Art. Marks Zoom Drawing Session. Model:Emil 5.31.20

Was cut short in welcoming a guest this evening but was able to eek out a couple of quick drawings.

Emil – 20 minute pose
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Cuisine. Some tips for the new cook. 5.19.20

 

This post is from an article I wrote on Quora, and people seemed to enjoy it, so I’m posting it here as well.

I’m not a chef  – I didn’t serve a rigorous French training campaign with stages in order  to earn a toque – which is that  hat with all the pleats in it. I’ve heard each pleat symbolizes a way to  prepare eggs, so a chef with a lot of pleats in their hat knows quite a bit about egg preparation. That’s what you need to become a chef by the strict definition of the term.

What I am is an avid cook and foodie, who sometimes takes pictures of his food and drink, and posts them here, and on social media.

What I can offer you a little advice that may help you cook.

I started cooking at 9 or 10 years old, and have cooked almost every day for most of my life. That’s about 40 years experience. I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Many home cooks cut and prepare their ingredients while they cook.  What this winds up doing is taking your attention off of the food while  its being prepared on the stove or oven and increases the risk of you  missing a step, an ingredient, or overcooking your food.

There’s  a reason why chefs do mise en place – it means everything in its place,  and its where you cut up and portion your ingredients in advance before  you start cooking and assembling your meal.

Many home cooks do not rotate their pantry frequently enough. That  expensive olive oil you’ve been saving from your trip to Italy two  years ago? Throw it out. Its rancid. Expensive ingredients like olive  oil, balsamic vinegar, spices like saffron, etc have expiration dates  even shorter than the cheap, processed stuff.

Use them, or lose them. The clock starts ticking even faster from the moment you open the jar, packet or container.

Get  in the habit of checking jars and condiments in your fridge. Most of  them have enough vinegar or other preservatives in them to have a good long shelf life in your  fridge, but that doesn’t mean they stay fresh and tasty forever.

Many cooks have the stove kicked up too high. Unless  you are specifically deep-fat frying or putting a sear on something,  there is no need to have your stove cranked up to high to cook. It takes  a bit longer cooking at lower temperatures, but you’ll also be allowing  flavors a chance to build in your food.

Lots of cooks do not season or taste their food throughout the process. Seasoning  needs to be applied throughout the entire cooking process, not just at  the beginning, and certainly not just at the end so all your seasoning  sits on top of your food and never gets the chance to work its way into  your food. There are a lot of folks out there who under-season their  food because the first time they taste it is when they are sitting down  behind their plate. Get in the habit of tasting while you cook. I  learned that one from reading and watching Samin Nosrat’s, “Salt, Fat,  Acid, Heat.”

If  you are looking to improve your cooking, start by reading that book,  and while you’re at it, get yourself some cookbooks and don’t just  collect them. Read them.

Many cooks start cooking before they’ve read the whole recipe.. There’s  a lot of folks who start preparing from a recipe without reading it,  and either skip a step, find out they don’t have enough of an ingredient  or improvise and find that the improvisation does not work with the  rest of the recipe.

…and then sit, scratching their head, wondering why the food isn’t delicious.

Oh, and another thing – those beautiful pictures in cookbooks? They were prepared by food stylists, maybe embellished to make them look more tasty, shot under rigorous lighting conditions, and then the pictures were processed and color corrected in Photoshop.

Please take it easy on yourself when it comes to how your food looks, but also, take some time with presentation to make your food look nice, but don’t obsess over it.

At a minimum, consider having a clean, lightly soaped cloth nearby as you are plating, so you can wipe sauce dribbles and fingerprints off the plating edge.

Read first, then prepare. Once you’ve made the dish a couple times, then consider based on your experience where the recipe could be improved.

A  recipe (except for baked goods) is generally not a chemistry experiment  or a list of commands. You do have some wiggle room in there, so get to wiggling. Once you’ve been cooking a while, you know what tastes good,  and where a little more garlic, or fresh parsley would be better than  dried. Make the change to suit your tastes.

Hopefully this will help you make some tasty food.

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5.17.2020. Sex. Art. Drawing in the Pandemic Age

We used to meet in person to draw, and I ran the Naked Drawing Group of Washington DC. Men gathered, and the artists and the model all stripped naked and we drew once a month.

We can’t do that right now. There were lots of members in the group who classified as High Risk for COVID-19, and in a small space, the risk is elevated.

So I draw in someone else’s group, now, but I’ve worked with the model before.

Very fit, handsome and generally charming (@gymn0s) on Instagram with the @gaymenssketch group.

Hopefully, I can make it work that we meet regularly, and maybe come up with a way that NDG gets to meet on zoom as well?

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Politics. Taking down Statues is a beginning. 4-12-2020.

There will be quite a lot of people upset by this decision – mostly racists who tend to say they aren’t racist. They claim to only be honoring their heritage (of defending slavery), and that the statues were commemorating participants (traitors to their country) who fought in a war against the North trying to tell the South what to do (like not continuing chattel slavery – the practice of breeding human beings like farm animals, except these ones they liked to rape and then sell the resulting children of rape.)
 
Occasionally historians would “romanticize” it (lie to make it palatable) by saying our forefathers loved their enslaved baby-makers, as Thomas Jefferson did with Sally Hemmings, but you cannot really love someone if you own them, unless the ownership allows both parties the ability to consent without the threat of punishment.
 
That would be BDSM.
 
Consent is the difference between sex and rape, folks.
 
Yes, our honored “forefathers” were tax cheats, murderers and rapists, but that’s probably not what they taught you in school, is it? Instead they used big shiny lie-words like “Freedom” and “Liberty” to describe the small, ugly truths of theft, genocide, slavery, murder, annexation, apartheid, and systemic institutionalized racism.
 
…and so, now, referendums will show up on ballots, and cheaply cast statues will come down – set in place to reinforce and serve as reminders of White Supremacy, regardless of their stated intent.

Some statues will be moved to parks and gardens, and have plaques attached, reminding people of the murder of indigenous people, the enslavement and murder of captured Africans after their histories, language, given names, and origins of heritage were erased, and statues placed by the Daughters of the Confederacy at times when Black people were beginning to gain wealth and power, before Jim Crow laws and riots, and white men in their wives’ good White sheets transformed into symbols of terrorism, on horseback, burning torches and crosses firmly established the state of oppression and the rules Black people were expected to live by if we did not want to expect to be murdered.

 
Those rules have changed, and the new Jim Crow, private prisons, red-lining, institutionalized racism, and living under the White Gaze and standards which impose a maze of obstacles, pitfalls and penalties where a White person can fail and get back up and fail and get back up, and get multiple chances at success, where a Black person can just appear to break a rule, and their life is ruined, as is their family’s life and their children’s lives.
 
There’s a reason why more of us are dying of COVID-19 in the land of the “Free” but maybe soon, at least we won’t have to:
 
Walk past the statues of men who conducted experiments on Black women without anesthetic who created the foundations for gynecology in this country.
 
Men who murdered tribes of indigenous people and shuffled them off to land where nothing grows,

Men who were tasked with governing stolen land and decided they were not given rights to speak so they were granted rights to steal the land from the thieves who stole it first after murdering the indigenous people who occupied it and called it all “discovery.”

 
Men who led armies of poor and uneducated White men into battle, told the ignorant that it was about Northern aggression, but in private lounges, boardrooms, and in correspondence, it was always in defense of slavery.
 
It was always about continuing to allow the machine to run that ground the bodies of enslaved Africans, murdered indigenous people, imported cheap labor with restricted rights, and turned it into the foundations of wealth that powers Wall Street, the oldest banks, the oldest insurance companies, and the names that whisper to you from University gallery walls, and trusts and endowments that still quietly run this country, pay for privatized prisons, armed enclaves, and private rows of mansions on exclusive islands and coastal wildly wealthy communities.

Oh yes, we blame it all on the South, but you really need to know where all the money ended up, right?

Essay in reference to this article:

Virginia Cities Now Have the Power To Remove Confederate Statues


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Politics. Nobody Listens to Cassandra. 04.02.2020

It must be horrible to be Senator Warren.
 
She instigates the Obama administration into establishing an agency to protect consumers from predatory lending practices, and an advocate for the banks and Wall Street undermined her efforts.

A bunch of moneyed men lobbied to keep her from running it if they would allow it to be established, and the proceeded to write gaps and loopholes into the law, so that it would be toothless, provide no real protection, and as happens to a lot of good ideas that get in the way of the pigs running to the trough, it was dismantled or repurposed.

 
…so basically what the CFPB is now is a toothless agency that produces “financial responsibility” videos. Payday loans are back in favor. Credit card companies are still gouging their customers. Foreclosures are still happening on a massive scale and are disproportionately hitting communities of color, since the predatory lenders offering the loans targeted communities that had the least amount of experience in managing debt, and took them at their word that the interest rates offered were acceptable, even when the customers were qualified for much lower rates.
 
Warren’s family had stories that there was a bit of Native American in her bloodline and she took the stories seriously and applied for aid while under the impression that she was part Native American.

In this country, that requires something called “blood quantum” which is a percentage of Native American genetics showing up under testing.

 
Our current President kept calling her a racist Native American term, so she got tested to silence his commentary.
 
Turns out there were traces of Native American in her bloodline, but not enough to meet the “blood quantum” standard – then with the assistance of a tribe that has aligned with the current occupant of the White House, her claims were denied and the smear was reinforced.

Its funny now how some tribes are finding that aligning with a President who has no loyalty has a cost as tribes are having their status revoked and lands seized if their interests run counter to people who used to work for the current President.

 
Sen. Warren quoted a private conversation in which a fellow candidate said that the country wasn’t ready for her to be President.
 
She may have heard what he said as the country not being ready for a woman to be President.
 
The candidate then denied it on stage, pretty much painting Warren to be liar.

She called him out, because she’s the kind of person who feels like slights and wrongdoing needs to be addressed while its still fresh so we can all move on, and again she was waived off and dismissed.

This happens to women all the time and frankly, I don’t know why they haven’t just picked up the nearest object and smacked the shit out of people when it happens.

 
His fans all cheered and smeared her some more, and to this day get upset and call her “dishonest.”
 
…and can’t see that basically in calling her “dishonest,” they are echoing a talking point from the Trump campaign about another qualified woman who ran in 2016.
 
One who I’m fairly certain would have been able to handle a global crisis without lying, without trying to undermine the staff hired to handle the issue, and without using the office of the President to enrich herself by playing golf at her own hotels for 20% of the total time she would be in office.
 
Warren ran for President, and the American public, rather than look at her plans, listen to her logic, and vote for the best choice, decided instead to vote for what we see as the default setting in this country for leadership – old White dudes with name recognition and vague platitudes.

The media saw Senator Warren as a threat and did what they do when threatened – they turned their cameras away from her. They refused to mention her name. They didn’t bother to look too hard at one of the old men who had the troubling habit of touching people and smelling people without consent, would get visibly rattled and start rambling when confronted with his history of collaborating the the GOP and his votes. Those votes started wars, helped the prison system grow, undermined our schools, made credit card interest rates soar, and made it impossible for private citizens to use bankruptcy laws to renegotiate student loan debt.

The other, with his band of entitled and angry followers, aggrieved by what they saw as theft of their rights in 2016, mixed in with a few angry Russian Trolls and bots set up to stir the pot, increase the anger, and further increase factionalism and divides in this country.

Sanders was and is able to see what’s wrong with the country, but when asked how to fix it, offers over-simplified solutions that don’t address the fact that we’d be throwing millions of Americans out of work to accomplish his goals.

They don’t address the fact that the country is gigantic, it would take time to switch over to a single-payer system, it would not happen without a fight, and that there are a lot of people in this country who can not go a single day without medical coverage.

Some existing laws on the books would mean that segments of the population would not have access to care, specifically women needing abortions, where we have laws on the books that prevent the Federal government from funding the process.

 
Senator Warren saw that we had gross exposure to pandemics in 2018, and science was indicating we were ripe for another lethal wave, so she and another Senator tried to address the problem with the White House, and were ignored.

Again.

The White House tends to ignore anyone that questions them, and if they persist, they are attacked, and smeared, all in a misguided effort to undermine government.

The platform of the GOP is to destroy government. Steve Bannon announced this in 2017 at CPAC during a lunchtime speech.

People cheered.

Its funny how people are usually all ready to hate and vilify government until they realize that clean water, clean air, food that won’t kill you, access to medical care, access to education, working roads and bridges, oversight over the powerful so they do not abuse their power, and many other functions are only possible if the government is funded, supported, and working.

 
We do not have an integrated and funded Federal Level public health service in this country.

Pandemics require a coordinated response, staffed with qualified people to stop the wave before it hit our shores, and to contain it once its here.

Only last week, VP. Pence was asking hospitals and states to email in their pandemic numbers and testing results. There was no database set up to collect the information. No website to centralize the effort.

Nothing.

Only last week, the Pentagon admitted it has 4,000 ventilators ready to be shipped to hospitals, but they were waiting on the White House for weeks to tell them where to send them.

Only last week, stockpiles of expired masks were found and had to be thrown out or the rules changed that could potentially jeopardize health care staff, the first line of defense in an epidemic,  because the office in charge of verifying and rotating out stock was dismantled and never replaced.

Businesses can run just-in-time inventory.

Governments need to be prepared in advance, so their responses can be coordinated and pro-active.

Being reactive means more people die.

 
Instead we got a lot of lies while GOP Senators were privately telling companies its about to get bad and then proceeded to dump a lot of stock.
 
It has to be infuriating to be a woman in this country – to know that you know the answers, you are capable and qualified, and for whatever reason, you’ll just be yelling into the wind, since most people in this country, regardless of race or gender, will always be ready to find a reason not to listen to you.

Mother Jones Article

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Politics. The Trap of the Feel Good Story. 03.26.2020

I love that people are stepping up and innovating solutions, and I admire that in people.

This is humanity at its best and most generous.

I am infuriated that we had and have multiple opportunities to be proactive about this and preparing for what’s coming, and our President continues to gaslight and do nothing unless forced to act.

He will be signing a bill, but only because its passing with a veto-proof bi-partisan majority.

If he weren’t so busy covering his own ass in January by calling Senators to coerce them into not hearing testimony, maybe he might have read the WHO report, the intelligence reports, and the Lancet Paper that informed him of what was coming two months before he finally admitted it was a serious matter and then proceeded to take minimal steps to do anything about it publicly, while privately trying to profit from the oncoming disaster.

I said this earlier to a friend – every President until this one, even the ones we really didn’t like, operated from the standpoint that you can’t do a thing if it even has the appearance of wrong-doing.

Of all of the faults of our current President, the one that was the most telling of how he would operate and the most damning of him is the fact that he has always lived his life pushing limits, and not in a good way.

Most people, when they push boundaries are looking to reach higher goals, and to achieve what is not usually thought to be achievable.

In this President, he pushes limits to see how much he can get away with and then tries to push even further in all things.

He can’t just marry one woman. He wants every attractive woman he sees, and feels like wealth and fame allows him to violate boundaries and take what he wants. He disposed of wives, interlacing his path with porn stars and strippers, often before divorce was even offered to the women to whom he was still married.

Then there’s the alleged rapes and alleged pedophilia that have swirled and swirls around him and those close to him.

In business, he pushes and pushed boundaries, allegedly taking money from oligarchs to run his businesses after burning every financier available to burn, and pocketing the proceeds, licensing his name and slapping it up on properties. Negotiating contracts and then stiffing people who did the work and forcing them to accept a percentage of the already to the bone agreed upon rates, causing many businesses to fail since they couldn’t cover the cost of working for him.

He used and uses the law like a weapon, and where he demands loyalty, he is inconsistent in being true to people who have sacrificed for him.

…so people out of their own pockets and time are having to scrape together things to save loved ones, families and total strangers, because that his the human thing to do.

While right now, in the White House, the President of our country and the leader of his party is likely trying to find a way to get his hands on taxpayer cash for his own profit.

Stories like these are a trap.

We are lulled into our feelings by the admirable qualities of human beings being kind and generous to one-another, which draws focus off the problem – specifically that our government and corporations knew there as an oncoming problem, as many donors were notified of the seriousness of COVID-19 in meetings with their Congresspeople and Senators just before those same folks dumped a bunch of stock.

…and then for months, they sat on the information, while the President stood behind his podium, on site at disasters in his disaster costume of MAGA hat and Teflon jacket with Presidential seal, no tie, and golf-khakis, so after the photo opp, he could fly off to another one of his golf courses and play a few rounds and soak the taxpayer for the bill.

In essence waiting for people to go to Mardi Gras, and Spring Break, and Winter Parties and conventions, and then after everyone mingled, hugged, shook hands and kissed, then announced that it was a pandemic after the illness had maximum opportunity to spread.

Was it a conspiracy? No. Was it people failing to act independently of each other creating the perfect conditions for global contagion to spread, combined with that less than admirable character trait of human beings – the desire to say “fuck you, I do what I want” in the face of being asked to exercise caution, restraint, and selflessness.

Yes. It was most certainly that, because had people been paying attention, where the White House was lying because that’s what it does, the rest of the world was telling you the truth if you had bothered to stop self medicating and self distracting and picked up or clicked on some actual news sources.

…So while the lion’s share of the blame for the Trump Virus lies at the White House, many of us share the blame as well for inaction, for not paying attention, and for being less than generous to each other as human beings when given ample opportunity to do so.

https://wjla.com/news/local/13-year-old-uses-parents-3d-printer-to-make-masks-hes-now-donating

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Sex. Social Distancing and the Solitary Gay Man. Part One. 3.20.20

Masturbation is a part of life for most sexual beings. Most times, we do it alone, to take the edge off. It’s perfunctory. We know where the buttons are, how hard to push, what to gently stroke and when, if we want it soft, or rough, and what selection of porn, whether it’s on screen or in our heads will move us from the stroke, to the shortness of breath, to the brink, holding our breaths until we tip over, our joyful brains overwhelmed and jizz just shooting, or spurting or oozing as the orgasm washes over us.

Then, we either rub it in and go to sleep, some eat their own jizz, or you find a cloth, an old sock, that roll of paper towel to wipe it all away, and then pull up your pants, tuck in your shirt, flush, go wash your hands and get back to work.

…or take the disk out of the blu Ray and hide it in that book on the high shelf nobody reads, pull up your sweats, and stagger back into the home office…

…or grab the soapy cloth you prepared before you started stroking, wipe your hands, grab the dry hand towel and dry off, shoot a shot for the laundry basket in the corner, pull up the covers and be out like a light before 20 breaths were taken.

…but let me ask you a question.

What if you took your time?

What if you looked into buying yourself a toy, or a few?

What if the toys did more than go up your butt?

More than wiggle and buzz?

More than able to be controlled by your phone.

What if the toy or device stroked your dick for you?

What if it did it exactly how you like it?

What if the toy operated like a video game?

Or, what if the device had wires and light electrical impulses that made if feel like someone was stroking your dick?

From the inside out?

What if there were ways that you could orgasm that would roll through your body at an intensity and length of time to make you wonder if you should call 911, because it. just. won’t. stop.

Do you realize that now, as a solitary gay male, once you get your work done, walk and feed your pets, and get through all the tasks, you have an opportunity while everyone has to stay in their homes to explore you?

Yes. You.

A chance to look online for something you haven’t tried, but were always curious about.

A chance to pull your bookmark list, or your box of old DVDs, or Blu Rays…

Or dusty old VCR tape?

To play with the porn you haven’t watched in ages?

To spread out on the couch, on the floor, on your bed, in a quiet corner of the garden, wherever you’re alone and have some privacy, and to fully explore your body?

To get out those old toys and devices, or to order something you haven’t tried, to see what it feels like to stick your dick in that? Or there? Or to play with your tight pucker. Nobody ever does that for you, but secretly you like it.

You like it a lot.

Or you’re tired of all the focus on your hole and you want to let your kind roam over what it would be like to bend over the chef, the plumber, your boss, and fuck him while he begs for it. You may be a bottom, but sometimes you’d like to top.

Or your a top, and sometimes, you really just wish that man you’ve been splitting like cordwood for years would just grab you, flip you over and put all of it in you.

Well, you have time now.

Take some time for you.

…and explore.

…and enjoy.

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