2,000 Words

Photos of Trump about to welcome Clemson football team with silver setting, lit candles and prepackaged fast food, and a photo from Snopes of Roger Stone's Nixon face tattoo
Main photo NBC News, inset photo Snopes.com

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

This is my Facebook profile photo and cover photo for Sunday. Can’t stomach it for more than that nor wish others to deal with it longer either.

“Revulsion” is not an impeachable offense for Donald J. Trump, but these snapshots should convey revulsion and the facts behind DJT’s unfitness for office. These photos should imply the extent of who he is, was and will be.

The balance of power has moved away from DJT and the Republic Party and its leadership, with the Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives. That leaves the GOP, which dares not utter opposition publicly to the president, his policies or administration, controlling the Executive Branch, the Senate and increasingly the Judiciary Branch.

We’re probably stable as a nation until a huge calamity — a natural disaster bigger than the worst hurricanes of this century OR a terrorism attack greater than 9/11.

I fear the Democrats will feel they have no choice, in such circumstances, to give the current administration whatever it wants, comparable to 2001-02.

Let’s pray and think good thoughts, shall we? Simultaneously we citizens can further restore the balance of power in the nation’s capital and state capitals.

Any updates to the post will identified as such.

Shakshuka 181, It’s Vegan

Skillet of Shakshuka 181
Vegan Reverse Shakshuka, 181

Shakshuka is a skillet dish where eggs are poached in a savory tomato sauce. It’s North African to Middle Eastern but generally considered Israeli. Cook and food writer Mark Bittman this week blogged on Epicurious editor David Tamarkin and his variation White Shakshuka.

Traditional shashuka, eggs poached in tomato sauce
Traditional shashuka, eggs poached in tomato sauce. Credit Wikimedia Commons

It looks wonderful, eggs poached in a stew of oniony-lemony white beans. It’s a reverse, though I’d call it 179 degrees not the full 180, as it’s still eggs.

Eggs and beans are redundant protein.

A true 180 would be egg-sized tomatoes floating in a whitish sauce. Call it 181, being a one-off from an impractical polar opposite. Mine is vegan with no added fat (but see notes).

The 181 is good looking and tasty. Grocery tomatoes are fine, so this is a year-round dish. Quick. It’s so quick that my pictures should be updated later on, as all I had were red onions and that darkened the stew to about a 182. Continue reading

Resilient Hombre

Mani, summer 2009
Mani, summer 2009

“Nine percent. He shouldn’t even be here, sniffing my hand and looking around, at 9 percent. He’s clinically dead.”

Our vet knows that my wife and I want her to be candid. She is.

At this point in the clinic visit, we’re learning that the lymphoma has progressed to where Mani the Tibetan terrier has anemia. The only thing that could remedy anemia this severe is a blood transfusion, but the cancer stops that option.

We know the dog overnight has taken a turn for the worse, that’s why we’ve called for an appointment on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He’s down to 18.1 pounds where his weight for most of his 10 years was 22-24 pounds. It began dropping on the Aug. 10 cancer diagnosis; we had brought him in because he stopped eating.

A dog’s red blood cells should be 35-37 percent of his blood, so the 9 percent worse than bad anemia. She took the sample after a chest X-ray. The liquid in the vials we saw was like berry Kool-Aid, so thin was his blood. The X-ray showed a lymph node in the middle of the chest had swollen to the extent it pressed against the heart, which isn’t so harmful, but was displacing his trachea (windpipe) a good inch. That’s sizeable, in a beagle or cocker-size dog as TTs are.

We thought Saturday’s might be That Visit to the doctor. The last one.

Continue reading

A Neat Loaf

A Neat Loaf, Thanksgiving 2018. Also, PCRM mashed potatoes and Crescent Dragon's Neo-Classical Thanksgiving Dressing
A Neat Loaf, Thanksgiving 2018. Also, PCRM mashed potatoes and Crescent Dragonwagon’s Neo-Classical Thanksgiving Dressing.

Thanksgiving went great this year, food and conversation both. I handled vegan dishes and my sister-in-law the flesh ones as well as the green bean casserole. One success was my bean loaf, judging by how many took seconds on it.

A pot-luck omnivore and herbivore dinner needs a protein-emphasis entree from the latter. Having never settled on a bloodless loaf recipe, I “Googled” from scratch, but no recipes on the web appealed.

A phrase from one though called a loaf a glorified veggie burger. Hmm.

Well, I do have a favorite burger. It’s one of Mark Bittman’s. I  found it online in mid-2017, from Grub Street, “How to Make Mark Bittman’s Simple, Satisfying Veggie Burgers.” The print-out is full of my notes. It’s easy to make, tastes better than store-bought — maybe one exception — and if prepared well the texture is great, including how it doesn’t crumble into a pile of confused pilaf.

A sidebar in the seven-burger section of  Bittman’s encyclopedic How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food explained how to convert any into a veggie loaf. Eureka!

His book’s first recipe by the way is the one found online, “The Simplest Bean Burgers.” I barely changed enough of the recipe to call it an adaptation. Here ’tis, though, amounts for 4-6 burgers. Loaf adaptation follows. Continue reading

The Indian and the Jew

Kevin Dawes
Kevin Dawes, about 2016
Photo by Carly Hamilton, with permission

“The Indian and the Jew.” Kevin loved saying that about us. This is a man I’ve known since we were 6 or 7 years old, meeting and becoming fast friends in first grade at Ballman Elementary in Fort Smith. That’s in the vicinity of five and a half decades.

I have not seen Kevin in the last four of those decades. He moved away, although not all that far from our hometown. I moved away, not that far, either.

The Facebook tributes to Kevin Dawes, who died on the 17th following a long illness, are uniform in how many of his school buddies and adult friends admired his kindness. The childhood friends in particular haven’t shared large anecdotes, just everyday ones. That is key. Ann related that her first dance date was with Kevin. David noted that he, Kevin and Brian rushed to enjoy off-campus lunches in high school.

My clearest memory is the zillion times he’d walk the three blocks from his house on Wolfe Lane to my house on Valley Lane for us to play h-o-r-s-e using my driveway’s basketball goal. That would be latter grade school and a good chunk of Ramsey Junior High. Continue reading

The Goofus American

HAVANA — We went to Cuba! On our return, family and friends wanted to know all about it. “How was the food in Havana?” has been the most frequent question. Our answer: We barely ate on the island, not a satisfactory response for us, either.

What can my wife or I report? I didn’t lose my wallet at customs, and I was not mugged behind the mausoleum.

The Pollocks at Habana Cafe in Havana's Melia Cohiba Hotel dancing to an incarnation of Buena Vista Social Club.
The Pollocks at Habana Cafe in Havana’s Melia Cohiba Hotel dancing to an incarnation of Buena Vista Social Club.
Photo Christy K. Pollock

We went more as tourists than travelers, a silver anniversary cruise, so the passage was half the time and half the fun of the trip, not just conveyance. After 25 years, even before our second date two years earlier, I learned not to speak on behalf of My Beloved (MB). These are my perceptions. Going by the draft’s word count, I have some.

A few months after the trip, I can’t make this a travelogue. Like any other writer with any other destination, it’s all been said before. Reflective anecdotes I’ve got, though.

I did not approach the visit as a journalist, nor could I have done much, by my standards, as a professional observer. Yet after decades in news media I can’t help but watch, question, take notes and try to figure things out. When you share what you’ve learned, it’s journalism. Might be less than first-rate, but it’s real.

Our long-planned second honeymoon happened to overlap the day, April 19, 2018, when Raul Castro with little if any notice retired from the office his brother Fidel held for decades before him. Raul’s vice president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, succeeded him. Find journalism on this at “Castro Steps Down as Díaz-Canel Assumes Cuban Presidency” and “Cuba’s New Leader Vows to Modernise Economy but No Return to Capitalism.”

We almost had no idea anything was happening. The guide for our afternoon bus tour of Havana historic sites mentioned that “tomorrow,” Wednesday, April 18, was going to be important as a new vice president was to be announced. I don’t know if the guides on the excursion’s other seven buses informed their passengers. MB later asked the guide for our evening nightclub excursion, and he knew only about the same.

The Norwegian Cruise Line ship had few channels on the stateroom TV sets so I watched MSNBC and BBC, avoiding Fox News. CNN was not available. Nothing off the boat was in the daily schedule handout so no word on Cuban politics. Late Thursday, though, BBC ran three words on the bottom screen crawl, “Raul Castro Retires.” 

Internet on board cost $35 a day, so we decided to take a social media holiday. Did you miss us April 16-20?  Continue reading