Oh, snap

An iPhone camera on full zoom is no match for a backlit hawk at daybreak.

Now and then I wish I still had a real camera. Like this morning, when I saw our friendly neighborhood Cooper’s hawk perched in a tree across the arroyo from El Rancho Pendejo.

He was looking for breakfast, and I was looking for … well, for what, I’m not certain. I wander a bit in the morning, peering through windows without my glasses on while muttering to Herself, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and the voices in my head between large mugs of strong black coffee and small doses of the news.

Yesterday afternoon I was looking for dinner, and it was surprising how many basic items I was having trouble finding, even with my glasses on.

Eggs were back at Wholeazon Amafoods, so that long national nightmare seems to be at an end for the moment.

But the seafood counter was bare. Emp-ty. As in nothing atall atall. Maybe all the delicious fishies were booked on Southwest? Beats me. But I needed a half pound of shrimp for jambalaya and I waddn’t gon’ get it, me.

Also, the only andouille available had already been tried and found wanting; there was no basil for bolognese, unless you like your basil in huge plastic tubs when what you need is eight leaves; and there were no radishes for the salads, in tubs or otherwise.

Wow, this is really blossoming into a First World Problem, I thought. Someone should write a stern letter to the editor.

Somehow I managed to drop a couple hundy anyway before shoving off to Sprouts, where they had a single packet of basil, but in an unattractive shade of brown. Still, their sausage and shrimp were suitable, so, winning.

Sans basil, the bolognese is on the back burner for now. But the jambalaya turned out fine, lots better than what the Squeaker of the House is going to have to eat for the next two years.

But then again, maybe he likes the taste.

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24 Responses to “Oh, snap”

  1. psobrien Says:

    We grow basil in pots during warm weather and dry a bunch to get us through the winter. I won’t pay what they want for fresh basil leaves, when they have them.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We had a basil pot for quite a while, but it finally went west on us. I was gonna buy another but the pots looked worse than the stuff in the plastic sleeves.

      • JD Says:

        Buy basil from a nursery and grow it at home in the summer. Then do as PO’B says , and we do, and dry it for winter use. Tastes great, makes us feel like we’re doing something positive, etc.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    I guess they are on Round 14 for the Speaker FuckFest.

    You grown basil in the summer and dry it. At least up here in the high desert. But if anyone needs any rosemary, we have a plant about the size of a small bush. Seems impervious to cold.

    • Shawn Says:

      Well I’ll be Marjorie’s Taylored Green. They done did it. A Speaker of the House with shiny new knee pads.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Speak softly and carry a white feather. Ol’ Joe Cannon must be spinning in his grave.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Interesting about the Basil Shortage, but some of the “authentic” bolognese recipes I am aware of don’t use basil but are minimalist on spicing. That said, but there are all sorts of variations. It’s mostly a meat eater’s delight.
      https://culinaryginger.com/traditional-bolognese-sauce/

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        The recipe I use is from “Everyday Italian” by Giada De Laurentiis, who describes it as a “simple bolognese.”

        It’s your basic meat gravy, a dish that reminds me of one my mom made when I was a sprout. My sister called it “spaghetti,” because that’s what it was served over. And “simple” is your friend when you don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen (and in The Duck! City’s grocery stores). We’re talking olive oil, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, ground beef, tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper, Pecorino Romano, and (of course) basil.

        • khal spencer Says:

          We’ve made versions of that with fake meat, such as Beyond Beef. And I rarely stick to a published recipe very long.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I’ve used ground turkey thighs instead of beef, but I can’t say I cared for the results. Oddly, turkey makes fine tacos when subbed in for beef. Go figure.

          We’re mostly about fish, winged lizard, vegetables, nuts, and fruit when it comes to grub these days. Unsalted butter and yogurt. Tortillas and whole wheat bread. Dark chocolate because fuck yeah dark fuckin’ chocolate, amirite? Only rarely does the cow play a role. And to think of the unbridled joy I once took in a huge steak.

          • Pat O’Brien Says:

            Try ground turkey breast. I use the very lean variety in my sauce, and I call it what your Mom did. Maybe instead of stand up as a second career, which you would excel at, how a cook book author? On second thought, never mind. Stay a retired hoser like me, heh?

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            Good idea, matey. I have a Pierre Franey recipe for a quick turkey chili that calls for half breast, half thigh, but to date I’ve only used thighs. I owe it to Science to experiment, no?

            As to a cookbook … mmm, better I should stay retired, I think. I’m only a mechanic in the kitchen, not a bit creative. I tend to follow recipes with only minor deviations from the course.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    The dumpster now has his stooges in charge of the house. Between them and his stooges in the senate, he will pressure them to get the repug nomination for president. Yes, dumpster is dumb enough to trust these vipers. But, if the money shifts away from the tangerine turd, they will turn on him, toot sweet. There, my set is done, and I’m of the stage and out the door on political comments for the next two years. I can’t take this shit no mo.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      O, lawd, gon’ be a long two years. Common sense will become as hard to find as eggs, andouille, basil, and shrimp. A Fifth Horseman shall appear. He will ride a Black Pig and his Name is Dumbass.

  4. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Your morning ritual mirrors mine. Only I take a tad of real dairy in the french pressed java. I traverse fore and aft inside the castle looking out various windows to see what might be out there roaming around the baronial estate. Two days ago 23 turkeys strolled across in line. Looked like all hens with one ragged looking male bringing up the rear. But hell he looked happy…

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I miss the turkeys from Weirdcliffe. We’d see them trudging up the hillside like hobos in thrift-store overcoats, mumbling to each other.

      We occasionally saw eagles there, along with redtails, bobcats, bears, buzzworms, coyotes, ringtailed cats, deer, and elk. Great country for critter-watching, and worth the occasional snow day when we couldn’t get down off the hill.

  5. Shawn Says:

    With the exception of low aperture zoom lenses, there’s not too much you can do when shooting straight into your light. Sometimes a lower quality camera can give you interesting effects that make a shot more fascinating. “It ain’t the camera, it’s the mood of the artist behind the coffee cup in the morning.” But, the advent of photo modifying software can sure give an artist (still holding that tasty mug of java) a lot more latitude to recreating that which the camera captured.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Did you see this NYT piece on how the obsolete point-and-shoot camera is making a comeback among The Youngs? Seems the bugs are features to the social-media crowd.

      Over the past few years, nostalgia for the Y2K era, a time of both tech enthusiasm and existential dread that spanned the late 1990s and early 2000s, has seized Generation Z. The nostalgia has spread across TikTok, fueling fashion trends like low-rise pants, velour tracksuits and dresses over jeans. Mall-stalwart brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Juicy Couture have reaped the benefits; in 2021, Abercrombie reported its highest net sales since 2014. Now, there is Y2K nostalgia for the technology that captured these outfits when they were first popular.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        This article reminds me of this vinyl record comeback. When I hear the some of the reasons why people like vinyl, I scratch my fat head. Anyone remember rumble, wow, and flutter? Distortion is distortion, and although someone can make a case for tube guitar amplifier, distortion is almost always bad.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Yeah, it strikes me as a little precious too. Same with the writers who claim they can’t crank out the word count without their vintage manual typewriters. Or pen and paper, Dog help us all.

        Can’t be much longer before we’re back to pounding on hollow logs, or xylophones made of variously sized human skulls. Cave painting via fingers dipped in poop. “It has an certain je ne sais quoi, no? Ook ook ook.”

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        One exception is the comeback of the blog; I think you mentioned it in a prior post or comment. People are saying goodbye to twit and facebutt and hello to blogs. That’s one of many reasons why I’m here right now. Sandy has a WordPress blog, with her own URL, myyellowswing.com, on weaving, knitting, and spinning. It’s largely inactive. I thought about morphing it into a guitar blog geared towards beginners, and started a post but have yet to finish it. I discovered I have as much talent for creative writing as guitar playing, and it ain’t much! Good blogging is not easy!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’d like to see a resurgence in bloggery. Kevin Drum, a former Mother Jones scribe, writes a very useful one (dude is a serious conehead). Hal’s was interesting when he was still interested in it (he’s not anymore).

        A lot of them, Charles P. Pierce among them, have gone the pay-me route, which I can understand. If you’re providing what you consider a useful service, and your audience agrees, why not charge admission?

        I don’t want to go there, because — as I’ve said before — then the blog would feel like work. I’d rather it feel like fun, for me and for the audience.

        A decent blog, or even an indecent one, can foster a sense of community. It’s like a small town as opposed to the big cities of Twatter, ButtFace, ChatSnap, DikDok, et al. It’s easier to keep random weirdos from leering at you through the windows, or worse, chucking bricks or Molotov cocktails through them.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        My guitar mentor, Alan, is a serious player whose heroes are Doc Watson and Tommy Emmanuel. When we do Deep River Blues, you would swear Doc was in the house. He could make money doing it but refuses for the same reasons you do.

  6. shortstaycarpark Says:

    I love this picture of the bird in the tree. It’s a fantastic image.

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