Amazed at how well this turned out, especially since it was an iPhone shot taken last night after coming home from an all day trip. Really beautiful. I’ve got a few more on my regular camera but I somehow think they won’t be able to beat this one.
So when I did my first attempt at caldo verde I was pleased enough with the results. Turns out, though, that somebody who really knew her caldo verde noticed my post, as well as noticed that what I had made wasn’t really caldo verde.
Isabel, who is herself Portuguese, clearly knows her food in general and her spirit of cooking for herself when she likes fits in perfectly with my own way of things, so I was very interested to read her post and follow-up emails. I’ll quote her comment here:
Caldo Verde is extremely simple (and delicious), the only problem is that you need one specific type of cabbage. There:
So, you peel some potatoes and boil them with a little salt, moosh them thoroughly (it should not be be thick, but not too watery), bring to boil again and then add the cabbage cut in veeeeeery thin slices or strips. Bring to boil again and leave it boiling maybe no more than 5 minutes, add a good spoonful of olive oil and stop the heat. Add the sausage if you want and eat it as soon as possible. It should look like this:
The kale that I used in this preparation isn’t necessarily the cabbage Isabel notes, I think, but it’s a good big leafy one, and I think I definitely got closer! I should have mixed in the olive oil more, though. Turned out very nicely in any event — thanks Isabel!
This was all something of a last minute affair — no fault of Kele’s, I should note! — and I’m not totally thrilled by this story of mine, it’s rushed and feels it. But still readable enough, hopefully — to quote the opening:
Talking to Bloc Party front man Kele Okereke, you can tell he’s from the U.K., and not just from his voice. There’s a wry sense of humor at work, like when he’s asked about his band mate Gordon Moakes’ recent fatherhood. Okereke’s voice turns serious, discussing the tough times that have transpired, that the subject really shouldn’t be brought up—and then he cuts loose with a laugh and a “Nah, only joking!”
The man clearly knows how to handle overly earnest interviewers, at least.
…is this one:
The story behind the song here (the video is a fan tribute). I’ve had this song for a while via a Dr. Demento collection of oddball Xmas songs released on Rhino about two decades back, but somehow my relisten of the disc this year lodged this one in my brain and now you too must all share.
This also gives me a chance to re-plug my year-old piece in the OC Weekly about Christmas music. But there’s going to be a new piece up tomorrow (though not about said music).
And I know you’re out there. Earlier today an absolutely essential series of pieces went up at the Crumbs in the Butter site over in the UK dedicated to said band, one of the most compelling, unique groups in these past decades. To give you an idea of how much regard I held and hold them in, while I wouldn’t have given up all three times I’ve seen My Bloody Valentine over the years, I would have given up two of them to have seen Disco Inferno even once. It wasn’t going to happen, they never had a chance to tour America, but friend Tom Ewing did see them in 1995 or so and says it was one of the best shows he’d ever seen, which I don’t doubt.
The core of the pieces are two extended recollections by the band’s leader, Ian Crause, about his youth and the forming of the group and the recordings they released — it’s at once a great story of an awkward teenage outsider finding inspiration and connection in music and, more importantly, the gumption, drive and desire to take inspirations and turn them into a new, increasingly unique blueprint. They cover a lot of ground and anyone even slightly curious about the band needs to read them; to quote even one section would prompt me to quote all of them. Crause is an accomplished writer, self-aware and able to look back on his past with a knowing but very empathetic eye.
Richard Adams from Hood contributes a strong introduction and Glen Johnson of Piano Magic shares an epilogue with, well, me (and I would have been hyping this whole thing even if I hadn’t contributed, believe me). My offering is a selection I wrote for an as yet unpublished piece for Mike McGonigal’s peerless Yeti, which perhaps explains its abrupt start and stop, but hopefully I’ve captured what I think was most crucial about the band’s work from where I stood.
I’ve heard rumblings about some even more wonderful Disco Inferno-related news as well but as that’s still up in the air a bit I’ll save that for later…
To say that I’m not dead or anything but again, full times — end of quarter crunch, holiday plotting, making some further decisions about a couple of things here in the apartment, and more, plus needing to get back to the good Mr. A. Soto about our EMP proposal (tomorrow, I swear!).
I will say that I had a brief but amusing interview with Kele Okereke of Bloc Party yesterday. He probably thought I was a goof but who can blame the guy.
More cohesive thoughts over the next couple of days…
…I’m pretty tired.
In respects, what’s been interesting in moments of self-reflection is measuring how l’ve pulled back from the maniacal fray of tracking everything but not necessarily replacing it with all I wanted to replace it with, such as catching up on some long overdue reading (I’ve done a little, but not as much as expected). This is partially due to the fact, as muttered the other day, that I’ve been doing a lot more writing assignments as of late; combined with the usual end of the quarter/holiday season crunch and my time is pretty full, plus irregular cold nonsense has been bothering me a bit too. So that literally has made me pretty tired.
But on a larger front — with the election over and the basics of the situation settled (still the Minnesota Senate race to go but even so), right now we’re in what I’ve described to others as stasis, waiting on January 20. There’s now almost as much of a rush towards wanting that date to be sped up as much as we were all just waiting for the election itself to get here, just wanting to finally go in and take care of business. But since it can’t be sped up, all we can do is wait — and while we wait, everything else seems to go kerfluffle, or so one might believe. (If you want a classic example of business psychology at work, consider all the auto bailout talk going around right now — in keeping with my general admission that larger economic theory just isn’t my thing, I’ll refrain from thoughts about what ‘should’ be done since frankly I don’t have a sure idea myself, though ultimately I am distinctly unthrilled with car culture in general this decade and all it entails — waste and excess, size and inefficiency, the list goes on. Say what you will about my decision to eschew cars for public transit in SoCal, I’ll take that over thinking that to solve all my problems in life I just needed an Escalade.)
But so much of what is going on — has (always?) been going on — is driven by psychology, presumptions of what is ultimately at stake in the end. The election was part of that, and there’s been some satisfaction at seeing a bunch of fools on the right — I have no patience to call them anything other than that, frankly — basically say the same thing over the last few weeks: “That’s funny, Obama’s not acting like he’s going to burn down the White House and raise a red flag over the Capitol. He actually seems like a reasonable guy!” If you need an example from today, consider Mona Charen’s Washington Times piece, with this gem:
Superstition almost forbids me to comment on President-elect Barack Obama’s appointments thus far. The news has been so shockingly welcome that I’m almost afraid to remark on it for fear of breaking the spell…If I were a left-winger, I would be tearing out my hair about now.
Oddly enough, my hair remains quite intact.
The functions of power being what they are, Obama is exercising them as he sees fit given the situation, and given what he is able to do. I’ve never seen anything particularly revolutionary in his politics beyond a rather simple and logical enough reaction to the previous years — “Wow, there are a lot of dullards and morons screwing things up at present. Be nice to have something better in there.” As such, I’m still happy enough at the moment, since ultimately the proof is in the pudding and we won’t know yet for some time what that’s going to be like.
This may sound overly detached or cynical to some folks — neither nor, I’d argue. Keep in mind again where I’m coming from in general, I don’t trust political power to look out for anything else other than political power, no matter what the putative alignment. And people get cozy with each other pretty quickly and their differences often split along the lines of ego and temperament in the end — as was literally just said over on ILE in response to an expression of incredulity at ex-presidents appearing at inaugurations, “…neither weird nor awkward…it’s not pro wrestling or sharks and jets, it’s politics.” And right now given that larger context, my ideals remain happily intact alongside my suspicions in general. End conclusion? Hope for the best, expect less than is promised, double-check on the results and see what can be done further beyond that. As I said just after the election, perfection is something I do not expect.
Others, however, apparently either expect perfection out of their candidates and absolute epic fail on the part of their opponents. So people like Charen, say, tediously and tendentiously believed their own fantasies (and there’s plenty of folks on the left who believe theirs), and their surprise is that of the moron who didn’t so much have a plank in their eye as several, all of which they nailed in themselves. I’m not impressed, to put it mildly, and this perhaps is what’s tiring me the most. In combination with the expected crush of excuses as to why McCain lost, it’s downright maddening.
The other day, John at Balloon Juice, whose energy in pursuing all the various threads of commentary out there quite amazes me, had a crackerjack of a post up about Obama’s victory and how all the hoohah from the right since can’t explain a slew of key facts away. His closing point:
Republicans lost because they were in charge of the country for the better part of the last decade, and their governance has been an unmitigated disaster. This is not rocket science. You can argue that Democrats should share some of the blame for some of the policies, and you would not get any disagreement from me, but that does not change the fact that the Republicans were in charge, and blew it.
And there ya go.
…and this is partially because all my writing energies today went towards actual writing work that I’m doing. (Really not complaining at all, of course — the fact that I’m getting more commissions in general these days is very gratifying, and I hope to build on it further.) For that reason, planned longer pieces for the blog might wait until tomorrow. But three links to pass on for today: