Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Pack on the Pounds Cake

I was given a pound cake. It is a very large, very tasty, very, very heavy, large home made pound cake. Did I mention how large it is? I know why I was given the cake. Because I'm a very good friend. And . . . because my friend is in love and is trying hard to not pack on the pounds herself. Is that bitchy? Well, I really do like this friend, even if it is bitchy to give me a pound cake just because she doesn't want to be responsible for eating the whole thing. I hope she still likes me even if it is bitchy of me to think she had less than truly pure gifting intentions and to say so. Publicly.

I concede I could be wrong. Not about me being bitchy, that's a given, but about her intentions. I'm not wrong. But, I could be. Do you ever just know things? See straight through and know the truth? Ever been wrong about it? I have. So, I try to see through all the obvious whatevers and implications and just enjoy. I mean, it's a pound cake. What's not to like? It's got nuts, coconut, lemon, walnuts and something else I just can't yet identify. A pound of butter went into it. It's huge. It easily weighs way more than a pound. And it's delicious. The crust is just a tad crunchy and buttery. The inside is firm and soft all at the same time. The walnuts add a nice texture and truly ARE good for me.

AND I AM ON MY WAY INTO EATING THE WHOLE DAMN THING. Did I mention how big it is? I don't need to eat any of it, much less all of it. I could freeze it. I could take it to some senior center, to the physical therapy center, to church on Sunday (it's Wednesday and it and I will not last together until Sunday). There are a number of options. Top of my list is to go get some ice cream to go with it (because it just really doesn't taste good enough on its own??? NOT. but because I am indeed a HOGOHOLIC).

Webster has offered to take it off my hands, with rousing agreements by Savannah and Emmy to help. That's no solution. I could exert self restraint, freeze pieces, have some every now and then - but we all know how lame it is to try to thaw out a piece of pound cake in a hurry.

So, to make matters worse, my landlady/bff's cleaning lady (and fine friend herself) just brought me a present - home made cranberry relish. A HUGE container FULL of home made cranberry relish. It has orange, and nuts, and cranberries and I don't know what all. She's on a diet too. She made the relish and then met somebody and now she's trying not to pack on the holiday pounds. I am the beneficiary of the best made Christmas eating intentions gone awry. Guess I should have considered the gift receiving ramifications before publicly declaring myself a hogoholic.

Guess what? Cranberry relish on pound cake is really, really, really, really good. I bet that if I got some vanilla ice cream, put it on the pound cake, and warmed up the cranberry relish, then poured it over the top, it would take me six months to work off all the pounds, only if I never ate anything ever again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holder me Closer

"The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions [Wikileaks] that are, I believe, arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "We have a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature. I authorized just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable... as they should be."

Pay very close attention to Holder's words here: "ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature." He doesn't say this is an investigation into a crime. He says that this is an investigation that is, itself, criminal. Now, it may be that he didn't mean to say that. It may only mean that Holder was waxing eloquent and went with obvious intent rather than express meaning. But, itt may mean that his Freudian slip is showing.

Consider the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg risked prosecution for treason simply for exposing treasonous actions of former American presidents. With the help of Senator Mike Gravel, the report exposing crimes by Presidents, was revealed in a way that allowed for publicity and shielded criminal liability under the Speech and Debate Clause of the Constitution.

Assange, et al., could not rely on obtaining such protection. We the people can't either. The truth has been hijacked for political expediency and we are being fed a bill of goods intended to shred the bill of rights until it's unrecognizable. The wars we are mongering are not justified by our interests or our laws. The wars we are mongering are not going well for us. Our President is not telling us the truth.

That's information I want. I also want to know that our government officials are using this situation to bully corporations into shutting down his access to speech. The free speech rights in this country are based on the concept of the Lone Pamphleteer, that crusty old curmudgeon standing on the street corner handing out leaflets. If you deny Lone Pamphleteer either the paper, the ink or the street corner, you have wrongfully silenced the Lone Pamphleteer. It is illegal for government officials to wrongly deny a person his or her constitutional rights.

Since Assange is not a U.S. citizen,, does he have the same right? If he committed those acts while in the U.S., yes he would. Is there a magic American boundary where our responsibility to abide by our Constitutional laws and mandates ends? Good question.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back to Basics - Making of a Strong Middle Class

I read a book recently. The Americanization of Edward Bok, by Edward Bok. Edward wrote most of his autobiography in the third person, which was very strange. I don't recommend the book as a particularly good read. What I did find interesting was examining the thoughts of a very wealthy self made man living at the turn of the last century.

Ed is what I would describe as especially conservative politically. He was against women obtaining the vote. Now, where I would provide my typical knee jerk to the proverbial crotch for this sort of backward thinking, Ed expounded on that. Ed had reasons. Ed believed women were socially and politically unsophisticated; that women had not been prepared by virtue of their educational backgrounds to effectively make decisions on political issues. That having been said, Ed didn't just sit back, light a cigar (Ed believed smoking was bad even then) and leave it there. No, Ed set about recruiting some of the finest political minds in our nation to write articles in order to provide the sort of background and education they believed was needed for women to become sophisticated in the art of politics and voting. I have to think that if today Ed believed gay soldiers weren't fit to fight, he would go about doing whatever he believed it would take to make them fit. What does Ed teach us here? Ed teaches us that it's not enough to have an opinion. You have to do something about it.

Ed was also the sort to appreciate good music. To that end, Ed not only put up tens of thousands of dollars of his own money to fund and support a philharmonic orchestra, but he also convinced thousands of his friends to do the same. He set up civic organizations and funded them with his own money and double dog dared other rich people to do the same. And other rich people did the same. When the U.S. went to war in 1918, he ponied up his own cash into treasury bonds and he also ponied up the cash of other millionaires to pay for the war. That's how they paid for wars in the old days. Rich people gave money. Go figure.

He also gave money to support a program that sent home economists around the country teaching very young married women about sex, nutrition, childbirth, child rearing and health safety. Other money went into amking sure those very young women had pre and post natal care for themselves and their children. Then he set about making sure there was food on the tables for those children. Still, that wasn't enough. He bitched so long and loud that snake oils (then called patent medicines) were made illegal, but only after he had educated people on their ills enough so that they weren't profitable anymore. How did he do that? This is the amazing part. He was editor of a magazine that relied on advertisers, ninety percent of whom were patent medicine companies. He refused their advertising money. Yes, you heard me. Refused it outright. His magazine became the biggest money maker ever, the first to earn a million subscribers, the first to invent the Living Room: The Ladies' Home Journal.

This country is a better place because Edward Bok lived. We are better Americans because Edward Bok lived here. Unlike current billionaires today who pledge money to funds and charitable institutions that advocate and proliferate and so far haven't fixed a good damn thing, Edward Bok actually helped people on a national scale. Every millionaire in America needs to learn from Edward Bok, a man who immigrated to America as a child, how to be a truly wealthy man. First clue: To whom much is given, much is expected in return.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Any other day, I would be sitting here, doing something less productive, less interesting, less fulfilling. Today, however, I wish I could be doing something else. It's only because I can't that I wish to be doing otherwise. Yes, I'm a contrarian. We know from yesterday I'm a hogoholic. Well, I'm also a contrarian. Whatever it is that I am doing, I wish I were doing something else.

For decades, I wished for the time and opportunity to not work a 'real' job and be able to write. Once I'd inadvertently achieved that, I began painting. I rarely write anymore. In fact, I only feel like writing when I have art commissions awaiting completion (a reality that can only be achieved after starting). So, I suddenly am relentlessly eager to express myself in the written word. Contrarian.

I rarely venture out of my mountaintop lakeside world before noon. I have my routine and schedule which includes sleeping late, checking Facebook, drinking lots of coffee and watching the fog roll around on the lake.

You can see the compelling reasons to spend mornings at home. I live in heaven. Still, I walk, I breathe, I laugh and I actually am unhappy from time to time. It's the contrarian.

I have to accept this aspect of myself and keep enough interests going in enough areas so that whenever one dominates, I can procrastinate by enjoying yet another. Of all the problems I could possibly have on this earth, I am so grateful and blessed to have my own silly little ones.

Monday, December 13, 2010


New word. What does it mean? I eat, therefore I am. I have reached that point in my life where I simply must admit (I can't deny) that I achieve all my gratification from food. It's more than just a foodoholic. Nice word, but not even close. It's the difference between having all you can eat pancakes at IHOP and having AYCEP plus hashbrowns, bacon AND sausage (because you just can't choose between the two) and then actually wondering what's on the dessert menu. I stop before I go there. I can fathom only so much sugar before I'm done in.

I don't just have breakfast, lunch, dinner. I have all that with multiple courses and in between meal snacks. To my credit, I did quit smoking. Food tastes better and at least for the first year it's an excellent excuse for all manner of culinary indulgence. I love Christmas simply because it provides so many excuses to eat without apology. Bourbon balls, cheese balls, balls, balls, balls. YUM. It's a little disappointing that you don't find the holiday barbecue or the Christmas lobster, but fudge, nuts and pie more than make up for it.

I'm facing a dilemna. It's eleven days until Christmas and I'm tired of eating. I'm eat up with it, so to speak. I have refrigerator full of food, party plans and numerous events planned and I'm just not hungry. My clothes don't fit and I find myself skipping meals, not even caring that ice cream is calling my name repeatedly. Not even caring that it's Strawberry Cheesecake that flinging itself at me every time the freezer door opens.

It's a brave new feeling.