the gumbo pages

looka, <'lu-k&> dialect, v.
1. The imperative form of the verb "to look", in the spoken vernacular of New Orleans; usually employed when the speaker wishes to call one's attention to something.  

2. --n. Chuck Taggart's weblog, hand-made and updated (almost) daily, focusing on food and drink, music (especially of the roots variety), New Orleans and Louisiana culture, news, movies, books, sf, public radio, media and culture, Macs, politics, humor, reviews, rants, the author's life and opinions, witty and/or smart-arsed comments and whatever else tickles the author's fancy.

Please feel free to contribute a link if you think I'll find it interesting.   If you don't want to read my opinions, feel free to go elsewhere.

Page last tweaked @ 11:14am PDT, 7/31/2003

If you like, you are welcome to send e-mail to the author.
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Looka! Archive
(99 and 44/100% link rot)

June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

2002:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

2001:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

2000:   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

1999:   Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

Regime change for America, 2004.

Dean for America

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Buy stuff!

You can get Gumbo Pages designs on T-shirts, mugs and mousepads at The Gumbo Pages Swag Shop!

Friends with pages:

mary katherine
pat and paul
roxi and merck
tracy and david

Talking furniture:

KCSN (Los Angeles)
   Broadcast schedule
   "Down Home" playlist
   Live MP3 audio stream

   Subscribe to the
   "Down Home" weekly
   playlist email service

WWOZ (New Orleans)
   Broadcast schedule
   Live audio stream

Grateful Dead Radio
   (Streaming complete shows!)
KPIG, 107 Oink 5
   (Freedom, CA)
KRVS Radio Acadie
   (Lafayette, LA)
Mike Hodel's "Hour 25"
   (Science fiction radio)
Radio Free New Orleans
Raidió na Gaeltachta
   (Irish language)
RootsWorld's Rootsradio
RTÉ Radio Ceolnet
   (Irish trad. music)
WXDU (Durham, NC)

Cocktail hour:

The Sazerac Cocktail

   (A work in progress;
   Martin Doudoroff &
   Ted Haigh)

The Alchemist
   (Paul Harrington)

Alcohol (and how to mix it)
   (David Wondrich)

Ardent Spirits
   (Gary & Mardee Regan)

Bar Asterie
   (Martin Doudoroff)

DrinkBoy and the
   Community for the
   Cultured Cocktail
   (Robert Hess, et al.)

DrinkBoy's Cocktail Weblog

King Cocktail
   (Dale DeGroff)

La Fée Verte
   (All about absinthe
   from Kallisti et al.)

Mr. Lucky's Cocktails

Let's eat!

New Orleans Menu Daily

Food-related weblogs:
Hacking Food
Honest Cuisine
KIPlog's FOODblog
The Making of a Restaurant
Mise en Place
Sauté Wednesday
Simmer Stock
Tasting Menu

à la carte
Chef Talk Café
Food Network
The Global Gourmet
A Muse for Cooks
The Online Chef
Pasta, Risotto & You
Slow Food Int'l. Movement
So. Calif. Farmer's Markets
Zagat Guide

Click here for a new daily recipe from Chef Emeril!
In vino veritas.

The Oxford Companion to Wine

Wally's Wine and Spirits

The Wine House

The Wine Spectator

Wine Today

Reading this month:

What Einstein Told His Cook, by Robert L. Wolke.
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling.

Listen to music!

Chuck's current album recommendations

Luka Bloom
La Bottine Souriante
Billy Bragg
Cordelia's Dad
Jay Farrar
Sonny Landreth
Los Lobos
Christy Moore
Nickel Creek
The Old 97s
Anders Osborne
The Proclaimers
Red Meat
The Red Stick Ramblers
The Reivers
Zachary Richard
Paul Sanchez
Marc Savoy
Son Volt
Richard Thompson
Uncle Tupelo

Miles of Music

No Depression


New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

San Francisco Celtic Music & Arts Festival

Appalachian String Band Music Festival - Clifftop, WV

Long Beach Bayou Festival

Strawberry Music Festival - Yosemite, CA


A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans (Joshua Mann Pailet)
American Museum of Photography
California Museum of Photography, Riverside
International Center of Photography

Ansel Adams
Jonathan Fish
Noah Grey
Greg Guirard
Paul F. R. Hamilton
Clarence John Laughlin
Herman Leonard
Howard Roffman
J. T. Seaton
Jerry Uelsmann
Gareth Watkins
Brett Weston

The Mirror Project


Bloom County / Outland,
by Berkeley Breathed

Bob the Angry Flower,
by Stephen Notley

The Boondocks,
by Aaron McGruder

Calvin and Hobbes,
by Bill Watterson

by Garry B. Trudeau

Electric Sheep Comix
by Patrick Farley

Get Your War On
by David Rees

L. A. Cucaracha
by Lalo Alcaraz

by Peter Blegvad

Lil' Abner,
by Al Capp

The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green,
by Eric Orner

Ted Rall,
by Ted Rall

This Modern World,
by Tom Tomorrow Xquzyphyr & Overboard,
by August J. Pollak

Films seen this year:
(with ratings):

The Pianist (****-1/2) Chicago (****)

Lookin' at da TV:

"Six Feet Under"
"The Sopranos"
"Malcolm In The Middle"
"Star Trek: Enterprise"
"Odyssey 5"
"The Simpsons"
"Iron Chef"
"Father Ted"
The Food Network

Weblogs I read:

The BradLands
The Carpetbagger Report
Considered Harmful
Anil Dash
Ethel the Blog
Follow Me Here
Ghost in the Machine
Hit or Miss
The Hoopla 500
The Leaky Cauldron
Little. Yellow. Different.
Making Light
More Like This
Mr. Barrett
Neil Gaiman's Journal
News of the Dead
Q Daily News
This Modern World
Web Queeries
What's In Rebecca's Pocket?

Matthew's GLB blog portal

L.A. Blogs


New Orleans ...
proud to blog it home.

Must-reads: (progressive politics & news)
Borowitz Report (political satire)
The Complete Bushisms (quotationable!)
The Deduct Box (Louisiana politics)
The Fray (your stories)
Izzle Pfaff! (my favorite webjournal)
Landover Baptist (better Christians than YOU!)
Maledicta (The International Journal of Verbal Aggression)
The Morning Fix from SF Gate (news, opinions, extreme irreverence)
The New York Review of Science Fiction
The Onion (news 'n laffs) (not the actual White House, but it should be)

The Final Frontier:

Astronomy Pic of the Day
ISS Alpha News
NASA Human Spaceflight
Spaceflight Now


Locus Magazine Online
SF Site

Made with Macintosh

Hosted by pair Networks

Déanta:  This page is coded by hand, with BBEdit 4.0.1 on an Apple iBook 2001 running MacOS X 10.2 if I'm at home; occasionally with telnet and Pico on a FreeBSD Unix host running tcsh if I'm updating from work. (I never could get used to all those weblogging tools.)

weblog and (almost) daily blather

  "This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York island,
  From the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me."
  -- Woody Guthrie

  Thursday, July 31, 2003
Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, 1909-2003.   The last living musician who played and recorded in the 1920s-1930s mandolin- and fiddle-based black string band blues style has passed away at the age of 94.

He still played up until quite recently, and in 1985 was the subject of a "documentary film by Terry Zwigoff (the poster and LP/CD soundtrack covers for which were illustrated by Robert Crumb, subject of Zwigoff's next film). I was lucky enough to see and hear Howard play at Jazzfest a few years ago, and he'll be sorely missed. He was truly the last of his kind.

I'm not convinced.   Statements like "I'm convinced," "I strongly believe" and "there is no doubt in my mind" are not answers to questions that ask for actual evidence, Mr. Bush.

That said, Bush's comment after declining to offer an opinion on the California recall, "We don't have recalls back in Texas ... thankfully," was the funniest thing he's ever said.

In other news, Bush's approval rating is sliding, and the number of people who say he's a leader they can trust is now below 50%. Droppin', droppin', sinkin' like a stone. Perhaps the American people are finally pulling the wool from their eyes as to this man's credibility and suitability for office (ya think?). We may not get his down as far as Gray Davis', but there's always hope.

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Posting will be thin over the next couple of weeks.   Plenty plenty overtime at the day job, plus a rather nice little gig I got on the side -- I'll be compiling a 4-CD, 100-song box set of New Orleans music (more on the label, title and potential release date later). I've gotta have it finished in two weeks, so much of my effort will be going into that instead of this ... sorry, regular readers.

The box set is gonna be great, I think. Instead of being the same old 25 to 50-year-old R&B tracks (not that they're bad, they're wonderful, but a little overcompiled), I'm going to do a set that'll have a grounding in that but will also reflect what's going on in the New Orleans music scene today (for instance, anyone who's going to do a New Orleans box set with the intention of marketing it to people who just went there and had a fabulous time who doesn't include Kermit Ruffins on it is doing a bad job, in my humble opinion). Let's hope the Powers That Be and myself end up seeing eye to eye on this. *cross fingers*

Liza with a "Z" an Ex(-husband).   Okay, like ... surpriiiiiise, right? Please. As it turns out, we may have witnessed the straw that broke the marriage's back just last night:

Well, it's now official. While their lavish wedding was only 16 months ago, Liza Minnelli has called it quits with hubby David Gest. While rumors were circulating months ago that the 57-year-old singer and 49-year-old "promoter" were on their way out, Liza's publicist has told reporters: "I can confirm that they're separated, but that's all I know."

So what exactly drove the stake into the heart of this union? While gossip hounds scurry for a motive, The Sun is reporting that the straw that broke the marriage's back was when Gest spilled the beans about her gaining weight on the British TV program "So Graham Norton." According to the paper, Liza was absolutely mortified when Gest joked about how she became "hugely fat" while ill last year.

Yep, we were watching a relatively recent rerun of Graham last night, and my eyebrows certainly went up when he said that. She may be his beard, but she's got her pride and dignity, dammit! Le *boot*!

(Credit for the headline goes to Wes. Heeeee.)

The Best of L.A.   It's not in the Weekly this month, but in Los Angeles Magazine -- in a layout that looks so much like the Saveur 100 that I wonder if they're owned by the same publisher, we're given the magazine's view of 101 great reasons to live in L.A. Some of 'em are too rich for my blood, some of 'em I have quibbles with but others are places I patronize regularly. Let's have a look at some:

1. Cheese plate at Mélisse. As much as I'd love to try this, I don't want to have to take out a second mortgage on the house to eat at Mélisse. In the meantime, I'll head over to the Cheese Store of Silver Lake and say to Chris, "I rather fancy some cheese comestibles. Pick four."

11. Creole food at Uncle Darrow's. They've abandoned their original shack location on Venice near Dunsmuir and opened a new, sit-down place on Lincoln in Venice. Perfect fried seafood (especially catfish), and perhaps their Platonic Dish is the "Zeek" poor boy, piled high with fresh-out-of-the-fryer-hot fried catfish and ice-cold potato salad. Sounds weird, but it's a revelation.

Any mention of Creole food in Los Angeles is incomplete, however, without highly energetic recommendations for Harold & Belle's and Stevie's on the Strip in the Crenshaw District and Stevie's Creole Café in the Valley.

13. Ice cream at Mashti Malone's. The world's greatest Persian ice cream parlor, and one of L.A.'s treasures. Besides the Middle Eastern delights of rose, pistachio and saffron ice cream plus the rosewater ice with strands of spaghetti-like "starch" for chewiness, there are also American classics like Rocky Road, vanilla and a perfect strawberry. Ice cream doesn't get any better than this. Ben and Jerry's, Shmen and Shmerry's!

19. Jill's Paints in Atwater Village. Very personal service and advice from Peg and her gang, plus comfy tables, free coffee and, according to the magazine, a wine bar (sheesh, we missed that when we bought all our paint for the new house there). Peggy sat down with us and the pictures of the house, talked with us about our color ideas and choices and set us up with all the rights stuff from the Benjamin Moore Historic Colors collection. "They're idiot-proof," she said, which relieved us. Paints in stock range from the inexpensive to the nice-but-quite-affordable to the shockingly expensive but stunning, plus all the accoutrements you need.

24. Diner breakfast at Rae's in Santa Monica. A truly wonderful greasy spoon to be sure, but right here in my beloved Eagle Rock I heartily recommend Pat and Lorraine's, which not only has cheap and great diner/coffee shop food but was also the diner featured in the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs ("Cough up the buck, ya cheap bastard, I paid for your goddamn breakfast!").

39. Hot chocolate at Señor Fred in Studio City. Never been there, but it sounds good: Mexican hot chocolate thickened with a little masa and made from scratch, not from Abuelita tablets. Bittersweet chocolate, cream, milk, brown sugar and cinnamon, served with five house-made cookies. Wow. So far the best I've had in town is the Mexican chocolate at Guelaguetza, and the thick, rich stuff at Clementine in Century City with three huge house-made marshmallows plopped on top.

46. Pizza at Casa Bianca Pizza Pie in Eagle Rock. Our beloved hometown favorite. The pizza is so good, and I love it so much, that we never go there anymore. Yep, your wait on a weekend night is going to be at least an hour, and at least 20-30 minutes on a weeknight (which is now the only time we ever go). Good, good pizza and probably the most famous eatery in our little town, but I'm too impatient to wait these days. It takes me an hour or more to get home, and the last thing I want to do is stand in line for an hour to have dinner.

49. Guacamole made at tableside at Villa Sombrero in Highland Park. Since we're so close to it I consider Highland Park to be my neighborhood too, and this is one of my favorite Mexican places there. Fantastic carnitas, huge servings and when you order guacamole the waitperson makes it fresh at your table. Impressive ... most impressive.

56. Steak dinner at the Buggy Whip in Westchester. My old LMU stomping grounds, but I haven't been here since I was a student. The steaks are great, if you like steak, and it's frozen in time in 1950 -- red leather booths, "seasoned waitresses and green goddess dressing served without irony." (Hey, green goddess dressing was invented by Chef Warren LeRuth from New Orleans, who was a genius, and there'll be no dissing him in my presence.) We also like Damon's on Brand in Glendale -- it's the Enchanted Tiki Room of steakhouses (without the talking birds and singing flowers) and nice, strong Mai Tais.

64. Mole sauce at Guelaguetza. This needs to be much higher on the list. Guelaguetza (which I discovered before Jonathan Gold, thankyouverymuch) serves cuisine from Oaxaca in the south of Mexico, and it's unlike any Mexican food you've ever had. The moles of that region are more complex and richly layered in flavors than many of the highest creations of the French saucier, the chorizo is the best anywhere and ... well, it's all the best anywhere. By far my favorite Mexican restaurant, because it's so different as well as so good.

74. Lasagna at Angelini Osteria. I haven't had the lasagna yet, but I've swooned over the house-made guanciale. I'd love to eat there again, but I hated the atmosphere -- insanely overly crowded and lots of obnoxious film industry types and their feckin' cell phones. (In a restaurant. Talking on a cell phone in a restaurant. There ought to be special prisons for these people.)

98. French food at Bastide. One day, one day ... I wanted to go there last March for Wes' birthday, until I read that dinner for two with wine can cost $400 (gulp). Maybe after that Lotto win...

Oh, I nearly forgot. As for No. 71, The Abbey in West Hollywood ... they might like the atmosphere, but that places makes the shittiest drinks I've ever had. I ordered a Manhattan there once; there wasn't a bottle of Angostura Bitters anywhere in the bar, the whiskey was watered down, the proportions were wrong, the bartender was a jerk, and it was $10. Never. Again.

I looooooooove L.A. ...

It is to shudder.   I don't usually do this, but today I'm going to quote someone else's post in its entirety, rather than just link to it. Kevin writes:

"'How am I a closet Democrat? I'm racist, I love guns and I hate welfare.'" Michelle Goldberg of Salon checks out the college Republican convention in DC, and discovers many of the attendees to be exactly the bitter, troubled, pugnacious, and ignorant children you might expect (and as the study suggests.) "I'm a Republican because liberals make me sick," says one deluded soul, for example, "I don't like whiny people and tree-huggers." (He then proceeds to whine incessantly about how affirmative action and taxes screwed him over.) Meanwhile, the "adults" at the convention spend their time fostering this hate in the name of the almighty buck. "Gene McDonald, who sold 'No Muslims = No Terrorists' bumper stickers at the Conservative Political Action Conference in January, was doing a brisk trade in 'Bring Back the Blacklist' T-shirts, mugs and mouse pads." Scary stuff.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Dean in 2004.

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Friday, July 25, 2003
My new favorite song.   "Pig Meat Is What I Crave", by Bo Carter, early 1930s, from the album Banana In Your Fruit Basket, filled with Carter's delightfully risqué songs such as "Don't Mash My Digger So Deep" and "My Pencil Won't Write No More". The first song really is about pork, though (pig meat, that is!).

Don't use (or even say) "the 'M' word."   Mar ... marg ... margar ... nnnnnnnnnnn! *shudder*

It's full of trans-fats and bad bad bad for you. Use butter (and in the link read everything you always wanted to know about it, in a nearly book-length treatise). It tastes far better, and it's ... not quite so bad for you!

Learn about the different grades of butter, why you should only use salted butter for spreading and never for cooking, and much more. Even better, try to find European-style or "Plugra" butter, which has 11% less water and more butterfat (ooh). Learn how to churn your own butter at home, and how to make chocolate butter! And, if you like, join my boycott of Challenge brand butter, because when I was at UCLA's part-time culinary program doing my restaurant project and trying to get wholesale food prices to build my menu, they were very rude and mean to me and refused to help me, the bastards (and have therefore lost my business for life, especially if I ever open a little restaurant one day).

Whoo! Pharmacists!   I have to thank the horrid traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard on the way to work this morning for this, without which I might not have seen it. The flow of cars was not unlike chilled molasses, and I found myself stopped in front of the famed Troubadour. There was a poster in the window -- behind a broken pane at that, taped together with black tape to obscure at least half the poster -- but I still managed to see that my favorite band of the last couple of years, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, are going to be there next Tuesday. Man, I've been waiting to see these guys for ages.

Quirky, intelligent pop-punk with a very driving beat, hard-edged but very catchy hooks, with Ted's trademark high-pitched vocals and literate lyrics. (My favorite quote is from the web site: "I consider myself a perpetual English major, but I also get into bar fights.") Check out a few MP3s: "Under the Hedge" and "Squeaky Fingers" are on The Tyranny of Distance, and "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone" and "The High Party" are on the new one, Hearts of Oak. If you're an subscriber, you can download the entire The Tyranny of Distance album as part of your $9.99 monthly fee. (Have I mentioned recently how much I love Emusic?)

Seeya at the Troub on Tuesday.

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Thursday, July 24, 2003
The Cocktailian.   Today Gary Regan takes us on another visit to the Professor for an intriguing Manhattan variation that might just get me to spring for a whole bottle of Amaro Nonino ... the Uptown Manhattan.

(Oh, and I'm trying out a new comments system, too.)

Gray Davis should resign.   The California Gubernatorial Recall Debacle has officially begun.

If you look at how it's all constructed, it's pretty insane. If voters approve the recall, whichever candidate has the most votes (not a majority, mind you) will win, even if said candidate only has 10 or 15 percent of the total. So far the only declared candidate is Rep. Darrell Issa, the third-rate Republican politician (and millionare car alarm salesman, who oddly enough was arrested twice for car theft) who paid for the recall campaign. If he were to win, it would mean that the California governorship can be bought by any jerk with enough money. Then, there's the looming prospect of a run or even a win by Conan the Republican.

Davis has said that he will "fight like a Bengal tiger" to retain his office, but given the fact that a great number of Democrats undoubtedly had to sign the recall petitions in order to get the numbers the only sure way to keep the governorship from falling victim to a right-wing takeover is for Davis to resign before the general election and let Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamente take the governorship. If he cares about the state more than his own sorry ass, that's what he'll do.

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Wednesday, July 23, 2002
"The hands come off so I can take them across the street for a manicure."   The story of the Ernie K-Doe statue makes it to the New York Times, with the above being my favorite quote from Antoinette. (Thanks, Lia and Steve!)

Freeeeennnnch friiiiiies ... *spirals in eyeballs*   I am a French fried potato monster.

It's my major food weakness. I know they're not good for me, but damn, do I love fries. I try to limit my intake to one serving a week (and a reasonably-sized serving at that; I don't do fast-food outlets and their obscene "Super Sizes" and "Biggies").

I've thought about making them at home; if you fry them properly, all the oil gets left behind except one tablespoon, just like Florence Henderson said. But who wants to deal with deep frying, leftover oil, etc.? I've tried oven-baked fries before, but they're almost always terrible.

This recipe from claims to be a good one, and apparently the secret is this: you have to make shoestring fries, no more than 1/4" on a side. We'll see ...

Arsebiscuits!   Two swearing links passed our merry way this week, scholarly the both of 'em. American swearing tends to be very uncreative, just a few words culled from a rather short list and hurled more with anger than with a true desire to insult. Come on, folks. Surely we can do better than "Fuck you!" ... take a lesson from the former Yugoslavs, who raise truly foul cursing to a near-art form. It must be a Slavic thing, as the Russians are apparently very good at it too. Some good friends of mine are both Russian scholars, and I remember seeing a book at their house once entitled The Dictionary of Russian Cursing and Obscenity. You just had to admire the depth and breadth of the multilayered, complex and unbelievably vile curses contained therein; a whole book of it too, amazing considering how taboo swearing is in Russian society. I showed the book to our friend Vasily, then a recent immigrant from the then-Soviet Union, who flipped through it, appalled, and blurted out, "I do not know know these words! I have not been to prison!"

I've always enjoyed swearing in the Queen's English, as the words are a bit more unfamiliar to Americans and they tend to be more fun to say. "Bloody" is a good, relatively unoffensive (at least to Americans) swear word, and it's awfully great fun to say "Bollocks!"

Still, for sheer personal delight, nothing works for me like Irish swearing, given my own ancestry, the amount of time I've spent in Ireland over the years and my delight with the use of the English language by the Irish. As far as swear words go, "Gobshite" is a good one (and particularly enjoyable when shouting it at someone whilst driving), but the quintessential Irish exclamation is undoubtedly "feck", as ye fans of "Father Ted" are well aware. It's close enough to the dreaded F-word to have some impact, but it's almost completly meaningless, not nearly as rude but just as versatile and is actually kind of cute. I remember visting back in 1990, determined to snap a portrait of my friend Margaret; although she was quite attractive she absolutely refused to be photographed. In Clancy's Pub in Athy, Co. Kildare, during a rousing and fantastic traditional music session, she responded to a funny story with an uproarious laugh and broad smile, and at that moment I brought up the camera and snapped a perfect picture. Her face morphed into an expression of shock and mock horror, and she shrieked at me, "FECKER!" (Aww, how adorable.)

My Irish language teacher at UCLA once told us that there are no actual curse words in Irish, but Irish speakers tend to use English swear words and put them into the Irish vocative case. We laughed and didn't believe him, but I've heard this in action. In a pub in Spiddal, Co. Galway several years ago, I was at the bar listening to traditional music from P.J. and Marcus Hernon out of one ear, but with the other was listening in to a grand tale being told (in Irish, of which I was catching about every twelfth word) at a nearby table. One woman at the table, who ostensibly was supposed to be listening to the tale-teller with rapt attention, was instead periodically rising to peek out the window at the fight that was brewing between two teenage boys out in the street in front of the pub (one of them having made a pass at the other's girlfriend). Finally, the teller got fed up and shouted, "Suigh síos, a bhitch!", which means, "Sit down, bitch!" in Irish and English-swearing-in-the-Irish-vocative. Damn, Séamus was right.

Actually, there's an entire tense in Irish that's sometimes called "the blessing and cursing tense", beginning with the particle "go" and translating generally as "may this or that happen to you"; e.g.; "Go scriosa Dia do thóin bheagmhaitheasach," or, "May God destroy your worthless butt." A little Googling revealed a whole list of Irish-language curses and, of course, our old friend An tInneal Mallachtaí, the Irish curse engine. (Arse!)

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Monday, July 21, 2003
A horribly wounded community begins to heal.   With regards to last Wednesday's tragedy at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, Andy has already done a better job of reporting it than I could. The Market was a wonderful community of farmers, customers, foodies and chefs, and I enjoyed attending and shopping there whenever I could. The Market will come back -- it's already back -- but I fear it'll never be the same. I sincerely hope that the entire Market community will do all they can to keep the spirit of the market alive, and to remember those who are no longer with us.

In a bizarre coincidence, the LA Weekly ran a long-planned history and profile of the Santa Monica Farmer's Market by Michelle Huneven. It's excellent. Also check out Chef Evan Kleiman's "Good Food" radio program on July 19; it usually features a Farmer's Market report from Market manager Laura Avery but instead Evan and Laura remember the victims.


Another PayPal scam.   If you get an email today purporting to be from PayPal, for Gawd's sakes don't click on the links and don't enter any of your personal information, especially your PayPal ID and password.

As authentic as it may look, it's another attempt to get to your bank account and credit card information so a thief can rob you blind. Note the URLs very carefully -- they don't go to, but to "", which is a very cleverly disguised site that looks exactly like PayPal's site.

The domain "" is NOT PayPal, and is registered by Melbourne IT in Australia to one Richard Stanfill of 11417 Clematis Blvd., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15235-3102, telephone (412) 244-8544. I'm not making any accusations, mind you, but it's probably safe to presume that if the domain he registered and owns is being used for this site then there is a distinct possibility that he is a great big fucking crook. I have difficulty imagining any legitimate use for a domain that includes the term "paypal" unless it's PayPal.

If you get the email, whose subject line is "Paypal Member ID Confirmation", don't enter any information but report him to the FBI at ... and if you EVER get a piece of email purporting to be from PayPal asking you to confirm your information, report it -- PayPal NEVER do that. It's always a fraud.

UPDATE - The site is already down. I hope the perpetrator is on his way to jail.


29 Days Later.   Although I did like Danny Boyle's new film "28 Days Later" (being a longtime fan of post-apocalyptic tales), I wasn't too sure about the ending. Not bleak enough!

Now, in a rather unusual move, it appears that Fox Searchlight will tack on an alternate ending to the movie this coming Friday.

The downbeat, darker ending will run at the end of the credits. "Otherwise, projectionists would have to splice in the four minutes of footage or Searchlight would have had to strike new prints," notes John Horn of the L.A. Times.

The version of "28 Days Later" now in American theaters concludes with the ending that was in the original script. Screenwriter Alex Garland and director Danny Boyle then devised a grimmer ending, set in a hospital, but rejected it as being too bleak, according to Horn.

The alternate ending will be distributed to all theaters showing "28 Days Later" in the U.S. for screenings from July 25 through the end of the film's run. The darker ending is featured on the British version of the DVD.

I hope it'll be on the American DVD as well.


Do you feel safe yet?   Last month, here in the United States, a man was sitting in a coffee shop reading an article from an alternative newspaper; the article was entitled "Weapons of Mass Stupidity" and was critical of so-called Fox News. Another patron thought what the man was reading was "suspicious", followed him, presumably got his license plate number and called the FBI ... who proceeded to pay the man a visit to question him. For reading a newspaper article.

This. Is. Wrong. (Your papers, please.)


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  Thursday, July 17, 2003
Quote of the day.   "President Bush made a comment a week ago, and he said 'bring it on.' Well, they brought it on, and now my nephew is dead."

-- Mary Kewatt, aunt of Edward James Herrgott, 20, who was killed by a sniper in Baghdad.


If pigs could fly.   Steve sent this in, after getting an email from a friend of his about something called Taylor ham.

"I doubt if anyone outside of New Jersey has ever heard of this," he said, "but it is a spiced ham that is popular only in N.J. (from what I can tell) and is generally sliced thin, fried, topped with a fried egg and served on a Kaiser roll (which I can't get in Arkansas). Take my word for it when I say there is no other ham like it.

"I ordered it on-line from a place called Pork Roll Express. And as soon as I receive it, I expect four cardiologists to send me invitations to see them."

The Pork Roll Express site is a treat. We're big connoisseurs of restaurant and food service company logos featuring smiling, happy pigs (especially if they're waist-deep in the cauldrons in which they're being cooked), and this site is full of porcine graphics. I think my favorite is on the Delivery and Shipping page.

Still, I must confess skepticism about something called "pork roll". That suggests a chopped/pressed/formed cold cut rather than real ham or any thing with true porky goodness. New Jerseyites, any thoughts? Would I do better going to Satriale's Pork Store?


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  Monday, July 16, 2003
"Busy, busy, busy."   It's a thing we non-Bokononists say when we're ... um, really really busy.

Even more on the Emperor.   Ed Newman, intrepid Looka! reader in New Orleans, sends us even more on Our Beloved Emperor of the Universe:

In the 2002 Krewe Du Vieux parade, held in the midst of a desultory mayoral campaign, I came up with the idea of running K-Doe for mayor. We made up a campaign float for Ernie, crowned with his slogan ("Keep the Jive Alive", also placed on bumper stickers throughout the city) and placed the mannequin atop it. Best of all was, as the parade started rolling, Antoinette, K-Doe's widow, jumped into the mannequin's lap and rode the entire parade route so ensconced. Also, all fifty of us were dressed up as K-Doe. I ordered a nifty gold lamé shirt, with matching tie and tie chain from International Male, and paired it with some spangled clef notes on some chinos.

Ernie's campaign promises: move City Hall to the Mother-In-Law Lounge; rename the Superdome the K-Dome; secede from the United States and proclaim the independent Isle of Orleans, with himself as Emperor; and to abolish mayoral elections thereafter.

When the field of candidates was a bunch of live ones, we had no choice but to vote for the dead guy. He may be gone, but he's still Emperor.

Hey, if dead people can vote for a live guy in St. Bernard Parish, surely live people can vote for a dead guy in Orleans.

The Cocktailian.   In Gary Regan's column this week the Professor again meets the mysterious bearded stranger, who demands a Sazerac and one properly made, no less (the only way, really).

God knows we don't need even more Sazerac talk around here -- I usually babble enough on that subject as it is. However ... I applaud the Professor's method and the fact that he eschews the use of Angostura bitters in addition to the Peychaud's. But serving in a champagne flute? Oh my, I think not. Double Old Fashioned glass is proper, but Wes and I have been known to serve them in cocktail glasses during the summer.

Welcome to da Nint' Wawd, dawlin'!   It's where my family's from. It's where Fats Domino is from. It's where praline bacon is from ... and so much more. Ever wonder about those references to "the Ninth Ward" in New Orleans? Where is it? What is it? What is a "ward", anyway? Bunny Matthews, creator of "F'Sure!" and "Vic 'n Nat'ly" and esteemed writer on local music and culture, takes us on a tour of his beloved Bywater and beyond.

[ Link to today's entries ]

  Wednesday, July 9, 2003
The Emperor of the World's stand-in.   A couple of people asked what was up with the whole Ernie K-Doe mannequin thing, so a note of explanation. After the self-proclaimed Emperor of the World/Universe (and famous New Orleans R&B singer of "Mother-in-Law" fame) passed away, a local musician and adoring fan constructed a rather amazing likeness of the Emperor, right down to the wacky clothes, wig, crown and long fingernails. Its creator presented it to K-Doe's widow Antoinette, who loved it. The faux K-Doe made its debut at an event K-Doe had been scheduled to attend, was a huge hit, and the rest is history. The K-Doe simulacrum holds court at the Mother-In-Law Lounge every day, and frequently appears around town.

All hail the Emperor!

Whooped upside the head with a baseball bat by the Karma Cops.   I don't get it, me. Of course, I'm completely apathetic about sports and I've only been to one baseball game in my entire life (the tickets for which were free, and I was mostly interested in the hot dogs). Lots of people are fans, of course, and some people are fanatics, and then there's this (sent in by my baseball-loving friend Steve):

Fan who caught Bonds' record homer sued by attorney

A lawyer who represented one of the fans who claimed ownership of Barry Bonds' record-setting 73rd home run ball is suing his former client for $473,500 -- $23,500 more than the historic ball fetched at auction.

San Francisco attorney Martin Triano said Alex Popov, the Giants fan who briefly gloved the ball before being mauled in the Pac Bell Park stands in October 2001, owes him that much in legal fees stemming from the long-running dispute over the collectible.

Represented by Triano, Popov sued San Diego college student Patrick Hayashi, who ended up with the Bonds ball after the scramble in the stands. In his suit, Popov argued that he deserved to have the ball, which represented the single-season record for most homers.

But after a year of litigation, a San Francisco judge ordered the two men to sell it and split the proceeds.

He "deserved" to have the ball? Well then, he shouldn't have dropped it. There's that sense-of-entitlement plague rearing its ugly head again. I'm also boggled by the idea that anyone would pay between $450K and $3.2 million for a $5 baseball. Somebody in the midst of that melée could have pocketed that baseball and replaced it was one from the sporting goods store, and no one would have known the difference. I can see why someone would pay $3.2 million for a painting by Van Gogh (although they're up to $20+ million now), but not for a $5 baseball that happened to be at the right place at the right time. Sports. I just don't get it.


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  Tuesday, July 8, 2003
Only in New Orleans...   That's a phrase you hear New Orleanians say fairly often. There are some things about which you can really make no other comment other than to shake your head (either with great satisfaction or occasionally with an eyeball roll). In this case, the phrase came to mind after reading the following press release regarding an upcoming event in the city this coming Sunday. It looks like a great musical lineup and it's for a great cause, but all that aside ... the relevant part is at the end, in boldface type.

P.O. BOX 19381
NEW ORLEANS, LA 70719-0381
phone (504) 949-2785, fax (504) 947-2130

At 7 PM on Sunday, July 13 (the anniversary of Ernie K-Doe's death and a full moon), Rock 'n Bowl will host a benefit for the Friends of New Orleans Cemeteries effort to raise money for the New Orleans Musicians' Tomb. FNOC is restoring an historic society tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #2 which will provide free burial for New Orleans musicians.

The July 13th benefit will feature the talents of James Andrews, Bruce Sunpie Barnes, Harold Brown, Davell Crawford, Rockin' Dopsie Jr., Gennifer Flowers, Clarence Frogman Henry, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Big Chief Tootie Montana, Oliver "Who Shot the La-La" Morgan, Tony Owens, Ben Sandmel, Trombone Shorty, Guitar Slim, Marva Wright, the only living Ink Spot Lloyd Washington and K-Doe's first cousin Walter "Wolfman" Washington all backed by the Richwell Insom Enterprise. Featured attractions include the Ernie K-Doe mannequin.

Note that the featured attraction isn't a K-Doe mannequin, it's the K-Doe mannequin.

Only in New Orleans...


I'm going insaaaaaaaaane!   I'm mad ... mad, I tell you! Up until all hours of the night, hunched over my computer, stashing album after album after album ...

I blame Josh. It's entirely his fault, because it was from the linked post that I learned about eMusic, an online MP3 subscription service that, in some ways, beats the living crap out of Apple's iTunes Music Store. Not that I don't love iTunes -- in fact, I spent about $45 in there over the last few weeks, and there'll probably always be stuff I want in there. But the kinds of music I'm really interested in -- lots of roots, folk, trad, blues and indie rock/pop -- are much more prevalent at eMusic than in iTunes.

For starters, hey have almost the entire output of Shanachie's Yazoo label, which remasters rare 78rpm records. So far in my queue I've got almost two dozen compilations of old-time music, early jazz, early and proto-blues, and I see more stuff than I'll be able to download in months. My $45 for four dozen or so songs if spent on an eMusic membership would get me almost three years of downloading that's only limited by my ability to stay awake to point and click. My free trial netted me 50 songs (which would have cost me $49.50 with Apple), and I decided to sign up for a year of unlimited, digital-rights-management-free MP3s at $9.99 per month. That's what Apple charges for a single album, so if I download at least 13 albums between now and July 8, 2004, it will have been a better deal.

Shit. I'll probably download 13 albums tonight.


Oops! I did it again!   In a surprising -- nay, earth-shattering -- revelation, the White House, as reported by the Toronto Star, "has admitted that the U.S. President George W. Bush was wrong when he said last January that Iraq had recently sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa." Thing is, we knew that all along, and members of the intelligence community knew that it was wrong bullshit even before the State of the Union address was made.

If I may address those dopey protesters outside Vroman's last week (and their ilk) -- yes, Clinton lied. We all know he lied. He got a blowjob (or a series of blowjobs) from an intern less than half his age and lied about it. Shameful behavior, and I'm sure his wife and daughter were very hurt by his actions. Now, how many people died because of that?

As Tom Tomorrow put it today (with link inserted by me),

There are currently some 200 dead American military personnel as I write this, and certainly more on the way, and god only knows how many dead Iraqi civilians, and we're looking at a years, maybe decades-long commitment in Iraq, and untold billions of dollars to be spent, all because Bush lied about something a bit more serious than a blow job from a silly intern. And the longer the supporters of this quagmire-in-the-making deny the obvious, the more foolish they will eventually look.
How far is the distance between "being wrong" and "telling a lie"? Perhaps we'll find out soon.


That's, that's ... shocking!!   Today's news brings us a truly unbelievable morals scandal that's certain to bring our country crashing down to the ground. I'm so stunned from the surprise that I can barely move my fingers to type this newsflash:

Britney Spears Says She's Not a Virgin

Pop princess Britney Spears has admitted that she had sex with former boyfriend Justin Timberlake despite once vowing to remain a virgin until she wed.

In the upcoming issue of W magazine, Spears details her relationship with Timberlake... "The most painful thing I have ever experienced was that breakup," Spears told W. "We were together so long and I had this vision. You think you're going to spend the rest of your life together. Where I come from, the woman is the homemaker, and that's how I was brought up -- you cook for your kids."

(Yeah. She was going to marry Justin, then stay at home, be a homemaker, spend most of her time in the kitchen and raise the kids. Right.)

The 21-year-old Spears, whose stratospheric rise from Mouseketeer to pop megastar mirrored Timberlake's success, revealed that she had sex with the 'N Sync boy band singer because she believed they would marry someday.

"I've only slept with one person my whole life," she said. "It was two years into my relationship with Justin, and I thought he was the one. But I was wrong!"

It's just appalling, why, how could she do such a thing?! ...

THAT'S how.

Oh. Um ... er, well. No wonder!

<voice="Emily Litella">Never mind!</voice>

(May I just ask that on a day when the other headlines, which were only just above this one on one of the news sites and included a racist shooting massacre in Mississippi, more soldier injured in Iraq, the White House admitting to an "error" in the State of the Union address with regards to weapons of mass destruction and the death of the 29-year-old conjoined Iranian twins after failed separation surgery... why? Is? This? In? The? News?)


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  Monday, July 7, 2003
Ooh, I was baaaad on Saturday ...   I did The Bad Thing With The Credit Card.

I had promised myself that I wouldn't do this until next March, when my car was paid off. I'd take what would have been my next car payment and then use it to do what I ended up doing Saturday morning. I'll just take that first non-car payment amount and put it back in the credit card account, eh? That'll work!

What I did was to go to The Apple Store in Pasadena and buy a 30GB iPod.

Yeah, they're pricey, but I'll sell my old 5GB model and that'll help take the edge off. Yeah, I have quibbles with the new design (I can't stand that it has a proprietary connector now, and not just a standard FireWire port, plus the ports on the top have changed and I now have to buy another iTrip), but the bottom line is that this thing has enough room in its slim little body to play nearly three solid weeks of music (as long as you're plugged into the AC charger). Seven thousand songs. That's a lot.

I've been using my MP3s and iTunes on the air a lot, but since my internal iBook hard drive is only 10GB, I've been keeping the ever-growing batch of MP3s on my big external hard drive. I got really tired of hauling that thing back and forth to the radio station, so when I heard that the new version of the iPod software allows you to make playlists on the go, right on the iPod, I was sold. My on-air setup will be much less unwieldy now, plus I'll be able to carry a mind-boggling amount of music (which, I hope, will help facilitate listener requests) in a more streamlined package that's now smaller than ever. Ain't technology grand?


The weekend's cinema-going.   It was hot. We don't have air conditioning. We went to the movies three days in a row.

"Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" wasn't a big disappointment only because our expectations were relatively low. Neither of us were terribly impressed with the Jonathan Mostow's previous effort "U-571", so we weren't expecting anything at the level of "T2". The movie looked good and had a few spectacular action sequences, would-be governor Conan the Republican is still remarkably buff for age 55 and the T-X character was well-played, with some interestingly evil attachments. However, the story was weak, the machines didn't exactly rise until the very end of the picture (and there weren't all that many of them), and then there was the constant shrieking of Claire "What Am I Doing In This Movie?" Danes. Two stars.

Fortunately, Friday's letdown was overcome by Saturday's triumph. "Finding Nemo" is one of the best films of the year, period, and one of the most beautiful animated films I've ever seen. Very well written, funny, engaging for adults as well as children, great characterizations and vocal performances (Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres were perfect, and how long did it take you to notice that the angelfish was Willem Dafoe?) and just stupendous computer animation. I can hardly wait to see what's next from Pixar -- their teaser trailer for next year's "The Invincibles" nearly caused me to spray Barq's all over the back of the head of the hapless person sitting in front of me. Four and one-half stars.

By this point we'd seen most everything that's out that we wanted to see, and in a fit of intellectual laziness decided against some of the foreign fare at the Laemmle Playhouse and opted for a Fourth of July Weekend-type movie (whatever that means). This time my relatively low expectations paid off with a surprise, as we both really enjoyed "The Italian Job". It was highly implausible and quite lightweight, but very entertaining throughout, and who couldn't resist a Mini Cooper chase? Three stars.


Silly Flash of the Day.   Four Horses, although whether or not they accompany The Apocalypse I'm not sure. Just start clicking; you'll quickly know what to do.

Is that pronounced "LEER" or "lee-YAY"?   (D'oh ... somehow this managed to avoid getting posted last Wednesday due to webloggy glitchiness.)

A week ago Sunday morning Wes and I got together with a couple of friends and headed to Vroman's in what was a feeble attempt to meet Sen. Hillary Clinton and get an autographed copy of her book. Alas, as it turned out, one would have had to get there well before 6:30am in order to get a copy. Vroman's inexplicable rules for this signing allowed each person two copies instead of just one, meaning that of the over 1,000 people in line, only 400 or so got signed books and most of the line-standers (ourselves included) were disappointed.

Still, we had fun. It was a lovely morning, we snacked on banana walnut bread and chocolate banana shakes and hung out with all the really nice people in line. We were also lucky enough to have free entertainment provided for us while we were in line -- five lone anti-Hilary protesters across the street from the bookstore. There was a grizzled-looking older guy, perhaps a veteran, who kept waving flags and replying to every statement and question directed to him with an automaton-like "We're bringing freedom to the entire world!" There was a Monica Lewinksy lookalike wearing a blue dress and knee pads (gee, what a knee-slappingly original bit of humor), dancing around and lifting up her skirt. Apparently the point was to make fun of Ms. Lewinsky, but all she succeeded in doing was allowing us to see her fat thighs and bulging panties (and believe us, dear, we really didn't care to see what was under your skirt). However, my favorites were the sign-carriers. "Monica" carried the former:

The Clinton's Are Trouble!


Lier, Lier, Pants On Fire

Hey, wannabe Monica, may I offer a bit of a lesson on the proper use of the apostrophe (you idiot)? The bearer of the second sign kept saying "The truth is more important than spelling!" The truth about what was apparently destined to be kept from us, despite repeated questions.

They were all just so precious, bless their suppurating little hearts.


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  Friday, July 4, 2003
We'll set everybody free.   Happy Independence Day, y'all. I hope your 4th is full of fabulous cocktails and grilled food, and no long car trips (ugh).

I'll mark this 4th of July holiday with the lyrics of a song I played in my first set of music on "Down Home" last night. It's my favorite ... er, patriotic song, and although I pretty much always play in on my radio program on or near the 4th of July, it has never been more relevant than it is this year.

Political Science
by Randy Newman.

No one likes us, I don't know why;
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try.
And all around, even our old friends put us down ...
Let's drop The Big One, and see what happens.

We give them money, but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful.
They don't respect us, so let's surprise them;
We'll drop The Big One, and pulverize them.

Asia's crowded, and Europe's too old,
Africa is far too hot, and Canada's too cold,
And South America stole our name,
Let's drop The Big One, they'll be no no one left to blame us.

We'll save Australia.
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo.
We'll build an all-American amusement park there;
They got surfin', too!

Boom goes London, and boom Paree,
More room for you and more room for me.
And every city the whole world 'round
Will just be another American town,
Oh, how peaceful it'll be.
We'll set everybody free!
You'll wear a Japanese kimono, babe, there'll be Italian shoes for me!

They all hate us anyhow,
So let's drop The Big One now.
Let's drop The Big One now.


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  Thursday, July 3, 2003
Chris Schefler, R.I.P. (1966-2003)   Chris, who along with Thomas Leavitt founded Webcom, one of the first (if not the first) consumer web hosting services, passed away Monday before last; he took his own life.

When I first started this web site I was one of many disgruntled Netcom shell subscribers, having to host the site out of my ftp directory (its original URL was the abominably unwieldy ... ugh). Chris and Thomas cobbled together some code to give all us would-be webmasters an automated access report for free, which was pretty cool. Several months later, in October of 1994, when I was very ready for such a thing, Chris invited me to be one of the first subscribers to his and Thomas' new venture, Web Communications. My site's accesses and popularity grew exponentially due to the easier access, the service was friendly, and they had a great four-year run until they were swallowed up by Verio (who ruined everything) and I bailed.

I never knew Chris personally, but we swapped emails on and off for years while he was hosting my site. If it weren't for him I might not be virtually here, and I'm grateful for everything he (and Thomas) did for me. Thanks for everything, Chris ... I hope you've found peace.

Thomas Leavitt and 
Chris Schefler (right)
Thomas Leavitt with Chris Schefler (right)

There's a tribute to Chris on Thomas' Savage Stupidity site; scroll down until you see the above picture.


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  Wednesday, July 2, 2003
Quote of the day.   Real. Not made up. (Really, no one could make this stuff up.)

President Bush said Wednesday that American troops under fire in Iraq aren't about to pull out, and he challenged those tempted to attack U.S. forces, "Bring them on."

"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on," Bush said. "We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."

"I am shaking my head in disbelief," [Sen. Frank] Lautenberg [D-N.J.] said. "When I served in the Army in Europe during World War II, I never heard any military commander -- let alone the commander in chief -- invite enemies to attack U.S. troops."

I suspect that George W. Bush may well drop in popularity among serviceman and women, and the parents, spouses and other family members of servicemen and women, particularly those who are currently in Iraq and Afghanistan -- the president challenged the enemy to attack your loved ones. May I remind such people and their families that the boastful Mr. Bush hasn't seen so much as one second of combat, having used his family's political and financial power to get into the Texas Air National Guard (in line in front of many far more qualified applicants) and that, during a great deal of the time he was in military service, was absent without leave?


Bye bye, IE. *plonk!*   Microsoft have announced that they are dropping development of the Internet Explorer web browser for the Macintosh platform. Okay, fair enough. I deleted it last night.

I downloaded the latest version of Safari, Apple's own browser for OS X, and set it up this morning. Even though it's only a 1.0 version not long out of beta, I like it a lot, and I predict that before too much longer I'll be saying, "IE who?"

This leaves my machine now almost completely Microsoft-free, save for the free version of the Windows Media Player. Alas, some webcasting radio stations don't offer their audio stream in any other format.


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  Tuesday, July 1, 2003
Yum yum yum!   Wow, a great place to eat for when we go to the Austin City Limits Music Festival! (The scary thing is, I'd probably eat the Blue Corn Smut dish ...)


Speaking of Austin ...   They seem to be coming on board with the cocktail renaissance, if a recent article in their local paper is any indication. (Thanks, Tim!)

I have to quibble with the author, though. While he's right that you probably won't want to use a $75 sipping tequila to make a Margarita, just remember that the old saying for computer programming works for cocktail creation too: "Garbage in, garbage out." The author says, "Virtually any blanco or plata tequila with a decent triple sec and real lime juice will taste much better." Sweetie, I guarantee that a Margarita made with Herradura Silver, Cointreau or Citronge and real lime juice will taste better than a Margarita with the $8 a bottle Cuervo silver, $5 a liter Bols triple sec and real lime juice. That said, he does well to recommend Sauza, Herradura and Cazadores tequilas.

Here's hoping that Austinites, as well as people around the country, will begin to demand more from their bartenders and bar managers (hey, can't blame the bartender if all the manager orders is crappy "margarita mix" instead of buying lemons and limes).


A little dab'll do ya.   My friend Sean sends in his recipe for chile oil. Yum.

Get a little (.5L) bottle of olive oil . If it's quite full, pour off a bit of it so that there'll be room for the chile powder you'll add later, or just get an empty bottle and pour olive oil into it but don't fill it to the top -- either way, the bottle should be glass, not plastic. Take the top off the bottle so that there's no chance of popping/exploding in the next step.

Put a pot of tepid water on the stove (maybe 2 inches deep?), and turn on the flame to medium heat. Put in the bottle, and let the water come to a slight boil. Once the water is boiling, take the bottle out and, use a funnel to add some dried chile powder to the oil. The quantity and composition is entirely up to you; but I tend toward using maybe two tablespoons of dried crushed/powdered chipotle, and then a few pinches of dried/crushed ancho or cayenne. The chipotle is mellow and smokey, and then the stronger sharper ancho or cayenne will add a bit of zing to it. I've recently started experimenting with pasilla powder, but I'm not quite sure how it should fit in here. I've at times added a bit of cumin powder, too.

Do NOT add fresh garlic or fresh herbs, as this will make the oil susceptable to spoiling (so you'd have to refrigerate it and use it within a few days).

Once you've got the chile powder added, it'll start settling thru the oil. Put the bottle back in the hot water, and let it sit maybe an hour. You might put the flame on low, or just turn it off. After maybe a half hour, the heat will have accelerated the process of the chile infusing its flavors into the olive oil. Take the bottle out of the water and set it on the counter to cool back to room temperature. If you wish, you can pour off or siphon off the infused oil, leaving the chile powder sludge at the bottom. Or, if you're very patient, filter it through a coffee filter set in a strainer. Then seal the bottle and store in a cool dark place. Use within a month.

Marinades, salad dressings, drizzle on freshly boiled sweet corn (mmmm) or any vegetable, a spicy sauté ...


It depends on what your definition of "guerrilla" is.   For the second time in recent weeks, I listened to Darth Rumsfeld on the radio, and could not believe my own ears. This beats even his absurd "the same shot of the same looter" and "how many vases could they possibly have in Iraq" comments.

Department of Defense News Briefing
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Monday, June 30, 2003 - 1:25 p.m. EDT

Q: Mr. Secretary, I'd like to ask you about a couple of words and phrases that keep popping up in the commentary about what's going on. One of them is "guerrilla war," and the other one is "quagmire." Now, I know you've admonished us not to --

Rumsfeld: I never have admonished you.

Q: -- not to rush to any judgment about a quagmire just because things are getting tough. But can you remind us again why this isn't a quagmire? And can you tell us why you're so reluctant to say that what's going on in Iraq now is a guerrilla war?

Rumsfeld: I'll do my best. I guess the reason I don't use the phrase "guerrilla war" is because there isn't one, and it would be a misunderstanding and a miscommunication to you and to the people of the country and the world. If you think what I just answered on the first question -- looters, criminals, remnants of the Ba'athist regime, foreign terrorists who came in to assist and try to harm the coalition forces, and those influenced by Iran -- I would say that those are five, if that was five items, five different things.

They're all slightly different in why they're there and what they're doing. That is -- doesn't make it anything like a guerrilla war or an organized resistance. It makes it like five different things going on that are functioning much more like terrorists.

I mean, if you think of what the Ba'athists and the remnants are doing, well, think what they did during the war, the Fedayeen Saddam. They put civilian clothes on, went around and took women and children and shoved them in front of them in Basra, as I recall, during the early part of the war, and attempted to use human shields and that kind of an approach. Now, that is not -- it doesn't fit that word.

So, I think I think that if one analyzes what is going on in that country, they would find a different way to characterize it. I know it's nice to be -- have a bumper sticker, but it's the wrong bumper sticker.

Q: Well, I know. But appreciating, as I do, your appreciation of precision in language -- (Inaudible.) --

Rumsfeld: You've got the dictionary definition?

Q: -- what the DoD definition of guerrilla war.

Rumsfeld: I was afraid you would have -- I should have looked it up. I knew I should have looked it up! (Laughter.) I --

Q: According to the Pentagon's own definition --

Rumsfeld: I could die that I didn't look it up!

Q: -- "Military and paramilitary operations conducted in enemy-held or hostile territory by irregular, predominantly indigenous forces". This seems to fit a lot of what's going on in Iraq.

Rumsfeld: It really doesn't. (Laughter.)

Rumsfeld's reply was followed by laughter. Well, naturally. People tend to laugh when they hear something absurd. Black! Here we have the definition of black! What do you think of that? Well, white, of course.


June Looka! entries have been permanently archived.

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This means that you may not copy my writing onto other web pages or anywhere else without my specific written permission. (Quotes of short passages, properly attributed, may be considered fair use.) If you do copy my work, it's called "stealing".

People who steal my stuff will be étoufféed and served to Dr. Lecter, with a nice Chianti. (I'm serious. Just don't do it. Thanks.)

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