Monthly Archives: February 2008

On Lynching

This documentary looks fascinating, but commentary on it is only one small part of WoC PhD‘s very informative post.



Filed under Arts, News, Resources

El 4 de marzo en Texas

I am an honorary Mexican, so I get to like this video especially. In the black felt hat Obama looks like a Louisiana man. Check out further selections from the diverse selection of beats at the brilliant Obama Jukebox – from the middle aged white couple tangoing for Obama to the Mighty Sparrow who has written him a calypso.

Update: in additional Obama lore, it appears he is a Myers-Briggs ENFP. I am, too, so maybe this is why I like him, but if we are going to use these sorts of metrics, I am more interested in his astrological chart. As a Capricorn, I am a good manager despite being a non-controlling ENFP. Obama seems to be a 9th house Leo with a 7th house Gemini moon. We need to erect his birth chart (August 4, 1961, in Hawaii, but I need the exact place and time) and learn predictive astrology (not an easy subject).



Filed under Movement, Songs


I am supposed to be at a dance to help raise money for a probably dying colleague who does not have supplemental health insurance, but I am at work. I may make the dance yet; if not I can still donate to the cause. The following came from a comments thread:

Comment: This point about the Clintons’ claims to be supporting the working class and the poor and their actual record during Bill’s administration is really central for me. I have never gotten why she allegedly awakens such significant sympathies among blue collar workers. One of the things that bothers me about her is how she and her husband built their records at the expense of people who had no chance of defending themselves. Because as we all know, welfare recipients don’t vote (and if they try, are often stymied by registration requirements if their housing situation does not meet the high standards of registration committees).

Z, the Wicked, quickly realizing this needs to be a post of its own: I actually do not have the faintest idea why they are supposed to be poor-friendly. Now the Houston Chronicle and the Cleveland Plain Dealer have endorsed Obama. I dislike the Hillary campaign intensely for its:

* sense of entitlement;
* condescension;
* insistence that disagreement with her on any point is sexism;
* claim that Bill’s achievements are half hers, coupled with the…
* …concurrent claim that if you do not like his achievements and say so, then you are unfairly conflating the two of them.

Meanwhile, Amiri Baraka notes that Obama won’t have much of a Black agenda unless there is a movement pushing for it. What amazes me is that he has to point that out. The reason I am for Obama is not that I think he will Fix Everything but that I think he could actually be moved by such a movement. Bill Clinton showed from the beginning of his first Presidency on that he could most effectively be moved by and to the right.

And Sylvia says this et c’est bien beau, and Carmen says that, and they are women of color not toeing the Clinton line, and I can just hear those Clintons saying, if the pressure rises, like the character Howard in In the Company of Men when turned down by a woman (“But you are handicapped. You don’t get to choose.”): “You are not white. You do not understand the terrible struggles, the sufferings, of privileged white women. You do not get to choose.”



Filed under News

Five Minutes

1. I saw this movie and then bought this tea and it has changed me for ever, as I did not know I had never had really good tea before. I have realized that coffee is really good and really powerful if you only drink it at 4 PM, my least favorite hour of the day.

2. Puebla is not my favorite city in Mexico, but it has the best food. If you are going to serve Frida Kahlo meals as I aspire to do, you must have the correct plates. I try to buy Talavera pottery in Puebla itself or at least at the D.F. FONART, but there is also the Talavera Shop. Talavera earthenware must meet certain technical standards to be authentic, although there are great differences in style and pattern from workshop to workshop. This store has real Talavera in a good version, and charges less than do many impostors.

3. As I keep saying, I can cook faster than you can microwave or call out. Try some more of that redfish, personally caught by me: sautée sliced scallions, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil. When they are soft, which will not take long, put redfish fillets on top. Pour in a large glass of good white wine, and cover. Poach like this for a very few minutes. You do not want to overcook this as the fish will remain edible but lose its delicacy. While the fish poaches or perhaps ahead of time, make a simple salad.

4. I am writing faster, too. Scholarly pieces are now easier than blogging, what happened – or is it just that I am not at the beginning stages of any at this moment? Is it because of after years of saying “give it a chance,” I have finally gone back to giving myself one? Is it because I have a certain sense of urgency, having planned at least tentatively on the June 2008 LSAT?

5. I have discovered an excellent blog, Amorphous Funk. Observe it on the Clinton campaign. I quote:

Try to demonstrate that Clinton legislation favored the poor, resisted corporate sponsored corruption, and provided labor protections in its trade agreements. Try to demonstrate that “welfare reform,” “three strikes” legislation, favoring privatization (including that of the military to Blackwater) were really populist moves. Try to demonstrate that intelligence leading to the war was so convincing that not to empty the U.S. Treasury into the pocket of Halliburton would have been perilous. And back off the charge that a comparison of records (which you probably already intend to back off) would show a substantive difference. It would. It would show that the current catch-phrases about Obama’s substanceless rhetoric are propaganda.

Propaganda in my view, of course, is the Clintons’ rhetoric about being champions of the poor. But what Amorphous Funk has to say about the repugnant Bobby Jindal and his utterly wicked employee Angèle Davis is less well known and arguably more important.



Filed under Resources

Cooking on Weeknights

On weekends in the winter it is not only possible, but also desirable to roast fowl. I will eventually write a post giving my recommendations for this, because it is very easy if done my way. Also, using the oven helps to heat up the house. The festive aroma, and then sight of a whole roast fowl brightens dark days, and the leftovers can be used the entire week.

It is not true that you do not have time to cook. I have no microwave oven and no dishwasher, and it is my contention that neither is necessary since it is possible to cook fresh food very quickly, and without using every dish in the house. On any given day I could have you eating grilled grass-fed steak which has been marinating in olive oil and basalmic vinegar, cous-cous, and fresh spinach sautéed with garlic fifteen minutes from the time we started cooking. I have red wine and a baguette, and it would all be very French. I also have beef medallions wrapped with bacon I could grill while basting them with cognac; I would serve these with butter lettuce in mustard vinaigrette. Those are weekend meals, though, and on weeknights by myself I often do something simple with chicken.

Prepare the chicken in the morning or the night before by rubbing the pieces in salt and red and black pepper, strewing them with fresh herbs, sprinkling them with a little fresh lime juice, and drizzling them with a little olive oil. Then later, sauté an onion and some garlic in olive oil, using a well seasoned cast iron pot. When these are transparent add the chicken to brown, along with several handfuls of sliced mushrooms and perhaps some more fresh herbs. When it is brown add a glass or two of white wine or dark beer, cover the pot with its cast iron lid, and let it simmer for a few minutes, or until the chicken is almost done. Then throw in as many fresh greens as will fit in the pot.



Filed under Arts

All Power to the Soviets!

“All power to the soviets” with a small s means “all power to the workers’ councils” and it is a famous phrase from a certain phase of the Russian revolution. I learned it in seventh grade and I like it very much. I often think it and sometimes say it, and I would use it still more but I am told I must not do so without annotation since it is understood as “All power to the Soviets,” meaning Sauron and his minions. Is this really true – are people uninformed to that degree about this history?



Filed under Juegos, Movement, News

On Reading for Pleasure and Writing What You Think

1. I am still reading The Black Insider very slowly, and I have little new to report on that front except that I have added The House of Hunger, by the same author, to my list, as well as Zygmunt Bauman’s Liquid Times. I am also reading, strictly for pleasure, the criticism and historical documents related to Heart of Darkness that is included in the Norton Critical Edition of that novella. The selection of historical and other contextualizing documents is really quite good.

I am teaching this book, so it does not count as Reading for Pleasure. I am not writing anything about it, and I do not need to read any more criticism on it to do an adequate job at teaching it, but I have grown addicted to Conrad – so much so that, for example, I want to see the long version of Apocalypse Now. Therefore criticism on Heart of Darkness now qualifies as Reading for Pleasure (otherwise it would be Overpreparing One Class to Procrastinate Preparing for Others).

2. In News of the Generation Gap (if reading a flame war is a pleasure) my mother, an older white lady who voted for Edwards by absentee ballot before he left the race, reported Monday night that she now favors Obama. What she said of the Clintons: “I am tired of that whole generation, and I really think it is time to move ahead.” Hah! That is what my students said also, in a class where most people are about sixty years younger than my mother.

3. Finally, to read for pleasure and illumination, there is WoC PhD’s excellent post on Fidel, and then there is this post and comments thread. Says the writer: [As I graded, commented, drafted letters of recommendation, and rewrote abstracts,] “I really thought if I spent two weeks not writing anything that was false I could overcome my problems with writer’s block.

I had writer’s block for seven years. During that time I only wrote one new scholarly piece, although I did publish an edited volume and some journalistic pieces, some non-refereed pieces, some short stories and some poems. My writer’s block started before tenure and I only made tenure because of what I already had in the “pipelines.” It was very nerve wracking to be told time and again that I just needed to be more self-disciplined (I have always been, very), that I lacked confidence (I do not), or that I “feared success” (I do not). I did not know why I had writer’s block until I discussed it one evening with a man who wanted to take me out.

I had said I was not interested but he had said just please have one cup of coffee or one drink, one time. I said all right, but the topic of conversation must be my writer’s block and you must help me with it. He said fine. I described my problem to him. He listened, thought for a while, and then said, “You must start choosing the projects you believe in.C’était vrai. La neta.



Filed under Bibliography, News