Cat, sitting

April 5, 2020

Miss Mia Sopaipilla on the cushions.

We should

sit like a cat

and wait for the door

to open.

—”Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry,” by Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison

The fab four

April 4, 2020

Sick of oatmeal? Four Pepper Hash makes a nice change of pace.

Today being 4/4, it seemed a propitious morning to whip up my world-famous Four Pepper Hash.

Also, I was sick unto death of oatmeal.

Anyway, this dish is a breeze, loosely based on a 1993 Betty Crocker (!) recipe from the early days of marriage and underpaid freelancing.

You start with a couple cups of coarsely chopped spuds (I favor the reds; go figure). Microwave those commie taters for five minutes to speed the process along.

While the taters are nuking, coarsely chop about a cup of whatever peppers you have on hand. For this one I used red, yellow, and orange bells, plus a jalapeño.

Likewise take the knife to a couple scallions (or a quarter cup of whatever onion is nearby); a couple tablespoons of parsley and/or cilantro; a clove or two of garlic; and mebbe a bit of already-cooked meat (I had a chunk of andouille sausage left over from a jambalaya I made a couple days back).

For spices I’ve gone as basic as salt and pepper, especially if I’m not adding meat or if there are sissies at the table. A bit of thyme is nice too.

Depending upon what protein I’m using I’ve been known to add a generous pinch of Mexican oregano and some smoked Spanish paprika or red chile powder, or p’raps a dash of Penzey’s Cajun spice.

When you’ve got everything ready to go, heat two tablespoons of butter (or the alternative fat of your choice) in a skillet over medium heat and dump the lot in. Fry, stirring occasionally, for eight minutes or so until the spuds are nicely browned and the vegetables tender.

Fill your plates, grate a little sharp Cheddar and/or Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, and th’ow an egg over medium onto the sumbitch. Warmed flour tortillas on the side. That’s it.

Sack up

April 3, 2020

“We are frightfully bored. Thus, you may amuse us.”

“Today we shall play ‘Bag,” and ‘Crinkle Tube,’ and ‘Chase Me Chase Me.’ Then it will be time for lunch and an extended snooze, during which you are free to do whatever it is that you do when you are not serving me.”

Non-Race-Related Blah Blah Blah®

April 2, 2020

Well, it seems sports podcasters have finally caught up with what Charles Pelkey and I were doing all those years at Live Update Guy.

With everyone staying home and the athletic world as a whole looking a lot like the middle 75km of a flat Tour stage, they’ve resorted to (wait for it) Non-Race-Related Blah Blah Blah®, a LUG specialty. As Caroline Crampton writes at Nieman Lab:

“As well as covering how players and support staff are handling the situation, [The Anfield Wrap] is dipping into comedy, history and broader fan culture. Iain Macintosh, chief executive of Muddy Knees Media — best known for The Totally Football Show and other associated podcasts — spoke of similar plans. His team just has “an inexhaustible supply of new feature ideas,” he said. “We’re not trying to replicate what we did before, because we can’t, but rather see it as a chance to go through all those things that we’ve talked about doing that, you know, real life has got in the way. Now we can get them out there and give them some air.” That includes a forthcoming “Pundit World Cup” as well as film reviews, documentaries, and quizzes.”

Maybe it’s time to revive LUG as a podcast. With no irksome bicycle racing and TV images of same to cramp our creative style, we could really focus on just making the whole thing up.

Doing time

April 1, 2020

Miss Mia knows how to be jailin’.

In his loosely autobiographical novel “Homeboy,” ex-con Seth Morgan had a character offer some advice for a new fish worried about doing time.

“The time does itself,” schooled Smoothbore. “You jist got to live with it.”

A few pages closer to the penitentiary, the narrator elaborated:

Jailin’ was an art form and lifestyle both. The style was walkin’ slow, drinkin’ plenty of water, and doin’ your own time; the art was lightin’ cigarets from wall sockets, playin’ the dozens, cuttin’ up dream jackpots, and slowin’ your metabolism to a crawl, sleepin’ twenty hours a day. Forget the streets you won’t see for years. Lettin’ your heart beat the bricks with your body behind bars was hard time. Acceptin’ the jailhouse as the only reality was easy time. Jailin’.

Staying at home, social distancing — these aren’t jailin’, but they’re not exactly freedom, either. Sure, the cell is a little bigger, the guards a little less visible, and the food better. Still, you’d rather be out on the street.

But listen to Smoothbore. Let the time do itself. Live with it.

With any luck at all, you have a short stretch and an agreeable cellmate. You know — someone who doesn’t mind doing the laundry while you stretch out on your bunk and listen to the latest thrilling episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: The bargain-basement broadcasting continues. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic,recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. Once again the background music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled from bits and pieces in the Mac and iOS versions of GarageBand. Other sonic adornments come from the iMovie and GarageBand sound libraries.

Let’s eat!

April 1, 2020

We should be good for a couple more weeks now.

My first grocery trip in more than two weeks was blessedly uneventful.

The parking lots were sparsely populated. A few customers were masked and gloved. And all of us were doing the Alphonse-Gaston routine in the aisles.

“After you, Alfonse.”

“No, you first, my dear Gaston!”

I was surprised to be able to find everything on my list, and doubly so to find everyone bearing up so well. A tip of the Mad Dog chef’s toque to the staffs of Keller’s Farm Stores and Sprouts Farmers Market for keeping the shelves stocked, the checkouts running, and their chins up in trying times.

April, no foolin’

April 1, 2020

Miss Mia Sopaipilla is on guard against April fools.
“That’s cat food, right? Right?”

March came in like a debt collector and how delighted we are that it has finally fucked off.

Blue Monday

March 30, 2020

Monday, Monday, so good to me.

It’s not just the sky, mind you.

Every Monday, rain or shine, sickness or health, the blue trash and recycling trucks that work our cul-de-sac toot their horns for the two little girls next door, who jump up and down in the driveway, shrieking with delight.

The drivers don’t have to do this. It’s not part of the job description. But they do it anyway.

So in case you’re starting to wonder whether any hope remains … I’d say yeah. It rolls by twice every Monday in a big blue truck.

May we have your liver?

March 29, 2020

“A census taker once tried to test me.”

While sipping my morning java and traipsing idly around the Innertubes I happened upon this at the Bob’s Red Mill site.

Out of fava beans?

And we just got our census forms in the mail.

If Chianti is on backorder too, I’d say life is busy imitating art again.

Just ankling along

March 28, 2020

Hey, when you have extra daylight to burn, you might as well break out the matches.

I haven’t shot any video for Adventure Cyclist lately because a bicycle reviewer with a broken ankle isn’t much of a cyclist, let alone a touring cyclist. And we viejos get rust in the cranium if we don’t keep buffing away up there.

So here’s a little mental exercise for me and a little cheap entertainment for you. I can proclaim without fear of contradiction that it’s worth every penny you’ll pay for it.