A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Can healthy taste good?

I think so.  And after all these years I stumbled on doing something simple with broccoli that sure tickled my taste buds.  And I mean, how simple is this?


I used 5 heads of broccoli,
1 pound of shallots
a dozen large mushrooms
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
garlic powder
black pepper

And I made enough to last over several meals with healthy helpings!

1.  Slice the shallots into thin slices.

2. Fry the shallot slices in a frying pan with the olive oil, garlic powder and pepper to taste.

3. Chop the broccoli into spear and boil with the mushrooms until you can just stab the broccoli with a fork.  The broccoli should not be too hard or mushy, but firm and just right.  And the mushrooms should still be firm too.

4.  Drain the broccoli and mushrooms and thoroughly toss and mix the caramelized shallots in until the broccoli is coated with the olive oil.

5.  Eat.

6.  Yum!

I called TPC earlier this evening with this simple recipe and wouldn't you know it?  She has been doing this same thing for years.  And I only just discovered it.   Oh well, but I think if I had more time I might have tried slicing or pressing some actual garlic cloves but I was in a hurry and the garlic powder was a quick solution.  Give it a try and see if this doesn't add a spark to your healthy broccoli!

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Monday, December 24, 2012

This Holiday Season

Image from Vriksha Nursery, which also offers a marvellous explanation of mistletoe. And amazing plants. Checkidout.

It's Christmas Eve and La Casa de Los Gatos hasn't felt so un-Christmassy in years. In our somewhat misspent youf, we regularly attended (for us) Midnight Mass at the old church near our school. The lurid stained-glass windows depicting the beating and torture of an unarmed man sort of really gets you into that Christmassy mood, but fortunately, was not quite so overpowering at midnight; and the procession began and ended at the nearby statue of the Blessed Virgin (lemme tellya, there was plenty of questioning about what exactly was this thing called "virgin," especially after the introduction of "virgin" oils and wools, and the like. You can't explain virgin without explaining sex, and the nuns would probably have preferred a red-hot poker up their collective ass to explaining sex to us kids). Said Blessed Virgin was a gentle, rather faded-looking lady with a sort of blue and gold burnous about her and lots of candles burning at her shrine. But in those days, Christmas for us meant a religious festival, and the joy of lighting one's candle at the shrine and proceeding around the church to the chanting of prayers and the singing of hymns had its own special beauty. Some of us who shall remain forever nameless appreciated that in our shrivelled black atheistic little hearts, for the sonorous beauty of the music, the grave measure of feet marching around the old building, the sight of tiny golden tongues of flame licking at the pitch blackness around the gray church walls.

So it's Christmas Eve, and tomorrow we pop a fat goose in the oven and roast a ton of little potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, yams, rutabagas, and onions in goose fat, and braise some brussels sprouts with a little pancetta, and saute some red cabbage with wine vinegar and tiny currants, and handfuls of herbs and spices and orange and lemon peel, and La Casa de Los Gatos will smell like our idea of heaven, and we will eat a Christmas dinner with our beloveds.

We hope you are all doing the same. Our love to those of you who will be missing loved ones this year. We've suffered some heavy losses this decade, too, and will be remembering those who are gone. And remember, THIS is the REAL reason for the season:

Love each other and hold each other close, dear ones. We don't do it often enough, so use the holidays as an excuse if you must, but reach out to your loved ones with all your heart.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Would you rather have ...

... a gun to hold in your hands and cradle in your arms?  To feel the kick when you fire it?  To feel its cold hard steel momentarily warmed by the bullet screaming out of it, while it smokes its breath into your nostrils?  To hear the clang of the empty shell on the ground after you fired the round?  And then hear the dead thud as the bullet strikes its target, leaving an empty hole and all to often grievous death in its wake?

Or perhaps would you rather have your child to hold and care for and love?  To see the little one grow and blossom before your eyes, this new life you created?

I can imagine how many people are answering that question for themselves right now.   And I'm sure more than ever many people out there saying give me my child, because their child means more to them than even their own life.  And tonight there are all to many parents with empty arms because others chose guns instead.

I hate guns.  If I could have my way I would rid the world of them.  Unfortunately I can't and so you gun freaks out there can breath easy.  Your precious guns are safe from me.  Your precious.

I have personally seen though, what a bullet can do to human flesh.  Years ago I had a friend who was shot along the side of a freeway by someone in a car who supposedly stopped to help after his motorcycle broke down.  But instead of helping they shot him once in the gut and that bullet damn near cut him in half as he spun away from the shooter.  He somehow survived and spent months in a hospital recovering and showed me the scars afterwards that went clear around him.  The scars were ugly as hell.  But I'm sure the asshole who shot sure must have felt like a man.  Look!  See what I can do with a gun!

To be sure, I'm sure there are many NRA members out there who are as outraged as me over this slaughter of 20 children in school this past Friday.  And I am sure many of them are just as outraged over the NRA opposing any sort of gun control legislation no matter how sensible that legislation is.

But for all those people who oppose gun control legislation, they have blood on their hands.  They have blood all over them.  And yes, I blame them.  God damn them I blame them.  They may not have held and shot the gun that killed those children but their opposition to any sort of gun control whatsoever for whatever reason including that they might be inconvenienced a little bit makes them an accomplice to this horror.

I wonder what they would say to those children and their parents if they could have looked them in their eyes and talked to them on Thursday night.  "Sorry kids, you have to die because I don't want to be inconvenienced.  Sorry parents, your lives will have to be forever shattered with grief because my guns are more important to me than the lives of your kids."

God damn those god damn gun freaks.  God damn them.  I hate them.  I hate all of them.  And I hate the NRA.  May they rot in hell.

I hope this time though, that this nation is waking up and is understanding the first 4 words of the Second Amendment, "A well regulated militia" and I don't think the founders were thinking of regulating pantaloons.

To be sure, this tragedy no doubt has roots in a failed healthcare system too that does little to provide for mental health, let alone the health of people in this country as well as other societal ills.  But we need gun regulation now.  And that regulation should outlaw these god damn assault style weapons with these stinking fucking large bullet clips that make such slaughter not only possible but inevitable.

And we can't do this soon enough.

From Roger Waters album, Amused to Death, the song,

"The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range"

You have a natural tendency
To squeeze off a shot
You're good fun at parties
You wear the right masks
You're old but you still
Like a laugh in the locker room
You can't abide change
You're at home on the range
You opened your suitcase
Behind the old workings
To show off the magnum
You deafened the canyon
A comfort a friend
Only upstaged in the end
By the Uzi machine gun
Does the recoil remind you
Remind you of sex
Old man what the hell you gonna kill next
Old timer who you gonna kill next"

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Saturday, December 01, 2012

And now for something completely different

... kind of in honor of Caturday, although no cats were involved in the making of this movie.   Sorry TPC.  :-)

But do I rant on about a lot of things that piss me off and maybe sometimes you wonder if there are things that make me smile.  And there are, like for example this youtube video of a South American moon walking bird, the manakin.

I think Michael Jackson could have learned a thing or two about moon walking from this little flyboy.  Pretty amazing performance if you ask me!

But as if that weren't enough, how about this bird that can not only perfectly imitate the song of other birds, it can also mimic the sounds of other things it hears, including humans or cameras ...

... or sadly even, chain saws.

Nonetheless, isn't nature wonderful and amazing!  To be sure, nature isn't always funny and it can be brutal, as life is a jungle for the wildlife out there, avoiding natural predators and all that, as I experienced a few weeks ago after arriving home late one afternoon to see the hawk in the image below dining on a morning dove it had killed in my backyard.  It sure left a pile of feathers from where it tore up the dove!

Predation by hawks is natural though and while it is sad for the dove, it was an amazing thing for me to witness this bit of wild nature right in my own backyard.

 But speaking of predation, that reminds me of cats, those wonderful furry little friends of ours that often grace our homes.  But I have to ask, beg, and plead.  If you have cats that you let outdoors, put a collar with a bell on them.  I attract and feed birds in my backyard and enjoy their presence immensely.  They make my yard come alive with their variety, color, song, and beauty.

I hate to say it though, but many of those little song birds I have been feeding have fallen prey to neighborhood cats, who are expert at ambushing and killing them, leaving only a few feathers to suggest the bird was ever there.  And I have actually caught the cats in the act of murdering birds.  When I see them in my yard, I throw water at them, hoping to discourage them, though I'm not sure it is working yet.

Nonetheless, there is a horrific slaughter of our wild songbirds by cats in this country where cats kill hundreds of millions of birds each year, probably as many as 500 million birds.

I love cats, they are marvelous animals and pets, but as pet owners, people need to take steps to protect both their pets and birds and other wildlife cats would prey upon.  Keeping your cat indoors is best, but if you must let it out, please, please, please put a collar with a bell on it.  Give our wonderful wildlife a chance too!

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