342

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. That makes today the day to eviscerate the turkey, in preparation for the Julia Child method of cooking. Last year, I had to get Colter to do the deed, because I managed to cut my finger using the mandolin slicer to make pickles. Sadly, the bird was still frozen, which made the surgery rather difficult. We captured it all on video, including the cheerful (more or less) banter about the task. This year, no pieces of finger went into the slicer, so I’m on my own to perform the delicate task of cutting and deboning.

Colter lit the baby green (red) egg charcoal ceramic cooker to make sure it was going to work for cooking the lamb. It got up to 450 degrees in rather short order, so we have to adjust the amount of charcoal to keep it at 350. I like to season the lamb with garlic and rosemary; then instead of mint jelly (who ever came up with that incredibly stupid idea), I like to use horseradish sauce or chutney – or both! You still get the flavor of the lamb, but with a little kick from the horseradish or a savory taste from the chutney.

Kiernan’s Sand Art

Today will be devoted to making a cheesecake, an apple galette and tonight, two pumpkin pies, one for Erik and one for everybody else. We got into a cleaning frenzy yesterday, with everyone helping except Kiernan, who hates to clean her room. She’d rather be making her art – or playing Minecraft and making puppies and horses for her houses. I can’t say I blame her – wouldn’t you rather be playing than cleaning? Yup – thought so.

We expect 16 for dinner, so it’ll be a houseful for sure. But I say, the more the merrier – love to catch up with kin I haven’t seen in a while – or talk with new guests I’ve not met before. It’ll be exhausting, but great!

345 & 344 & 343

Two more days ’til Thanksgiving, and I actually succeeded in making creme fraiche. That is always an iffy proposition; sometimes it works very well; often it does not turn into anything but the sour milk it started out life as. But I love creme fraiche on apple pie, so that will be a plus for the meal.

Amidst cleaning house and preparing pickles and pickled onions (oughta be good as a side for the leg of lamb), I’ve been thinking about where to go from here in my writing. I guess I mentioned this before, but in the not-too-distant future, I’ll have to commit to something. I tried going back to my original three part opus called Matryoshka – just to put it in book form to get it published. But you can’t go backward in writing, I find. The dialogue is stilted and just downright annoying. So I’m considering picking up The Algorithmic Brain – a story about a very lifelike android that gets his inventor in trouble by his actions. I got stuck when I had to write a sex scene for that one, and I was having some trouble doing that; I was concerned about my granddaughter reading it and going, GRAAMMMAA! (Trying to imitate her voice). But she’s 16 now, so she probably knows more about the topic now that I do. I might just give that one a go.

So, dear readers, want to weigh in on this? The outline for The Algorithmic Brain is here on the blog, and the finished product (all three parts) is here for Matryoshka. Give me some feedback on which way to go!

Later..gotta go mop the kitchen floor.

347 & 346

May I recommend a book? The Condition of Man, by Lewis Mumford. Published in 1944, with a new preface in 1972, he has become a source of knowledge and inspiration to me.

Mumford referred to himself as a social diagnostician. That conjures up images of doctors and machinery. But he is the diametric opposite of that. He takes us back ten steps to see history, politics and culture from a deeper and broader perspective.

But don’t take my advice if you work full time and come home to have domestic chores. It’ll just be annoying that you can’t find the time to savor the book’s complex wisdom. Don’t read it if you want easy answers to life’s hard questions. This is no I’m OK, You’re OK. Finally, don’t read this if you’re a cock-eyed optimist. You’d likely be offended by his perspective on this modern life.

So check it out – then, when you’ve absorbed all the wisdom Mumford has to offer in these books, check out The Myth of the Machine, Volumes I and II. That’s his recommendation – not mine. I haven’t even begun to absorb all the wisdom from TCOM. All I know is, when I write about the dissolution of America, coming up in Book 5 of the Suffer the Children series, the origins of the knowledge were greatly influenced by Mumford in this book. So…take the plunge and find it, probably used on Amazon in paperback for a couple bucks. It’ll be an eye-opener.

348

The number 348 seems so tidy – so divisible and well behaved. Nothing prime about it. And it was a calm day, starting to tidy up the house and shopping for nearly all the Thanksgiving provisions. My brother John was kind enough to pass on a gift card to help defray expenses. Given that we’re expecting a lucky 13 number of guests, we’ll need to put forth a heap o’ food!

The Land Down Under

Ok, enough about that – tomorrow I’ll tidy some more and keep thinking about the task of writing the fifth and final installment of STC. I got a notice from Amazon that I have a royalty payment coming again from…wait for it…Australia! That just curls my toes with happiness – for two reasons. One – it’s Australia! And two, if there’s another royalty payment, that means they’ve kept reading. Like catnip to a cat.

So no, I don’t want to talk about Sondland or the impeachment, other than to say the lack of civility in the proceedings is a deadly signal. It’s 1856 again…just waiting for the signal for somebody (Texas? California?) to say enough is enough – we’re leaving the union. When that happens, the rest may let whoever wants to go do so without putting up a fight. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head – are we so sick of one another that we would welcome dissoution, which begins the end for the concept of these United States? We’ll be the disunited countries, formerly known as America. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

351 & 350 & 349

Next time I embark on a writing project, I’m gonna set more reasonable deadlines. I have until Christmas to finish book 5, which may end up being the longest, most detailed episode yet. And what with holiday activities, I’ll have to have loads of self-discipline to get it done. Having said that, I am motivated to finish so I can move on to something new! Or maybe finish a couple I started and set aside. We shall see.

Moving on to the topic du jour: finished watching The Crown, Season 3 last night. Olivia Coleman was, as always, a delight to watch, as was Tobias Menzies as Phillip and Josh O’Connor as poor, sappy Charles. Ann was a livelier character than I imagined, having been carnally involved with the guy Camilla ended up marrying – and then divorcing for poor, sappy Charles. Of course, I still cannot get past Josh O’Connor as Larry Durrell, but that may pass with time.

Cecil King, Editor, the Daily Mirror

But here’s the point of this piece: in the episode titled “Coup”, Cecil King, the editor of a powerful media company and board member of the Bank of England, hatches this idea which amounts to a coup d’etat against Harold Wilson. He and some of the others try to drag Dickie Mountbatten into the scheme, and according to the story, he went along with it and was dispatched to ask Elizabeth to support it. But Wilson heard about their shenanigans in the meantime, and alerted the Queen, who seemed to think Harold was good company. Also, she knew he always had her back. So when Dickie finally got to her, he didn’t even get the chance to ask, which likely saved his reputation, from an historical perspective. Cecil King lost his job over the whole thing.

Which brings me to the real point – there are analogies to our current times with DtheT/crazier. I think impeachment may feel good, but it’s the wrong thing to do. Have your hearings, you Dems; then the Rep’s will say what he did does not rise to the level of impeachment, and then let’s get on with life until November, 2020. Then, if he gets turned out, all well and good. If he’s re-elected, in spite of all the garbage being revealed at these ‘inquiries’, then God help us. My plot may come to pass sooner than expected.

353 & 352

SNL did exactly what I’d have done if I was one of their writers – turned the impeachment “inquiry” into a soap opera – As the Impeachment Turns which equals as the stomach turns. It was pretty well done; I always enjoy Kate McKinnon’s send up of Rudy. It’s precious.

So this will likely drag on into January, which is when the real process begins..that will take another four or five months, and by then, we’ll all be begging for it to end. Why? It’s not that the hearing is replacing anything else worth watching. So do we really care if it goes on or ends? Actually, we do. As SNL pointed out – the only thing at stake is democracy. But many of us think democracy went out the window after 9/11, with waterboarding, stop loss redeployments, black sites in Poland and that wonderful place called Guantanamo. That’s not how democracy works, at least not American democracy. Remember when we were the good guys? No..me either.

354

Another day, another tweet, another school shooting – this time by a fifteen year old who’s barely hanging on to life. That isn’t the reality show I had in mind a few blog posts back.

Can we say, just move on when everything is so out of control? I think we have to. Otherwise, we drown in the miasma of current news. Better to practice art or make music or write a sonnet. Actually, I’m not sure how to write a sonnet, so I’d better stick with apocalyptic fiction.

Speaking of apocalyptic fiction, Book 4 of the Suffer the Children series is nearly done. I’ve incorporated some of the Hopi ethos that I intend to return to in the sequel. Yes, dear readers, there will be a sequel, I promise. But it’s likely I won’t start to write it until after the first of the year. Everyone deserves a break at Christmas, right?

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. I bought the bone-in leg of lamb from Joseph’s..hope it’s good. John ordered a new grill that is both propane and charcoal. I think I’d like to cook the lamb over charcoal – might take away some of that Aussie mutton tinge. American lamb costs 4 times as much so charcoal is the plan. I’ll start working on the odds & ends (pickles and pickled mushrooms) this weekend. Michael has changed his mind about coming, so that’ll add cheesecake to the menu. It’s his favorite.

That’s all for now..keep the faith and do something fun this weekend.

355

Yesterday’s hearings were creepy..so many men telling so many falsehoods, exaggerations and just plain nonsense. I wonder how they look at themselves in the mirror? I guess they rationalize everything for getting conservative judges that will oppress everyone but them. Yuck.

But let’s talk about something else, shall we? I just finished reading The Pregnant Virgin, by Marian Woodman, a Jungian from Toronto. I found many parts of it to be astonishing. There’s this whole world of intuition and insight out there about which I knew nothing. I will re-read the parts that really spoke to me, because clearly I have a lot of catching up to do. Thank you, Elaine Heroux, Therapist Extraordinaire, for letting me know about that book and Jungian-based therapy. I feel like I’ve found a new home!

356

Started watching the impeachment hearings on NBC. Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd and some other guy were less than objective in their comments. Sadly, PBS is not broadcasting the hearings, so there’s no objective voice to comment on the proceedings. Nonetheless, I got to the point where the Republican attorney was asking Ambassador Taylor questions. He couldn’t be more out of central casting as a nefarious nabob of nastiness (to paraphrase Spiro Agnew. Check it out

Stephen Castor, Republican

Doesn’t he look nefarious? His name is Stephen Castor, and he is the Republican’s attorney asking questions.

The thing is, you can feel the animosity between the two sides in this impeachment hearing. It will go on for weeks, and be likely to add little to the record about what Trump has done. But the real problem is explaining away his behavior, which stinks. Both. His behavior and explaining it away as ok. Stinks. Reeks. This is what we’ve been reduced to. How long can this go on and have us remain a robust democracy? Not much longer, I’d say.

357

357 Magnum? A gun or a quantity of champagne? Miller – the champagne of bottled beers? What number bottle of beer on the wall? Another brick in the Berlin wall? The thirtieth anniversary of the fall. Fall is the season..A man for all seasons..Was Thomas More a saint or a hypocrite? Depended on who you asked..Anne Boleyn or Thomas Cromwell. Ah well, enough of the word association game.

Fifty one more weeks until the election, and y’all know the news – can Bloomberg be the first mayor of NY elected President? Low odds but these days, anything is possible.

Yesterday was Veteran’s day. The airwaves were full of old war movies, tv series and the like. I didn’t watch any of them. What I did watch was a rerun of the last episode of MASH on MeTV. It’s title was Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.

When the commercials came on, I turned to something else – can’t stand all those Medicare enrollment ads designed to con old people into switching out their good plans for a low premium/high-cost -to-them plan. The episode originally aired in February, 1983. Back then, I had a teenager, a two year old and was pregnant with Kirsten, so no wonder I missed it when it came on. But here’s the thing: as I watched the first half hour or so of the 3 hour run time, I had to turn away and do the dishes. It was a visceral reaction on my part to what Hawkeye Pierce, the main character, saw that drove him to madness. And I somehow knew it was coming, that a Korean woman smothered her crying child to prevent the busload of doctors, soldiers and refugees from being attacked by a Chinese patrol. It’s a classic story element, but I couldn’t watch it.

Now I could interpret this a number of ways, but frankly I think it’s aftershocks from telling the story of Clemmie and his impact on the family. He spoke to me while I was avoiding the program. All he said was he didn’t just want to be remembered as a function of the war. That was it. But an hour or so ago, I realized why he and I were so downhearted yesterday. With the story I conjured up, he helped ease other family members’ burdens by taking them on himself. Where his soul was at ease before my meddling, now he is feeling their pain. I’m beginning to regret having written it.

Clemmie’s Watch