Friday, February 28, 2003

Moira Breen points to a post by Isntapundit regarding the suicide of French chef Bernard Loiseau. Dipnut has had experience working in a restaurant and feels a keen sympathy for the tormented chef. I feel somewhat chastised, though I took my shot not at the chef, but at the tiny portions that are served in "nouvelle cuisine" in a comment on Mac Thomason's site. I have never met a man who left one of these restaurants without a desire to pop by Burger King or IHOP to find something to fill himself up.

As a cook who's happy just to hear my (edit: hollow-legged) boys say, "Geez, Janis, that was AWESOME," I hope Mr. Loiseau now rests in peace.

UPDATE: According to this story of his funeral, his widow says he was "totally exhausted".

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Don't miss this photo at Mike Trettel's Government Monkey.

Mr. Rogers was a little too late for my generation to watch as children. That doesn't mean that we didn't benefit from his show. When my friend Karen had her son about 17 years ago, she fell in love with Mr. Rogers. She could set her boy in front of the TV and spend a bit of time to herself. He was mesmerized by the show. She could have some moments of peace to relax and collect her wits. What a friend he was to a young mother. Thank you, Mr. Rogers.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Ken Layne tipped me over the edge with this post mentioning yet another favorite Mexican restaurant. I have to drive a hundred miles to find a passable Mexican restaurant, much less a good one. There aren't a great many things I miss about Dallas - my sister, the art museum, the music hall - but there is an abundance of good Mexican food there.

So I've had to turn to the Los Barrios Family Cookbook. Tonight we will try enchiladas with shrimp and spinach sauce.

Darn Californians. Self-indulgent, they are.

Goodness, but here is one who took cooking too seriously:

Chef 'suicide' after critics' attack

One of France's most celebrated chefs has apparently committed suicide after his flagship restaurant was downgraded in a top restaurant guide.

Monday, February 24, 2003

I am adding Gary Farber at Amygdala to my blogroll because ... I like him. Besides, he looks a little like my youngest brother.

The weather predicted for this week is not conducive to constructive engagement with my environment.

All of which means that I need to get on with some spring cleaning and these dark days inspire me to nothing greater than snuggling against my pillows with one of the Donald Westlake novels I picked up from the local library last week.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Lee Ann Morawski at wrote a nice little essay on the value of cooking last Friday. She writes of how pleasing it is to create good food, how satisfying it is to nourish oneself and others, how important it is to share good cooking with other people:

There is something very satisfying about knowing that you are capable of truly sustaining yourself. I am dependent upon no delivery boy. Cooking is independence and embrace all at once. I can survive on my own or I can nourish you with good things. Cooking is a blessing.

I have tried to teach Lyman's boys that the two cheapest and easiest ways to raise their standards of living are to know how to cook and do it whenever possible, and to keep their homes and possessions clean. They seem to have incorporated those lessons pretty well. Now if I could just teach their dad the second of these.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Lastly, for this evening, here's one for Mr. Colby Cosh, our favorite denizen of the frozen north. Never once considered that Edmonton, Alberta, would be so risk-ay (ok, so I don't know how to do the accent. What's it to you?) And good night, Mr. Thomason, at War Liberal.

This story is another good one for the headline, though perhaps funny only to us in the south:
Man, 49, accused of case of snow rage.

This story is worth linking because of its headline:

So, Saudi women are not entirely helpless.

I can't say that I blame this couple.

Gosh, it's dark today. Last I saw on the weather channel we were to have a quarter inch yesterday and maybe half an inch today. Rain, that is. My father-in-law, who came by to cadge a hamburger steak and mashed potatoes, tells me one of his compadres has measured three inches. Still counting, with thunder heavy enough to rattle the window frames.

Reading Lileks today, I was taken by his description of the scents of cleaning products. I have something to add. Lemon Fresh Joy changed its scent about a year ago and lost two customers, my cute little mother-in-law who had used the stuff for about forty years and me. Nothing wrong with the cleaning power, mind you, just a change from a fresh to a cloying lemon scent. She switched to Ivory and I switched to Dawn. Heads up, P & G.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Surely you've seen this charming card from Dave Barry's blog.

The language is not of the sort we use in this house, but the sentiment is so ... shareable.

The whole site puts me in mind of the bride here several years ago who spent $50,000 on her wedding and was separated from her husband within six weeks. They went on to divorce. Guess they didn't have anything left to live on.

I find this article from the Baton Rouge Advocate about an old oak being cut down in Baton Rouge disturbing on two counts: 1) what landowner would cut a majestic oak from his or her property if it wasn't somehow a threat or a hindrance, and 2) what gives these progressive thinkers in Baton Rouge the nerve to think they should be able to tell this guy what he can do with a tree on his property? Perhaps if the tree had received some sort of official designation before the purchase of the property it might be acceptable, but not some retroactive designation. I'd still like to hear the viewpoint of the tree's owner. Maybe he wants to sell or develop the lot. I sure hope it wasn't pure cussedness. That would be a terrible loss.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I'll blog about Miss Joy, who came to my party the other night. There must be something in Mississippi water, or a youth pixie, or something that graces certain women in the South. Mr. Oglesby claims one for Miss Reba, and knowing some of the women I do, I am not surprised. And no, Terry, it is not strictly a question of clean living. I don't know if it's luck, or a modicum of suffering, or what, but I can tell you that some southern women seem to look younger as they grow older. I met Miss Joy when she was in her sixties, and there is not a woman of that age that you can name who turned out better than she did back then. Prettily made up, well-coiffed, well-dressed, and with a gracious demeanor that my Texas relatives only approached. She has been coming to my parties for years, and we never saw her looking younger or more lovely than she was the other night. She must be in her early seventies, and she turned up in good humor, with a beautiful complexion and just as prettily turned out as ever. Lyman and I were wondering if she was nearly as pretty when she was young as she was a couple of days ago.

Finally got all the trash picked up, dishes cleaned, and food put away. Lucy is showing a little life if I poke her in the belly. Lyman still claims to have a loss of memory from the trauma of marrying again nine years ago. He had a terrible amnesia that entailed forgetting how to use a vacuum, dishwasher, washer, dryer, mop, or even dust cloth. Though that was nine years ago, he only has infrequent recollection. Sad, indeed. But the boy can still cook up a storm.

This party was in honor of the people who have been good friends to our marriage, which commenced on January 13, 1994. It has been a yearly tradition since then. I was reading an article on etiquette offered by Nick Denton a few months ago, which said you should never give a party for your birthday or anniversary. It looks like a plea for gifts. Oh, shut up. My friends know that I give the party for all of us. Down south we call that a celebration. We have about a half dozen birthdays and first meetings and marriages between us. This year we ran a little late and got Valentine's Day, too.

Had you come, you would have turned north at the Old Courthouse and driven several blocks up the street to our house. This is a neighborhood that was built in the late fifties and early sixties with a bunch of custom-built ranch houses, except for the the really pretty two-story New Orleans replica next door, on a street lined with live oaks that grow like giants down here, even in so short a time.

We lost the party for a couple of years while we renovated our house. We ripped out walls and installed a fireplace, expanded the kitchen, put down a pretty teak floor, and basically made the interior unrecognizable. It was done with thoughts of this group in mind. How can I make my guests more comfortable? What do I want this house to do?

Of course, down here everyone is too kind, but whatever we thought to do, we did it, according to reports.

You would have been with a diverse group: oil geologists, restaurant owners, a carpenter, an earth science teacher, a gift shop owner, an ex-bank teller, a legal secretary, a couple of high-powered salesmen, an off-shore derrick supervisor, a couple of housewives, an accountant or two, and that sleazy couple -- a lawyer and a journalist -- but that's us, so bite your tongue.

Because we saved all that money on diamonds for me (I wear a silver band from the French Market in New Orleans that cost $5) we could turn to our Viking stove and run a course of food. It was good. First your grilled chicken wings, then crawfish pies, then crab ravioli with cream sauce. We had red beans and rice left from the night before. Lyman did the wings, the crawfish pies. I did the ravioli. We had finger foods scattered around the house. We do like to have some odd food about the house. Last year it was coon and sweet potatoes. This year it was kangaroo sticks. You, too, can order the equivalent of Slim Jims made with the dominant ingredient of kangaroo. Guests thought we were kidding until we showed them the label. I find them tasty and am glad we have some left over.

Our recent widow didn't show after all. She's not ready, quite, and southern etiquette dictates that she shouldn't have shown at all for several months. She's among the women I love and I'll see if I can do something for her a little later.

We did have the niece, though. Her parents are in Atlanta and she is a high-school student at All Saints in Vicksburg, I think. I don't know why she is separated from her parents, but I suspect I'll find out soon. She was on top-notch behavior, so I can't tell. No visible piercings or tattoos or ugly speech. Though come to think of it, she did have a belly. Never mind.

I stay so busy during one of these affairs that I don't get much time with my guests. I did get to ask my two military mothers what they thought of the war. Edward is a nuclear engineer assigned to a submarine in Hawaii. His mother is a Republican and said go get'em. Robbie is a young (by, now, I'd say about 32) career Air Force guy stationed right now in Oman. He married not too long ago and his wife is stationed in Saudi. Cheryl says he just wants them to decide what to do and get it over with.

There was a lot of cheer and laughter and the meeting of friends who haven't seen each other in a while.

We're thinking of arranging a pot luck or something in the summer. We don't see each other enough.

Lyman says if we ever build a house, it will have a bedroom, a bathroom, and a 40 by 40 foot kitchen. Still can't keep'em out of the way.

Monday, February 17, 2003

I'll tell you what I told my blogdaddy, I am surfeit of housecleaning, cooking, good-looking women, handsome men, love and wine. I am quiet.

Here is a pretty post from Iranian Girl:

Today was a really beautiful day, we had snowing all day, a great school I couldn't notice the lesson at all, I just wanted to watch snowing through the window...that's what I really the snowing was so hard & we expected schools to be closed for tomorrow, or at leas in some areas of Tehran, so I was really exited but it's about some hours that It has stopped snowing, I just wish that at light we have that beautiful white diamonds again. But generally I wish that it snows more, because it's just about one year to the end of this long winter, & I want a winter to be always white & cold...

Don't let the rose-cutters fool you. Tulips are the score. I went to Wal-mart the other night and found tiny little pots of three tulip buds for $2.97 apiece. I needed flowers for my party. I bought 11 little pots of flowers for my girls, and distributed them throughout the house. Lyman thought I was stupid and wasteful.

The first girl, J., had a birthday yesterday, and said "Lord, how pretty your house is. I love tulips." I whispered in her beloved ear, "Shush, you get one."

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Ain't nothing like a houseful of southern women. I love 'em.

UPDATE: But no, Nyssa, your hot teen lesbian action doesn't interest me in any way.

Friday, February 14, 2003

This is a virtual party invitation to the people who stop by this blog. If you come into town tonight, you will have red beans and rice. Tomorrow night at 7 you will have crab ravioli in cream sauce, crawfish pies, chicken wings, kangaroo sticks, assorted dips and vegetables, assorted dips and chips, and oatmeal-peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies. You'll be with a crowd of people ranging from 70 to 40 years old who have known each other for 10 or more years. Well, there are two newbies--a college student niece and an unknown brother. You're expected to bring an unusually shaped vegetable so you can Play With Your Food. If you can't make it, I understand. If you do come, make yourself comfortable, but keep the heck out of my way. And be careful of Gloria, she's just coming out since she lost her husband to a massive heart attack.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Just heard a bit of the prosecutor's closing statement in the Clara Harris murder trial down in Houston (as well as I can remember):

If you don't like the way your husband is behaving, do what every other woman in this county does ... take him to the cleaners. Take his house, take his cars, take his children, take his self-respect, take his reputation in the community. You can make him wish he was dead ... But you can't kill him.

You know, I didn't mention that I got a present yesterday. I got a new computer. Now, I used to be excited at the prospect of a new computer, but this year it feels as though I got an expensive vacuum cleaner. It's a household appliance without glamor. A pricey necessity. The best thing about the whole experience was when we switched the units out last night after I put Lucy to bed. While we were working, she came to the corner of her cage and asked, impatiently, "What you doing?"

Kathy Kinsley and MommaBear have been pounding us into paying attention to Iranian Girl. Here is an entry from February 10:

What about the future???

Again it's late at night & after a hard day, I'm here...tomorrow is 22nd of Bahman, The end of ten occasion of ten-day Dawn celebration & the 24th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic revolution...Oh, these words seems so heavy for me, & also so familiar, they are the things that we've been hearing years, & specially more at these days...days of celebration…

Do you want to now what is going on now here??? It’s so simple, just like other years…streets are full of colorful colors & most of the nights there is fire work display in some avenues of cities…TV channels are full of different programs about the revolution & many people tries to remind us that we must be happy about that big victory & again those old words about the Kind who was a evil & Khomeini who came just as a angel & made that dirty & damaged land, an Islamic, bright & great country… & again every ones seem to think all of Iranian people as some fool & powerless people who just have to obey peoples like fuckin Khameneii & other dirty mullahs & should always be just like the visitors of Iran’s movie…yeah., every one tell us congratulation for our present situation & in TV programs everything seem to be all right & great, so what could be the reason of sadness , poverty, captivity & all these bad words?? …nothing…yeah, as they say it really seems to be nothing.

Although, like every year, this exterior celebration is going on its common way , but I feel a special feeling among people this year…perhaps a kind of tiredness or unbelievable ness, no one can really believe what is going on & what has happened to our nice land…young generation of present, are like destroyed fruits of the Revolution & young generation of past, that now contains our parents seem not even being able to look at us, they can not stare at dark eyes of their children that is the result of their movements…so painful…& there is no cure for that nasty pain, so all they can do is denying being involve in making this situation…

Actually, Islamic revolution was a big & of course important act in Iran’s history but a foolish & unforgivable mistake…a big mistake that can’t be corrected anyway; who can rebuild all things they’ve damaged these days & destroy the rotten culture that they’ve made?!! Who can give back moments of our life’s best years that could be so sweet but were spent in nasty confusions?!! & after all who can tell us why???...

And now what do we have left to fight with or fight for? What can be done with these young guys who are so wick & different from those days’ young generation…the ones who have so many problems in their way of living & thinking , with so many paradoxes & the generation of spite & lie…

You know, I’m just a young girl that may have less bad experiences from this revolution than many others, so I think all Iranians can write even a book about what have happened to them…what a tragedy it can be!!!

Anyway…I don’t wanna finish this endless note with a foolish hope, like hope of things to get better, Islamic government to leave Iran, a perfect democracy & freedom or things like this…Although all of them are wishes are all Iranians , but al last I wanna wish enough soberness for everyone to recognize the situation & decide for the brighter future…
…so, it’s not all & there are so many other things to be said, written & felt…Actually the deep sorrow of the dead truth is never over…

Ok, it’s late at night, before the 24th anniversary of the Islamic revolution’s victory…& I don’t feel good at all…

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Friends, today is my birthday. My mama's baby is 46. Martha Stewart had Quincy Jones on tonight. He told of a good line from Frank Sinatra: "Live every day like it's your last, and one day you'll be right."

Sunday, February 09, 2003

It's ironic that I can watch last week's terrible accident that killed seven astronauts, and say, "Yes, keep the program going. If these men and women want to take that risk, give them the opportunities," then say, "Lucy Belle, you could be in danger in this household if you fly, little bird. You are grounded." If Lucy knew, she would be outraged.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Lucy (she looks like the blue and red one in the middle photo) had a vet appointment today, and she is disappointed with her human minders. She responds to the vet much as Mr. Possum responds to his yearly physical, though Lucy shrieks and bites. From what I have read, it is pure Christian charity that keeps Blog-daddy from doing the same. (For shame, Terry, your wife bore four children.)

It was a grooming session. Lucy had her flight feathers, toenails and beak clipped to proper proportions.

In a way, it was a sad day. Since we had last gone to the vet many flight feathers had come in, and Lucy was taking flight in the house. Most of her flights were in the 30 foot range, but she was learning to turn the corner and made about a 60 foot flight from the office to our bedroom. She was learning to land on my arm rather than inside the kitchen sink. It was lovely to see and exciting to hear.

There are proponents of free flight for home birds. Lucy loves it. The possibility of flying anywhere in the house kept her little wings nervous in the morning. She would usually wait until I had got enough coffee to realize what she was doing. She has bonked off the porch windows more than once.

The great fear was that she'd make her way outdoors in a neighborhood full of cats and dogs. Bird dogs. But I hadn't thought at all of what the vet said: "She could be shot." Yes, she could. If idiot kids can beat calves to death in Washington, they could certainly shoot a beautiful little bird in Louisiana.

So the flight feathers were trimmed.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

I missed an e-mail today because I have had ongoing problems with my computer. Please re-send. The last thing I read today was at about 10 am.

I ripped this off from the The Corner, February 3, since Mr. Dreher didn't offer links:


Talking to Israeli reporters on Sunday, Rona Ramon, the widow of Ilan
Ramon, said that her husband was at his peak when he died, the newspaper Yediot Ahranot reported:

"He was a happy and an optimistic person. When he left for space, he
left us this wonderful feeling that we are also part of this amazing
thing. He had to write a will but at the end didn't because he thought
it was unnecessary. He always had a smile and he wanted us to keep on
smiling. We are not falling apart. We are strong for Ilan's sake. We
will keep his spiritual will alive and he would want us to be happy,
calm and smiling."

"I knew that if the launching went well, there would be nothing to worry
about because usually the malfunctions are during the launch and not
during the landing. The only thing that tears me apart now is that
during the liftoff, when we were all in high spirits, my youngest
daughter, Noa, looked at the sky and said, 'I lost my daddy.'
She felt
what we didn't allow ourselves to think about, as if she knew this was
the last time."

"We stood and waited at the end of runway for the landing. It was a
beautiful day and the clock was ticking. When it got down to 10 seconds,
we started a countdown, just like in the liftoff, to hear the sonic
booms. But they didn't come. We started to worry, and then they took us
to the side and told us that they didn't know what had happened, but we
already knew. I didn't even have to tell the kids, they knew

That is the sentence I hate: "I lost my daddy."

Here is the website of the woman, Lana Clarkson, who was found dead at Phil Spector's house. It is suitable for the workplace, despite that picture in the left corner. Here is an article that gives some detail about her life.

Tim Blair has posted a new entry from Margo Kingston's webdiary describing Australian efforts to organize nude demonstrations against war with Iraq.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Smiley Anders of The Baton Rouge Advocate writes in his column today:

That's oil, folks…: Bliss Sheer, noting that a lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in the United States, endeavors to explain:

"There's a very simple answer. Nobody bothered to check the oil! We just didn't know we were getting low.

"The reason for this is purely geographical. All the oil is in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, etc., and all the dipsticks are in Washington, D.C."

Saturday, February 01, 2003

I want to refine my last post. Yes, I know that my father-in-law experienced war, and that gives his opinion great weight. I wonder, aside, if your ability to build offsets your horror at the destruction of war. Bless his heart, he has none. Just a question...

For today's events, I wonder how you replace an astronaut mom who was burned up on TV. Seems like in my forty-six years I haven't been able to turn around before a new tragedy turns up.