier asked to come in. (The people I was with did not let him in). He said he was checking for curfew violators (of which I was one).

I went to free outdoor movies – several of which were from “red” China. I saw Chinese movies with Spanish subtitles. Remember how bad the relationship between the US and China was back then? I felt subversive.

The currency exchange rate changed almost daily (not that I had much money). The drug of choice (after Beer and Pisco) was Pasta. Mixed with tobacco. Did nothing for me. I ate a lot of potatoes once the folks I was staying with left. I had almost no money. One night, a friend dragged me to several brothels. I had to money to pay there either. I went home unsullied.

When you are 19 you are fearless. I hitchhiked from Nazca to Arequipa. I jumped over the wall at Sacsayhuaman and ran away from the cops who were chasing me. What was I thinking?

At 19 I did not really notice the poverty, but I did notice (or _feel_) the repression. Maybe I just imagined it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Nietzsche Family Circus

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

New Orleans Food

We had two great meals. One at the Bon Ton, and one at a place I have never been before - the Rio Mar.

More later.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

New Orleans

I am in New Orleans for a convention.

I will see what I can see, and write something about it all