21 December 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (delayed)

Having checked and rechecked the weather, it appears Portland, Oregon is due for a white -- and icy -- Christmas. But without me. I'm afraid that I'm canceling the Scott Cory North America Holiday Tour 2008. Because as much as I want to see my mother at Christmas, there's no amount of money or love that can make me risk life and limb to travel at this time in inclement weather.

19 December 2008

Why Portland, Oregon rules

The Portland Cello Project, an independent cello orchestra.

My favorite instrument, my favorite place. Genius.

That is all.

27 November 2008

Holiday Havoc

It's not a real holiday at the Gunn-Cory home if there's no plumbing disaster. This year's is the failure of our kitchen faucet, followed by the installation of a new faucet stopped just short of completion by connection lines one inch too short to reach the new faucet.

Have any idea how hard it is to find an open store on Thanksgiving?

Kmart is open. Now, let's hope they have braided plumbing line.

11 November 2008

What Radar always wanted to be

The Daily Beast. Tina Brown, back again after the debacle that was "Talk". I've read somewhere that she thought blogging was the perfect career for her. I disagree: the medium in which journalism -- real journalism -- is distributed has caught up with its best practitioners. Josh Marshall also falls into this category, as does Dave Neiwert and the late Steve Gilliard.

05 November 2008

Change we can make happen

Yesterday America voted. I'm both proud of the process and pleased with the result.

We needed change in leadership, and I believe we've made decisions that will give us a change in leadership.

For many years, this country has been governed for the advantage of the few at the expense of the many. It's time to change that.

For many years, the politics of fear have been used to bully and intimidate people. It's time to change that.

The election of Barack Obama and of a slate of national and local candidates who believe in change, who believe in governing for the benefit of all, is an important first step. Today, we all need to begin to assess what we need to change, and how we prioritize and accomplish that change.

30 October 2008

Bible Spice

I've gone with Attack Barbie, but Alec Baldwin's "Bible Spice" works for me.

26 October 2008

La Noonan, c'ette fin

Cross posted (and expanded) from a comment I wrote at Hullabaloo.

I'll admit over the last forty or so years I've said some intemperate things about the man to whom Peggy Noonan acts as hagiographer, Ronald Reagan. Most of them have been based on things he (or his cronies) actually did. Not to mention the other Republicans about whom Peggy and her claque support long after any pretense or patina of "conservatism" has worn off their shiny, corporatist, authoritarian foreheads.

Peggy and company have lied from whole cloth since the ascendancy of Bill Clinton, and have engaged in "discourse" that would have them ejected from a high school extemporaneous debate for ignorance. Now that one of their own -- or properly, not of their kind -- has gotten the spotlight, Reagan's 11th commandment has been conveniently forgotten.

Well Peggy, Charles, David and Ann, you aided and abetted the creation of the monster that is Sarah Palin, you damn well better be ready to take care of her and what she leads the base to.

One of my dearest friends absolutely loves Peggy. And for perhaps three columns this spring, I thought I might understand her love for the Pegster. But alas, as the claque heads for the exit, there's not getting around the fact that whatever crocodile tears they're crying now fail to make up for the fact that as apologists for this mad experiment in "free markets" and "conservatism" we've endured the last 28 years (the Clinton hiatus counts only as a brief recovery, since Bill's "triangulation" prevented substantive change in right direction, only making the horror less worse than it might otherwise have been) saying "we were wrong" is about as convincing as John McCain on the stump: not.

With some luck, we will as a Republic and an a polity survive this mess. But I don't think there's salvation or redemption for la Noonan, Krautheimer, Brooks, Will, both Kristols, Coulter, or any of the others of the right-wing Wurlitzer which appears to be bleating a final Apocalyptic spasm of hate and fury.

24 October 2008

Good news

The last thing I was expecting from BMW was an all-electric Mini.

I was wrong.

How cool is that?

10 October 2008

Slow Food

The slow cooker is our friend. It lets us take this and make from it, this:

Braised Beef Short Ribs served over "Bubble and Squeak" Pancakes (Potato, Leek, Carrot)

Oh yes, it was very good indeed.

Secretary Krugman

Professor Krugman proves that economists can provide sensible advice, in language almost anyone can understand.

An Obama Administration could do far worse than consider him to serve as Secretary of the Treasury.

23 September 2008


And reboot.

  • Progressive taxation on earned income from minimal to say, 50% on income above $1,000,000.
  • Capital gains taxed, but a rate below earned income.
  • Incentives for individual savings in insured financial vehicles.
  • Immediate reduction of Federal spending on Defense.
  • Immediate increase in Federal spending on infrastructure, including social infrastructure (education and health care).
  • Development of a regulatory framework for financial institutions to ensure that reasonable and prudent risk is rewarded fairly -- but that speculative risk can and should fail
It doesn't have to be the end of the world as we know it. It does mean the party is over, and we need to clean the place up, sober up the lushes, and get on with it.

30 August 2008

thinking, thinking ....

It's been a busy few weeks with work intruding on personal life, and little spectacles like the Olympics and the national political conventions demanding what scarce concentration I have at the moment. But as a result of a lot of work and political issues, I've been forced to think some deep thoughts about how increasingly martial our government has become. I'll be writing more about this, but let me leave you with this: the Department of Homeland Security has alluded to monitoring all domestic public Internet traffic in a public forum.

Chew on that one.

I'll be back with more.

22 August 2008

Beeee-yotch Slap

There are so many things wrong with the New York Times editorial pages these days. I could abide William Safire as the Time's example of a conservative. But John Tierney? William Kristol? Please. Spare me the odious claptrap that flowed from their pens. Don't let me start on Tom "The World is Flat" Friedman, because whatever I will say will be misconstrued as being biased against free trade and capitalism.

Sure, Krugman's there, and Bob Herbert, and I enjoy and respect both. Except for them, the pages have become as bad as the Wall Street Journal.

But one stain more than any other violates the pages: Maureen Dowd. And James Wolcott delivers one of his patented ripostes to her latest emission.

To which I say: Bravo, Wolcott, bravo!

05 August 2008

Led Zeppelin Live

If for some reason you never saw The Who, Cassandra Wilson, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, Kiri te Kanawa, Roxy Music, George Clinton, Ella Fitzgerald, Queen, Placido Domingo, or Luciano Pavarotti, leave this here website thingy immediately and go here. Then buy tickets. And see one of the most talented performers I've ever been priveledged to see. Cee Lo is amazing, and the band performs like the the Stones, Zeppelin, or the Who at their peak. Stunning.

04 August 2008

Myth Busted

One of the benefits of reading broadly the world press is sometimes something really extraordinary will present itself. This article is one such thing.

I'm a huge fan of the do-it-yourself philosophy, and I tremendously admire the women's dogged efforts to reproduce the flavor of Coca-Cola. While I don't think I'll be trying the recipe any time soon, the idea of getting non-high fructose corn syrup based Coke in the States again is tremendously appealing.

It's also interesting to note that the bits of food chemistry that that are the basis for molecular gastronomy restaurants such as the Fat Duck, el Bulli, and Minibar are seeping into craft cooking.

22 July 2008

Musical Jeopardy for $800

Music most likely to make me jump on a platform and start freestylin' like it is 1994 and Tracks is at peak:

What is "You Belong," by Hercules and Love Affair?


(Also the song that's most likely what Michael Jackson would have sounded like had he come out after "Thriller" and embraced his S&M streak. Which is better that what he became!)

19 July 2008

The genius of Joss Whedon

The post-modern musical is alive and well. Whedon really can do no wrong.

And who knew both Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris could sing?

15 July 2008

A love note to Kenny and Zuke's

We first encountered K & Z's at Christmas, when we stayed at the Governor Hotel before continuing on to Mt. Angel. We saw it on an early morning wander through NW Portland while looking for a more substantial breakfast that pastries. Imagine our surprise to find a updated deli smack on the Ace Hotel and Stumptown Coffee. Intrigued, we stopped and grabbed a table, and ordered from an unapologetically retro menu.

To say our meals were good, or even great is to miss the point entirely. I have never had pastrami or corned beef made with as much love and care as Kenny and Zuke's uses. Both meats were perfectly cured from fine beef. The sides and condiments were perfect. The bread was hearty deli bread. There was nothing light or nouvelle about K&Zs deli cuisine: it was and is full bodied, full flavored, full of fat and satisfaction.

I could not stop thinking about it, so it should be no surprise that one of my first stops while in Portland for my mother's birthday was K&Zs. I bought sandwiches and lox and bagels for mom and me - with which my mother was thrilled (Mt. Angel, and her retirement community aren't really hip to Central European meets American ethnic food filtered through the Slow and Craft Food movements.) It should also be no surprise that I bought lox, corned beef and pastrami to take back to Washington, DC with me.

Bruises Part 2

The bruise on my thigh is the color of eggplant; it covers all of my inner thigh. With assurances from doctors, I know the bruise will fade and heal (looking like "a Rothko painting" per my orthopaedic surgeon's comment).

My psychic bruising is a different story. Passing cars startle me, and vigilance has become hypervigilance. Seeing African-American men of a certain age makes me tighten my grip on my umbrella (which in turn accompanies me to and from work). With work, the base anxiety and uncertainty will be resolved.

But will there be scars? Will I be able to move smoothly, without visible distress or discomfort through any situation?

What's good for the goose

From a comment yesterday left at Joe.My.God:

Good satire is lost on Americans, particularly after being satire desensitized, first by the Reagan administration, and now by the Bush/Cheney administration.

The equivalent McCain satire of Senator John in Depends and Cindy with her Amex card and prescription drugs in the Oval Office would have the networks and NPR (nice polite republicans) baying.
I'm not quite sure where this originally appeared, but I find it mighty amusing.

08 July 2008


The follow up from last night's adventure. This is what happens when a thrown tire iron hits one's leg.

No, there are no naked pictures. Please move along. Nothing more to see.

07 July 2008


I was walking home from the Metro on a warm summer night, on a street I’ve walked pretty much every day since we first moved into our house in March. I wasn’t paying too much attention to my surroundings as I was listening to Joni’s “The Hissing of Summer Lawns”. I’d smiled at the couple walking past me on 9th Street NE. I saw the dark blue Chrysler drive past as I turned the corner on to Kearney. I admired the day lilies and saw a young man jump out of the car and walk toward me.

He was holding a tire iron. And he was motioning threateningly at me. If he said anything, I couldn’t hear it. “Edith and the Kingpin” had just segued into “Shades of Scarlet Conquering”. I play my iPod loud.

I’m pretty sure he wanted the iPod though.

I was carrying an umbrella, a heavy messenger bag, and my cell phone.

I don’t think he expected me to swing the umbrella at him. I swung at his jaw and missed. He ran back to the car, throwing the tire iron at me while on the run. It hit my leg. The iron didn’t damage my khakis. However, there will be a bruise.

I picked up the tire iron as I was dialing the cops. I thought about throwing it at the car, or smashing a window. But then I exercised some judgment.

I called the cops immediately. They answered, and at the same time, a patrol cruiser rolled past, and stopped when I flagged him down.

The officer very patiently took down the information, and asked for more details. I provided them as best I could. I should have taken a picture of the license plate - or the kid. Oh well. If charges are filed, it will be for simple assault.

I’m pretty shaken. G Squared is a bit more shaken, I think.

I’ve said that if you stay aware, and walk with confidence, you’re pretty safe anywhere you go in the world. I still feel that way. But I won’t be wearing my iPod on the street any more. I was lucky. This guy was not.

And I will be carrying an umbrella, or a walking stick.

That is all.

05 July 2008

Good Times

It follows from this (disco redux) and this (chamber punk) that I love the outsider music of the late seventies and early eighties. It won't be a suprise that I made this playlist (good times) with the purpose of it being the soundtrack for our housewarming party.

The Brazilian Hipster The New Gold Standard Fort Knox Five
Ain't It Funky (Fort Knox Five Dub) Ain't It Funky / Tricka Technology A.Skillz & Krafty Kuts
I Love to Move In Here Last Night Moby
World's Famous Duck Rock Malcolm McLaren
Soweto Duck Rock Malcolm McLaren
The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance Vampire Weekend
Wordy Rappinghood (Remix) Tom Tom Club
Do What You Wanna (Mr. Scruff's Soul Party Remix) Verve Remixed 2 Ramsey Lewis & Mr. Scruff
Blue Monday - ('88) (The Best Of) New Order New Order
Les And Eddie Cinco De Mowo! Mocean Worker
Sound Of Silver Sound Of Silver LCD Soundsystem
Money In the Bag (K & S Remix) Boogie Angst Kraak & Smaak
Dancin' At The Bains Douches Kid Creole Redux Kid Creole & The Coconuts
Good Times (LP Version) Dance, Dance, Dance - The Best of Chic Chic
Cowboys And Gangsters Fabriclive 36 - James Murphy & Pat Mahoney Gichy Dan
Blind Blind - Single of the Week Hercules and Love Affair
Workinonit Donuts J Dilla
D.A.N.C.E. Justice Justice
Ghetto Train Chaos Restored - Justin Martin Justin Martin
Back To The Raw (Ruff Mix) Louie Vega Presents Dance Ritual Kerri Chandler
I Am the Black Gold of the Sun Nuyorican Soul Nuyorican Soul
Housequake Sign O' The Times (Disc 1) Prince
Kiss Parade Prince
Anotherloverholenyohead Parade Prince
A Noite Sem Fim Sao Paulo Confessions Suba

It's not a suprise to me that its more fun today to dance around our family room, looking over the lawn and the roses and the kitchen garden than it is to claw out a bit of space at a big room dance event. I've experienced the highs and lows of street life, and while I may go back from time to time, I'll be a tourist. No more for me scrambling for a cab at 4 in the morning after a long evening of drinking, dancing, and sometimes more. I'll do most of my dancing in the sunshine, thanks.

17 June 2008

On Aging

Nothing brings aging home like a parental birthday. I wrote this as I was high above Illinois returning to Washington, DC from celebrating my mother’s 85th birthday in Oregon. As birthdays go, it was a very low key affair – a visit to an old friend that my mother and I hadn’t seen in four years, some shopping, a dinner out at a favorite restaurant, a drive in the country. What was lovely and touching and difficult was to see how much less flexible my mother has become, and how much she both needed and appreciated my accommodation of her changing needs.

One of my personal phobias is discussing underwear with my parents and family. It’s an odd phobia, because I’m neither embarrassed by my body nor am I particularly sensitive to other people’s bodies. But should my mother ask me if I need new underwear, I go into a tizzy: I don’t want my mother to know that my current preferred underwear are Champion C9 briefs and boxer briefs sold only at Target. And I also don’t want to know what kind of underwear she’s wearing – it just feels a little tawdry and unseemly. (Sort of like the infamous Bill Clinton “boxers or briefs” questions, only more so.)

But I had to confront the phobia head on. Mom wanted to buy some new brassieres, and so off we went to Nordstrom, a store known for a dedication to customer service and attention. I dropped my mother off in Women’s Foundations (translated from retail: brassieres, girdles, panties, and hosiery) and wandered off to do my own shopping. She’d asked for 20 minutes, and I obliged her, having in that time bought four “work” dress shirts and two “fancy” dress shirts. My mother was beating a retreat from the dressing room with a chastened looking young sales woman. I asked the sales woman if she’d had any luck and my mother loudly exclaimed, “they don’t have anything for me here.” When I questioned the sales woman, she pointed out a couple of bras that my mother had rejected because they “were too bulky”. Now, while I have great admiration for my mother, slinky bras and underwear were never observed, even tangentially in our house. Apparently the shop girl misunderstood “easy to get in and out of” for “skimpy”, imagining that my mother meant to go to “TRL Cancun” or “Grannies Gone Wild” and rip off her bra and show her tatas.

So it took a fair amount of interrogatory to find out what the issue really was: the bras that my mother had been shown had multiple clasps which made it extremely difficult for my mother, whose arthritic digits more resemble knotty wood than fingers, to either fasten or undo. And while I am sure that Nordstrom’s stock did include far more selection that my mother had seen, and which certainly would have had something appropriate for her (as the dowagers of Portland all shop at Nordstrom) we bade our age-challenged shop girl farewell, and decamped for Macy’s.

Following a brief stab at shoe shopping (Mom has cut back her shoe habit from Imelda Marcos levels to a couple of pair a year, as her feet no longer welcome Salvatore Ferragamo and Kate Spade flats and pumps she prefers) we wandered into Macy’s women’s underwear. There’s always a frission about being a man in a women’s underwear section: it’s the straight world equivalent of a man or a transsexual crashing the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. The Women’s Underwear department is supposed to be a safe and empowering place for women. My Y chromosome, penis, and testicles clearly violated that, never mind that I haven’t had sex with a woman in 14 years. I was glared at by a number of women, including one of the sales staff.

Luckily, I was able to recruit an attentive and sensitive woman who helped Mom find two bras (both age appropriate and easy to get in and out of), a girdle, and panties. She was sensitive to my mother’s needs, and was able to adapt to a challenging customer. The world did not end for me, nor did I feel the need for any kind of brain bleach (associated with the bra and panty purchase).

My mother was satisfied with her purchases, I survived unscathed, and I learned a valuable lesson about how to actualize accommodation. For Mom, it means ensuring that the script she has for her encounters with people is closely followed, and a minimum amount of improvisation takes place. She wants what she wants, and at 85, she deserves getting it as she wants it.

And I can live with that.

12 June 2008

One for the good guys

Thank you Justices Kennedy, Souter, Ginsberg, Breyer, and Stevens. Let's hope Bush and Cheney understand what this means.

10 June 2008

the future of cars?

I've loved two BMWs -- the 2002 and the Alpina 3.0 CSI coupe. In the last thirty years they haven't made a car that I've even been tempted to buy or drive.

I would buy and drive this in a heartbeat. It's the first radical rethinking of the automobile in a very long time.

Editor's note: I completely forgot that the Mini Cooper is a BMW product, and that I both love to drive, and would love to own, a new Mini Cooper, particularly in the S version.

16 May 2008

Music Friday

Originally meant to be two posts, I'm combining them into one

Chamber Punk
Vampire Weekend is one of the cool kids' indie bands of the week. Four Columbia University students and their friends turn their record collections and educations into homemade music that is alternately funky and arch. The alleged Afro-pop influence and connection is more name and timbre checking than real and deep, but its still refreshing. Also, any band that uses cello with a South African walking beat and steel guitars wins my vote.

If David Byrne had a sense of humour, the first Talking Heads album might have sounded like this.

Disco redux
Bought and have been listening to Moby's "Last Night". Moby is far from a cool hunter, in the sense of identifying and popularizing trends before they become huge. But in the same way he captured something of the spirit of house music in a way that made it accessiible with "Play," he does the same with new disco and "last night." No, it's not a cocaine and poppers filled tribute to Studio 54 and the Paradise Garage, but lights at a moment around 1984, after Joy Division had become New Order and released "Blue Monday" and Annie Lennox was inventing the sound of the disembodied Diva, when the Pyramid Room and Danceteria and Limelight were serving up the first syncretization of disco and punk.

Of course, the release of a compilation of August Darnell's work (not just as Kid Creole) makes Moby a moot point. Darnell, Giorgio Moroder, and Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers (Chic) pretty much defined disco in the 70s and 80s.

03 May 2008

Cooking, Gardening, Galactica, Julips

Some random thoughts -- hell, even musings.

Crock pots allow for very long, very slow cooking, turning tough cuts of meat into something extraordinary. Not quite sou vide but very, very good.

Gardening is a tremendously cathartic activity. One is able to actually accomplish something visible and measurable. And you feel something at the end of the work.

This season of Battlestar Galactic is going into some very strange, very dark places. I'm not sure I like it.

On this Derby day, I made and drank my Mint Julip.

29 April 2008

The Anti-Christ in the Supermarket

The DP and I had dinner with his sister and brother-in-law over the weekend, and our conversation included a riff on how famous – or famous for Washington, DC – people can move around the city in relative anonymity. Mention was made of seeing LeBron James at Sequoia enjoying a drink at the bar, unmolested by anyone.

I didn’t think anything of this, and went on my usual weekend business of shopping, including a stop at the Temple of Yuppie Pulchritude, also known as Whole Foods. While perusing the organic, cruelty-free meat, I overheard this comment:

“Thank you for all you’ve done for the Republican Party! We’ll see how well we do against the Democrats in the next election cycle.”

I turned and saw a syncophantic woman giving Karl Rove a metaphoric blow job.

Now, my initial reaction was fury, followed by nausea. I knew that if I did what my rage was driving me toward – decking Karl Rove, in the middle of the Tenleytown Whole Foods – I would likely end up in jail, and on my way to Guantanamo Bay for a long term vacation with waterboarding, and not windsurfing, as my recreation. I would also end up on the front page of the Washington Post, possibly above the fold, which is a level of celebrity and infamy I have never sought or desired. I thought about asking Rove how his math was doing now, but realized that it would have violated the rules of public anonymity described above.

So I chose plan B: I pulled out my mobile phone (why did I forget to take a picture?) and called the DP.

“Hello,” he said.

“I’m standing next to the Anti-Christ at the meat counter at Whole Foods,” I responded. Rove shot me a cold look from the pig eyes stuck in his potato face, looking like a living, breathing Mr. Potato Head

“Cheney shops? At Whole Foods? I though he only ate kittens and babies?”

“No, not Cheney. Rove”

“Oh. Ewwwww.”

“Yeah. I feel dirty now.”

“I bet.”

“Love you. ‘Bye.”

“Love you too. ‘Bye.”

And that was it. Rove had wandered off. I saw him in the checkout line, and was glad I wasn’t immediately in front of or behind him.

What I want to know is how, in the spectrum of famous and famous for Washington people, do I get to see both Karl Rove (hideous) and James Carville (extra hideous in a shorty bathrobe with his pipe cleaner legs)? Not George Clooney. Not Angeline Jolie. Hell, not even Barack Obama. No, I get Rove and Carville. Hell, I tell you. A circle of hell.

What I'm listening to now: Duck Rock

Malcolm McLaren’s real work of genius (creation of the Sex Pistols aside). It’s a blender of influences, mixing the call to prayer, Trevor Horn’s electronica, Bronx scratching and MCing, South African “growlers” and tight female harmonies, ever sort of Afro-Caribbean flavor, and a liberal dose of “found sound” thrown in for good measure. Lyrically and musically, it's all over the map -- a real, joyful mess. Duck Rock was a mash up before the term existed, and was one of the last moments when there was anticipation of some crazy sunny multicultural future.

Just hearing the words “Too much scratching is making me itch” will send me into a shiver of joy.

Note: The album cover featured art work by Keith Haring.

21 April 2008

We get mail

From the DP:
For my edification, what was that line by Stocker Channing about "Cats"?

My response:

From IMDB - It turns out it’s Tess (the daughter) not Ouisa Kittredge (the mother, Stockard Channing) who delivers the line:

He offered you parts in Cats? I thought you hated Cats. You said it was an all time low in a lifetime of theatre going. You said, "Aeschylus did not invent the theatre to have it end up a bunch of chorus kids in cat suits prancing around wondering which of them will go to kitty-cat heaven."
The same can and should be said of the Bush Administration, the Constitution, and democratic Republics. But I digress.

11 April 2008

Home Sweet Home

Just catching our breathe. More to report, including adventures in plumbing, and learning how to push a lawn mower again.

03 February 2008

Super Sunday

Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest. One of our rituals – done most, but not every weekend – is to make pancakes from scratch. We found the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, which I use as a standard reference for all recipes. That being said, I’ve made a couple of modifications that are indicated in italics.

Makes sixteen 4-inch pancakes, serving 4 to 6
1 tablespoon zest from one lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 cups milk
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup fresh blueberries or frozen blueberries, preferably wild, rinsed and dried

  1. Use a microplane grater to remove the zest from one medium to large lemon. Separate the zest into two equal parts.
  2. Whisk lemon juice and milk in medium bowl or large measuring cup; set aside to thicken while preparing other ingredients. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and half of the zest in medium bowl to combine.
  3. Melt butter and add zest in a small pan over low heat.
  4. Add melted butter to the milk. Stir gently until the butter is well mixed into the milk. Whisk egg into milk and melted butter until combined. Make well in center of dry ingredients in bowl; pour in milk mixture and whisk very gently until just combined (a few lumps should remain). Do not over mix. Allow batter to stand for 15 minutes
  5. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes; add 1 teaspoon oil and brush to coat skillet bottom evenly. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto 3 spots on skillet; sprinkle 1 tablespoon blueberries over each pancake. Cook pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on second side, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer.

Place the cooked pancakes onto a serving platter, and put on the lower rack of the heated oven. When all the pancakes are cooked, bring serving platter to table.

It’s amazing how such a simple thing as a plate of pancakes can be so satisfying and so comforting.

11 January 2008

Sunny Sunday

Editors note: This is a bit late to the press, but since it's been a night of bourbon and Joni, it seems right to go the archives and pull this out.

Joni Mitchell is a genius trapped in an artist's body. She's been making brilliant music and art since I was an infant, and has lived and loved more than five people.

So why was I so angry when I read this?

Picasso made a lot of shitty paintings. While some of Joni's music after "Mingus" doesn't hold up to the arc of albums from "Blue" to "Mingus", the reason is not her performance or songwriting, but her choice of collaborators and producers.

Strip Joni down to her guitar or piano, pair her with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, or Jaco Pastorius, and what happens is the purest and simplest music. While I'm tempted to blame Larry Kline (an adequate bass player, formerly Joni's husband and her long-time producer) Mitchell's personality is far too strong to be run roughshod by a martinet. Her artistic choices are hers alone, and while she may sometimes be poorly served by her assistants, the core of her work remains direct, potent, and cogent.

I’m willing to rate Joni with Shakespeare and Yeats as the finest poets in the English language. We don't fault their publishers for the paper their work is printed on. Enough said.