Preference Personnelle
Wednesday, January 27
Neat public art in Cleveland: a 25-foot flower made partially of bicycle wheels, to mark a multi-use trailhead.
Friday, January 22
Beer review: Red Fox Russian Imperial Stout

From the Joseph James Brewing Company, out of Nevada. Not quite black, not too thick, and heavily carbonated, especially for its style. It's okay. Not as complex a set of flavors as Old Rasputin or Storm King, and not as heady an aroma. The label looks like a kid drew it, which isn't necessarily an insult. Pretty drinkable for a Russian imperial stout, which isn't necessarily a compliment. Might be named after the late comedian, which would be awesome if it were true.

(Side note--Red Fox is $8/6-pack at Colonial Wine and Spirits (this is probably a limited-time offer). That's on the cheap end for craft beers, and it's in the Russian imperial stout bargain basement. If you like the style, the price might make this beer worth a try.)
Friday, January 15
Two books I read in the last couple days: Got and Cake, by D. Hardboiled street-lit stuff. Here's a brief excerpt:

This shit is like a bad dream if you've ever had one, one of those really mindfuckin' ones you get on the nights you don't go to sleep high. That's actually why you always try to go to sleep high--cuz then it's nothing but black space and the sound of your own snoring.

If you like crime fiction or hip-hop music, or authors like Kenji Jasper, Donald Goines or Jim Thompson, you might give dude's books a try.

Another quick read: Michael Pollan's Food Rules. Less a book and more a set of epigrams, this thin tome lays out most of the gist of In Defense Of Food in easy snacking format (I think of 'Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much' as more of an amuse-bouche). It's kind of an antithesis to the Eat This Not That books, which operate from the first premise that you're going to eat a lot of prepackaged convenience foods and stuff from national restaurant franchises. You can read it in half an hour. You can read it again.
Wednesday, January 13
Unexpected good thing about the Friday Night Lights movie: several Public Enemy songs.
Song, by W. D. Snodgrass

Observe the cautious toadstools
still on the lawn today
though they grow over-evening;
sun shrinks them away.
Pale and proper and rootless,
they righteously extort
their living from the living.
I have been their sort.

See by our blocked foundation
the cold, archaic clay,
stiff and clinging and sterile
as children mold at play
or as the Lord God fashioned
before He breathed it breath.
The earth we dig and carry
for flowers, is strong in death.

Woman, we are the rich
soil, friable and humble,
where all our murders rot,
where our old deaths crumble
and fortify my reach
far from you, wide and free,
though I have set my root
in you and am your tree.

Song, by W. D. Snodgrass

Sweet beast, I have gone prowling,
a proud rejected man
who lived along the edges
catch as catch can;
in darkness and in hedges
I sang my sour tone
and all my love was howling
conspicuously alone.

I curled and slept all day
or nursed my bloodless wounds
until the squares were silent
where I could make my tunes
singular and violent.
Then, sure as hearers came
I crept and flinched away.
And, girl, you've done the same.

A stray from my own type,
led along by blindness,
my love was near to spoiled
and curdled all my kindness.
I find no kin, no child;
only the weasel's ilk.
Sweet beast, cat of my own stripe,
come and take my milk.

(Both from Heart's Needle)
Tuesday, January 12
Somebody sent me a gumbo recipe. I'm pretty sure he meant to send it to somebody else with a similar email address, but, hey, gumbo recipe. Here it is:

1 ts salt
2 tb oil
2 tb flour
2 qt water
1 bay leaf
2 onions, chopped
2 lb shrimp
1 pt oysters
1/2 lb crabmeat, fresh or frozen
1/8 ts red pepper (optional)
3 c okra, or 1 t gumbo file'
1 cn tomatoes, 16 oz.
3 garlic pods (optional)

Peel shrimp before cooking & devein. Make a roux... use oil and flour in a heavy iron skillet. Over medium-low heat, place flour in the oil and let cook , slow , until the flour starts to brown. Adjust heat so that the flour does not burn. You want the flour to turn dark brown, stir as needed but, keep dat flour from burning. When you are satisfied that the roux is as dark as possible without burning, add the cleaned shrimp to it for a few minutes, stiring constantly. Set the shrimproux mixture aside. Smother okra in another 2 T of oil, along with the chopped onions. Add can of tomatoes when the okra is nearly cooked. Then add water, bay leaf, garlic, salt and pepper. Add shrimp and roux to this mixture and let cook slowly for 20-30 minutes. Add oysters and crabmeat, cook for another 10-15 minutes. NOTE If ya don't use okra, you can use gumbo file', which is crushed sassafras leaves, available in the spices rack of the grocery store. When using file' instead of okra, add it only after the heat is off... don't simmer or boil file'... it gets stringy. Let gumbo stand a few minutes after adding file' before serving. Serve over cooked rice.
Monday, January 11
"If you love someone you should say it often/
You never know when they'll be layin' in a coffin."
Friday, January 8
First Snow, by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles; nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain--not a single
answer has been found--
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.
Sunday, January 3
I like the sound of 'twenty-ten,' myself.
A lagniappe of cultural kitsch and B-movie claptrap

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