Archive for January, 2012

Aging and Sex

January 22nd, 2012 1 comment

Growing old and sex

I think that it was Euripides, the Greek playright.  He was asked how he felt upon reaching such an advanced age.  He replied, ” I am only grateful to be released from the grasp of the great beast of sexual desire.”

I’ve read that it you get almost the same amount of rest when you just lie in bed, as when  you are actually asleep.  More,  while it may seem as though you are awake all night, the truth is usually that you are going in and out of sleep; you don’t notice the times when you are sleeping, because…well, you’re asleep, uncoscious; what seems like a continuous wakefulness is really interrupted sleep. You don’t remember the times you were not aware of.

Looking back at your life is a lot like that.  You only remember the times you were especially aware:  special occasions, sad moments, trauma, joy.  The rest is unconscious, a sort of misty awareness that time must have passed, but not something noticed enough to stay with you.

Like if life were a long subway trip, where you pop up from underground, have a look around, maybe take in a show or dinner, then back down you go, till the next stop comes along.

Categories: Personal History, Uncategorized Tags:


January 22nd, 2012 2 comments

I’ve been on Choudery Road in Delhi, India.  It’s always crowded with cars, lorries, pedicabs, 3-wheeled putt-putt cabs, bicycles, horse carts, donkey carts, and sacred cows that drop their poop that’s immediately scooped up by a young boy whose mother will dry and burn it in the cookstove, busy especially on a workday noontime under the beating sun;

I’ve been on I93 going out of Boston at 5:30 in the afternoon of a weekday, traffic that creeps along for miles and  miles;

I’ve been in Piazza Venezzia in Rome, Italy, with its crowds of cars, taxis, matriculated busses and vespas zipping in and out of it all;

I’ve been on the Cross-Bonx Expressway , New York, when it’s hard to breathe;

But of all these places, the very worst place to be is in the traffic on Woodruff Road of a Saturday at 5:30 PM.

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Commie Pinko Fag

January 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Commy Pinko Fag

This is how describe my political leanings on facebook:  “commypinkofag”.  Accurate, and I am not going to change it for the sake of not hurting anyone’s feelings.

Commy  (commie):

I left Wabash College after my sophomore year in a state of total confusion.  Didn’t know who I was ( hadn’t yet realised my own homosexuality), was totally unsure of my future (I had entered college as pre-theo, that is, pre-theological seminary), and under attack (there were rumors about me being a ‘faggot’ flying about the campus, most of which I was unaware of until the Dean took me aside and asked  me, “is it true”? )

I took a year off from college (I planned it to be only a year), and started working in a nearby publishing company’s art department.  But I knew I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life:  I wanted to finish college.

Then I heard about a program of the US Navy appealed to me:  NAVCAD, or Naval Cadet, which took guys with two years of college, trained them to be Navy pilots (as officers), and would also pay for them to complete college.  Sounded like a good deal to me.  Note:  this is 20 years before “The Right Stuff” came out.

I applied; passed all the test with flying colors; then waited to hear of my acceptance into the program.

I waited and waited and waited.  Several months later, I got a visit from the FBI.

FBI wanted to know:  Why did you subscribe to “The Weekly People”?  Why did you have a subscription to “The Nation”?

Hey, when I was a senior in high school, I wanted to learn about a lot of thing, among them politics and society.  So I found ads in the back of Saturday Review of Literature, to which my parents subscribed, that i thought would be interesting.

We’re talking about a 16-year-old boy, here.

The two FBI agents wanted to know how long I had been suscribed to these publications, what my political affiliations were (I was still 19, at that time unable to vote), who recommended these publications to me, and did I have anyfurther connection t them?

What they did not ask me about was my subscription to the newsletter of the John Birch Society.  And to the National Review.

Categories: Personal History, Uncategorized Tags:

Young Roman Men

January 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Young men of rome

There are so many of them, the young men of Rome, and they are so beautiful!

They know how to wear their clothes, and they have the bodies on which to wear them.

You’d cry, if you compared the youths of Greenville, SC, with the youths of Rome.

Roman young men are thin, yet well muscled, they are proud and aware of their bodies; young roman men show off what they’ve got, because what they’be got is attactive.

Young roman men don’t wear “relaxed-fit” jeans, because they don’t have to; tight jeans fit them just fine.

Young roman men are as aware as young roman women, who are also svelte, with bursting  bosoms and swaying, slim hips.  Roman girls know they wiill grow up to be classical roman women, matuing into handsome ladies.

Roman men will grow into handsome men, knowing– no, owning their good looks.

Categories: Italy, Personal History, Uncategorized Tags:

Maria’s Mother’s Pizza

January 22nd, 2012 2 comments

Maria’s Mother’s Pizza

We’re in Maria’s mother’s kitchen.  Maria’s mother is kneeling on the tile floor.  Before her she has spread out a cloth, and on the cloth she has a plastic bucket, a bag of white flour and a bag of semssmolina flour, dry yeast, a bottle of olive oil, salt, and water.

Maria’s mother is making pizza dough.  She’s showing us how it’s done.

We are seven guests from the locanda, the guest house, where Maria works.  We’ve walked down to Maria’s mother’s house, about half a kilometer along a dirt road, through the rolling hills of Tuscany, the sunfllowers in bloom across the vallley.  It’s a brilliant spring day; here in Maria’s mother’s kitchen, however, it’s quite dark.  Most Italian kitchens are quite dark.  And tiny.  Mama would never complain.

Maria’s mother — none of us learned her name — lifts the bag of white flour, and pours an amount into the plastic bucket.  She then scoops some semolina flour from the other bag and adds it to the white flour.  She adds several pinches of yeast, a small palm of salt, several glugs from the olive oil bottle, and several glugs of water.

“You’ll notice,” I comment, “The scientific precision of measurement.”  We all chuckle.  Maria’s mother smiles.  She speaks no english; neither does Maria.

Maria’s mother starts mixing these ingredients in the plastic pail, putting her weight into the task.

I’m in my own kitchen in Carolina, starting my pizza dough.  I measure out three cups of white flour, one of semolina, four teaspoons dry yeast, two teaspoons salt, three tablespoons of olive oil, and 1-5/8 cups warm water.  These all I dump into the bread making machine, set the control to “dough”, and press the start button.

Maria’s mother, after about five minutes, has created a lovely, spongy, pliable dough.  We can see what a great mixing container is the plastic bucket–not like a ceramic bowl, which is unmaliable, but somthing you can bend and twist to make it easier for you to knead the dough.

Now the dough will need to rise.  But we don’t have to wait for that–Maria’s mother has already made a recipe of dough, which she has already let rise, kneaded again, let rise, kneaded, then divided and set out to rest under damp cloths.

My breakmaker’s alarm goes off;  I remove the dough onto a floured wooden board, knead it a few times, divide it in two, then wrap each half in plastic wrap.  these will sit for one-half hour.

We all troop out of the kitchen, into the back yard of the house.  It’s a three-story old farm house.  Three generations are living here, three sons and families, the mother, her grandchildren. The men are working in town, and will be home later.  The grandchildren, not yet in school, are busy in a room upstairs.   We are on the piazzetta, or veranda, where there are set up several tables,.

Toward the bottom of the grassy yard is a brick oven.  We understand that Maria’s mother bakes bread in this oven evry week.  Maria is taking a part, stoking the oven with the knarled logs of olive wood.
Now the preparatio really starts.  The alrady divided dough is brought out.  Maria’s mother rolls out the dough, exquisitely thin, and starts putting on the toppings.

In my kitchen, I roll out the dough with a wine battle roller, then pile on the toppings: garlic, olives, red pepper, salt/pepper, oregano, a bit of tomato sause, basil, arugula, mozzarella, gorgonzola.

She makes really simple pizzas:  oil-salt-and-rosemary;  garlic and oil and tomato; usually just two or three ingredients.

The pizzas go zipping into the brick oven on the long-handled wooden peel, and come zipping back out seemingly at onec, the oven is so hot, making crispy, puffy crusts.

My pizza takes at least ten minutes in my electric oven, whose temperature cannot get above 500 degrees Fahrenheit; I don’t take it out til all the cheese is bubbling.I’

A treat at the end: a pizza of honey and pear slices;  the children join us for this one, and some get a dollop of ice cream .

It’s been a great treat.  We thank our hostess, Maria’s mother.

As wWe e are about to leave, we’re asked to stay a moment.  Gathered on the drive, we see the men coming home in their cars; they get out and stand looking back at us fro the house.  We regard each other as we would aliens from outer space.

The children, it turns out, have been weaving for us friend bracelets.  We are touched.

We can’t speak the same language; but we are grateful, and try to make our appreciation known.

Here are some more details:   Read more…

Categories: food, Personal History, Uncategorized Tags:

Health Care and CPI

January 20th, 2012 Comments off

From WonkBlog:

@EzraKlein: If health-care costs had tracked inflation over recent decades, the average family would have $5,000 more per year:

But health-care costs are included in the CPI (inflation rate).  How does that affect the picture?

Categories: Economics, Health Care, Uncategorized Tags:

Loud and Clear

January 12th, 2012 2 comments

Why we’re not shut up in a room:

Income Growth Chart


(I post these charts so I will be able to show them in an argument)

Categories: Charts, Economics, politicas, Uncategorized Tags:

Honor the Service, Mitt

January 10th, 2012 Comments off

“‘I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,’ Romney told a breakfast forum of the Nashua Chamber of Commerce. ‘You know, if someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say, ‘You know, I’m going to get someone else to provide this service to me.’’

Hey, come on, Mitt!  Even Clinton didn’t fire Monica.


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Obama Job Creation

January 8th, 2012 Comments off

Can’t stand hearing Repooplicans saying again and again that Obama has lost jobs and has never created any jobs. Note that Obama took office during the great decline in employment, and jobs started going up after the Stimulus started.  Here’s the important graph:


chart of jobs before/after obama

Categories: Charts, Economics, politicas, Uncategorized Tags: