Politics. There Once was a Great Nation. 10.09.20

There was once a great nation called The United States of America, where people were proud to be American. It was a country of diverse cultures and communities that often kept their distance from each other, fought with each other, bickered…

…but in crisis, we came together.

We fought for each other.

We shared the burdens and sacrificed in time of conflict, in wars, and floods, and hurricanes, and when people used planes filled with people as missiles.

We aren’t that anymore.

We are now a country of mostly sane people, mostly smart people, having to reshape our lives, having to make room for the freedom of speech for quack medicine, and conspiracy theory. We have to make room for racism, and sexism. We have all become a little more cynical and a little less forgiving because we had to.

We had to protect ourselves from all the lies, and from the people who believe them.
Maybe, someday we can begin again to aspire to be the America we were all taught about in Elementary School, because ultimately this countries greatness is not in its past.

It is in what we aspire to be.

We’re a country of strivers, dreamers, people always looking at the beacon on the hill and trying to inch toward it. Knowing that if we don’t reach the light, maybe our kids will.

Hopefully, we will all get through this alive and be ready to do the hard work that will get us back on course.

…and to be able to find the grace not to offer a fucking brick in the teeth to the people, our fellow Americans, who sneered and cavorted while people’s parents died.
People’s children died.

…and our country teetered on the brink of its demise while they capered and danced, and made our flag the icon of racists across social media.

Hopefully, in our future, we will remember and honor the people and their small sacrifices and large battles they had to fight to keep us safe.

From the doctors and nurses, lacking PPE, who fought to keep us alive, to the folks working in the grocery stores and delivery services who made sure we didn’t starve,
to the folks at the liquor store who made sure the alcoholics among us didn’t slip into detox and wind up in the hospital, to the folks tearing up bed sheets and table-cloths and any spare piece of fabric we were saving for something special, and sewing late into the night, unpaid, using our money to buy materials and supplies, to make sure care-givers, and drivers and other people who just didn’t have the money for PPE would have, at minimal, a mask to protect them from everyone else’s snot and spit, and those who thought up that idea, organized us, and helped us out when our machines jammed up, or when elastics ran low or we ran out of thread.

Hopefully, somewhere, once this is over, we’ll be able to move forward.

We don’t need to forgive.

Forgiveness is not owed, and, frankly, asking for it and expecting it to be granted is an unrealistic expectation. We are not obligated to be kind or generous to people who actively worked to kill us.

We won’t be forgetting, either.

I would say, to anyone who can’t understand this, or supported the madness, be grateful that people are willing to move forward and may demand justice, since you really don’t want to see what it looks like if we start demanding revenge.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/09/opinions/grocery-manager-anti-maskers-opinion-lake-the-distance/index.html

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Cuisine. Cocktail. Gin Jam. 10.08.20

Costco and Bonne Mamman FINALLY offers a nice, big jar of their 4-fruits preserves, and a very impressive looking bottle of Aviator Gin, so it felt like a good time for a GinJam, a cocktail where you use jam or preserves as your flavoring.

Juice of 3 limes (about 3.5 oz).

2 oz Aviator Gin.

1 oz Triple Sec.

0.5 oz St Germain.

1 teaspoon, rounded, Bonne Mamman 4 fruits preserves.

Ice.

Add your booze, juice and jam into a Boston shaker, while chilling a gimlet or a Nick & Nora glass.

Shake for one minute, clear your glass, and decant from the shaker using a Hawthorne strainer.

Double strain if raspberry seeds in your drink cause you stress.

Sip.

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Cuisine.Drinks.The Apple Blossom. 10-4-20

The temperatures are beginning to drop in the evenings, and, for me, that means my cocktails start to move away from Tequila Anejo, Reposado, and Gin and into Rye, Bourbon and Whiskey as the base alcohol.

I rarely drink vodka – it usually winds up in pie crust, or if I am trying to infuse a tincture of Carolina reapers in a nitrogen siphon. Rarely in drinks, since it doesn’t bring flavor for me. All it brings to the party is more booze. That’s good in punches or fruit-heavy freezes, but I think rum does a better job of pairing with fruit than vodka.

I like brown liquor and broody, complex cocktails when the nights are cool, and the leaves are threatening to change, and the tomatoes suddenly burst into action, hoping to be harvested before the first frost comes and draws life back into the earth. Gin occasionally makes an appearance in a Negroni, but this time of year brings apples and harvest to mind.

Ingredients:

4.0 oz Izze Apple Soda
1.75 oz Calvados Fine (Apple brandy)
1.75 oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey
.25 oz St. Germain Liqueur

Ice

As we drift further into Autumn, add .25 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram in place of the St. Germain.

Stir the booze over ice and top with the soda in a highball or Collins glass.

Sip. I like a metal straw for this since it brings the cool to the lip.

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Sex. Sewing While Naked. 8.24.20

In the finished attic, there is a room. There are shelves where fabric rests, folded neatly. Wools, and cotton, linings, and cheap cotton calico prints.

…and spandex.

There are yards of spandex that wait to wrap around the body, to accentuate and lift, to display, to make beautiful at the beach or under the clothes.

When I sew for myself, often, I sew underwear.

There is a separate tape measure that has only touched my skin, and it has measured every inch of me.

Measurements are important. They can mean the difference between being gently cupped and mercilessly squashed by the fabric.

I know the curve of my own ass.

I know how much extra bias I need to properly cup my balls, and how much ease to provide so my dick, soft or erect, is cradled.

I’ve been making underwear for about a year, and I’m beginning to feel comfortable enough to wear the things I make.

There’s something erotic about knowing under your clothes, you are wearing a unique design, made by you.

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Cuisine. Cocktail. Butterfly Gin Sour. 6.4.20

Butterfly Pea Blossom tea is derived from small blue flowers from Thailand, and is interesting as a colorant/infusion to alcohol, since if you add something that moves the pH to the acid side of the scale, the liquid phases from deep blue to almost a magenta/plum color.

To make the gin, add 4 oz of Navy Strength gin like Greenhat to 4 oz of Hendricks Gin in a mason jar with a good sealing lid. Add 2 heaping teaspoons of the tea to the liquid, seal, and refrigerate to infuse for about 30 minutes before you make your cocktail.

Also, put a gimlet glass in the freezer.

Ingredients:

2.0 oz Blue Gin infusion

Juice of one lemon

Teaspoon of blue agave syrup

1.0 oz Kirschwasser

0.25 oz Limoncello

A small atomizer filled with white vermouth


Stir the booze, syrup and the juice in a mixing glass with ice.

Lightly mist your frosted gimlet with vermouth.

Decant your cocktail using a strainer to catch any lemon seeds or bits of tea that may have escaped notice.

Enjoy.

Butterfly Gin Sour

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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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