Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two Massacres Applesauce

On December 29, 1890, some U.S. soldiers massacred a bunch of men, women, and children at Wounded Knee in South Dakota. The military had forced a band of Lakota to camp there that night. In the morning, a cavalry regiment arrived and surrounded the camp. "One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle claiming he had paid a lot for it." A shot went off and the cavalry opened fire with four Hotchkiss guns, which are these really sinister looking revolving cannons. Between 150 and 300 natives were killed and 51 were wounded. As always, the number of "enemy combatants" killed is indeterminate. On the other hand, exactly 25 American imperialists died (mostly due to friendly fire) and 39 were wounded (six of whom later died of their wounds). The Army subsequently awarded 25 Medals of Honor, which is a fucking travesty. I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that the U.S. police nowadays operate as a domestic military force, not massacring citizens, of course, but sometimes executing unarmed dissidents or undesirables (as the unarmed fleeing Lakota were executed), and recently and very publicly attacking peaceful protestors.

Just as Wounded Knee was an exemplary incident in the larger project of genocide in the Americas, so too is the systemic oppression of nonhuman animals exemplified by a program initiated on December 29, 1997 in Hong Kong. In order to stop the spread of a potentially lethal strain of influenza, all 1.25 million chickens on the island were killed. Over one million animals who were alive only to be killed for food, who would rather have lived, were killed in short order so that their potentially weaponized bodies wouldn't be able to kill even one human. This is the price of gustatory satisfaction.

My mom made applesauce for dessert tonight. It was really good.

serves: 4-6
prep. time: approx. 20-25 min.

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 c. water
<1/4c. sugar
lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Throw everything in a pot over medium heat. Let it reach a rolling boil, then cut the heat and let sit for awhile. The apples should break down on their own.

I wrote something for the Huffington Post. Not a particular good piece of writing, but sometimes I like to order a few ideas for further reference: "Some Fragments of a Call."

While the video doesn't get me going, I really like this Lee Noble song, "Parents."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Operation Pull-Out Tacos

Three days ago, the US military officially fully withdrew from Iraq. The occupation has ended after nine years. The whole thing has been almost too stupid, too nightmarish to believe, and most Americans withdrew their emotional forces a long time ago. And I don't think we learned anything. I don't even have the sense we could, as a people, prevent our government from a repeat offense, if you'll allow me that understatement. I propose a national New Year's resolution: renounce cynical reason.

makes: approx. 10 tacos
prep. time: approx. 30 min.

1 lb. firm tofu
few collard leaves, torn into pieces
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, skinned and cubed
2 avocados
juice of 1/2 lemon
chili powder

1. Boil water for the potato. Cook until soft, drain.
2. Saute the tofu over medium-high heat. After it starts to stick, add the poblano pepper and shuffle with a spatula every couple of minutes. Season. When the tofu begins to brown, add the collards and cook until sort of wilted.
3. Fry tortillas in a pan over high heat.
4. Mash two avocados with lemon juice and salt.
5. Serve with salsa!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Brown Dog Affair Ahmelet

December 10, 1907 was "the worst night of the Brown Dog riots in London—1,000 anti-doggers (seriously, they were called "anti-doggers"!) clashed with 400 police officers over a bronze dog statue erected in Battersea the year before. The statue was commissioned by anti-vivisectionists as a memorial to a dog dissected for a medical lecture in 1903 (anesthetized or not anesthetized, that was the question). I'd never heard of this, which strikes me as both perfectly natural and outrageous. The Brown Dog affair (Wikipedia's word, not mine, but I like it) dragged on for seven years! Swedish activists (one of whom was a 24-year-old countess!) battled William Bayliss, whose research on dogs led to the discovery of hormones; medical students were pitched against suffragists, trade unionists, and police (and police—what a different world it must have been). This all got dirty because the memorial statue had a plaque reading: "Men and women of England, how long shall these things be?" I was just thinking about how nice it would be to live in the UK some day, and here's corroborating evidence. What were Americans doing about dog vivisection at the turn of the twentieth century? But for real, you have to go read the Wikipedia article, some of the details must be read to be believed. What I mean to say is that you should read them in context, on a site with credibility.

The two original Swedish infiltrators published a book in 1903 called The Shambles of Science. Why doesn't the Brooklyn Public Library have it? This is the story that doesn't stop giving. Emilie Augusta Louise "Lizzy" Lind-af-Hageby, the countess, was later the president of the London Spiritualist Alliance (now the College of Psychic Studies) not long after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle finished his tenure in that position. Lind-af-Hageby also wrote a book called August Strindberg, The Spirit of Revolt, Studies and Impressions (1913), which is available online. If I ever go to grad school, I'll definitely block off a month or several to read all the books by and about this woman.

Where was I? Oh, food. Um, ignore the green goop in the photo, that was a mistake that I tried to remedy but utterly failed to remedy. What you want is the recipe for . . . a vegan omelet! (Thanks to A. for the idea.) You can put good stuff in it, like mushrooms and onions and whatever, I just used (too much) red pepper and olives because that's what I had lying around.

serves: 1-2
prep. time: approx 25 min.

1 lb. soft tofu
nutritional yeast
garlic powder
cayenne (optional)

1. Puree the tofu in a blender.
2. In a pan, saute whatever ingredients you want in your ahmelet. Then pour the liquified tofu into the pan. Season. Turn the heat up to medium-high or so. Every couple of minutes, scrape the tofu around and mix it up. As the water evaporates, the tofu will firm up.
3. Press the tofu down with your cooking spatula. It won't truly cohere like eggs, but it'll become obvious when you'll be able to keep it in one piece. Turn off the heat. Let the ahmelet cool and firm up for a few minutes, then serve.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Free Mumia Chili

On December 9, 1981, Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner was murdered. Charged and convicted for the crime was Mumia Abu-Jamal, an activist and President of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. Dude's innocent, that's my two cents and the consensus among compassionate thinking people worldwide, as far as I can tell. Mumia has written and spoken out throughout the last three decades, and he's one of the most eloquent people I haven't met. I read his book Death Blossoms—recommend it. Anyway, the death penalty was reduced to life without parole three days ago. Cause for celebration; equally cause for reflection and resistance.

Yesterday was also my sister's birthday. Happy one to her, exam notwithstanding.

Made chili at friend A.'s house. Vegan version was good if I do say so myself. A.'s tradition: chili over noodles. It's good, try it!

serves: 2-3
prep. time: approx. 60 min.

1 big can whole plum tomatoes
1/4 or so of a big can tomato puree
1 can black beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 small onion, diced
several shakes from a package of frozen spinach
chili powder
other kind of chili powder

1. Saute the onion in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. After onion begins to brown, add beans.
2. Pour in tomato stuffs, season. Reduce heat to medium, stir periodically. Let reduce for many minutes, until desired viscosity.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Curtains for Roy Orbison Cheezy Noodles with Healthful Stuff too

On December 6 in the year of my birth, Roy Orbison had a heart attack, possibly due in part to the fact that his music was suddenly popular again and he was playing shows and filming videos around the world. I've never really listened to his music, but I love Blue Velvet. You can watch a clip of the scene (you know which one) here.

serves: 3
prep. time: 20-30 minutes

1 lb. rigatoni
8 oz. baby spinach
1 bag frozen peas
6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
nutritional yeast
black pepper

1. Boil water
2. Heat some flour in a saucepan with some oil. When it starts to toast, pour in mylk. Add other stuff. Make as much as you want. Add more of things to taste, add more flour to thicken, more water to thin.
2. Preheat oven to 400F. Put spinach in a baking pan and pop it in the oven for a few minutes. Cook pasta, adding peas in for a few minutes at the end.
3. Once everything's ready, toss it all together in the pan and bake for 5 minutes or something.

Not a science.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Alfred Herrhausen Assassination Ground Provisions

On November 30, 1989, Deutsche Bank board member Alfred Herrhausen was being escorted to work in an armored car when a roadside bomb exploded, piercing Herrhausen's door and severing his legs. He bled to death. Member of the Red Army Faction were prime suspects, but no one was ever charged. Incidentally, the US Senate just passed legislation that makes it possible for the police to detain US citizens indefinitely as terrorists. Does anyone need further proof that we live in a police state? (November 30 was also the day in 1999 that the opening ceremony of the WTO gathering in Seattle was delayed by protests.) A more benign fantasy-model, then: Icelanders refuse to pay off national debt they aren't responsible for, draft new constitution. Read an article about the US media blackout from August here.

I consider this blog an archive of experiments. Other outlets present just their successes, but here I give you many of my missteps, too. I have no idea if that's helpful or useful. In any case, last night I tried to prepare the tropical root vegetables ñame and yautía. (It's uncanny how much the former smells like semen.) I wasn't paying enough attention to the knife, because I chopped off a bit of my thumb.

Next time I'll boil and fry my ground provisions. And not cut into my fingers.

serves: 2-3
prep. time: 30 min.

1/2 ñame, cubed
1 yautía, cubed
1/2 c. red lentils
1/2 c. yellow split peas
1 can tomato paste
olive oil
juice of 1/4 lemon

1. Toss ground provisions in oil. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F, worry that they'll cook too fast; bake for 20 minutes at 350F, worry that they won't have cooked enough; bake for 5 minutes at 450F, overcooking them.
2. Simmer lentils and peas for 30 minutes. Mix in a whole can of tomato paste because you'd feel guilty about throwing some out but you don't use it often enough to keep it around. Regret using the whole can. Mix in lemon juice before realizing that it probably doesn't need to be more acidic. Mix in a couple of spices in futile attempt to flavor it.