Let It Snow! Beef Jerky Time: 12/20/06

Tonight's show (12/27/06) will be a 2-hour special (7-9pm). Tune in for Beef Jerky that's twice as long! (wvew.org, 107.7 FM)

Here's what went down last week for the holiday show:
  • Christmas at Sea: L'Ensemble Choral Du Bout Du Monde
  • Blue Christmas: Midnight String Quartet
  • Christmas Waltz: Frank Sinatra
  • SEVEN versions of Greensleeves/What Child Is This?:
    1. Mitzie Collins (dulcimer), Glennda Dove (flute), Roxanne Ziegler (harp)
    2. Donnelly & Gerardi
    3. Eddie Dunstedter (electric organ)
    4. Vaughn Williams
    5. Vince Guaraldi Trio
    6. Galliard Brass Ensemble
    7. John Fahey
  • Christmas Time Is Here: Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Act II of "The Nutcracker" (In the Magic Castle on Sugar Mountain/Clara & the Prince): The Toronto Symphony, Andrew Davis conducting
  • What Noise On Earth?: L'Ensemble Choral Du Bout Du Monde
  • Good King Wenceslas: Univ. of Vermont Choral Union
  • Sladko Zvenyat Kolokol: Ivan Rebroff
  • Tijuana Christmas: Tijuana Brass
  • A Marshmallow World: Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin

Beef Jerky Time: 12/6/06

An hour of celebrations and props, plus the new Gwen Stefani record. Here's the list. Aoaoaoaooh.... Beef Jerky Time!!

  • theme from "Fish"
  • You'd Be Surprised: Marilyn Monroe [category: stuck in my head this week]
  • I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm: Frank Sinatra
  • Moonlight in Vermont: Frank Sinatra [category: happy b'day frank! (born 12/12/1915)]
  • The Man that got Away: Ella Fitzgerald, w. Ira Gershwin lyrics [category: happy birthday Ira! (12/6/1896)]
  • Blue Rondo a la Turk: Dave Brubeck [category: Happy 86th, Mr. Brubeck!]
  • Goodbye Sadness (Tristeza): Astrud Gilberto & the Walter Wanderley trio [category: happy birthday brother John!)
  • "Haffner Serenade" Menuetto & Trio: composed by Mozart, Pinchas Zukerman conductor & violinist with English Chamber Orchestra [category: shouts out to Mozart, 1/27/1756 - 12/5/1791]
  • Early Winter: Gwen Stefani [category: sounding out her new disc, "The Sweet Escape"]
  • We've Got a Long Way to Go: Gwen Stefani w. Andre 3000 [back to her 1st solo album]
  • Wonderful Life: Gwen Stefani [another new track]

Beef Jerky Time: 11/29/06

First, a note to listeners: NO SHOW NEXT WEEK (December 13, 2006). I'll be cooking a birthday dinner for someone special that evening. But tune in anyway for a special 2-hour DANCE PARTY SPECIAL hosted by DJ Troy, of Peel Slowly & See (also on Weds nites).

Here's the most recent playlist, including an extra-special treat narrated by Sir Richard Burton. (see ** below!) It was also pointed out to me that several songs (see *) have French lyrics. This was not entirely intentional.

  • Theme from "Too Close for Comfort"
  • *Sunday Girl: Blondie
  • Big Guns: Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins
  • Justified & Ancient: The KLF with Miss Tammy Wynette
  • Epistle to Dippy: Donovan
  • Mathonwy: Huw Jones
  • Why Didn't My Parents Buy me a Casio?: Micromars
  • *Your Redneck Past: Ben Folds Five
  • Ana Ng: They Might Be Giants
  • **The Eve of War: from Jeff Wayne's musical version of the War of the Worlds
  • *Mon Oncle (jazzy mix [of film s/t music]): Mr. Untel
  • *Hommage: Les Frères Checkolade
  • Canadian Railroad Trilogy: Gordon Lightfoot

Double Helping of Beef Jerky Time: 11/22/06

I just had a traumatic experience with a brownie from Seattle's Best Coffee. I innocently requested the "smaller of the two" Chocolate Butterfinger brownies on display. I thought the guy ("Ian," according to his nametag) would just throw it in a bag and hand it over. But instead he microwaved it, and then he slathered it with chocolate and caramel syrups, and then he topped it with a tiny butterfinger bar. Then he put it in a fancy folding box (like a Chinese takeout box, but wider and with no little wire handle) and then he put the whole thing in a fancy handled paper bag. After seeing this I decided I'd need a fork and a napkin to eat it, and I took it out to the car to see what I could salvage. It just looked so... American. It was gooey, and chocolatey, and super-sweet, and warm, and kinda nasty, and did not at all resemble the brownies I know. And of course I ate the whole thing. Oopsie. It was just HWAY more than I expected.

And maybe that was listeners' reaction to last week's show. Because, like, it was TWO SOLID HOURS of BJT. The dj's of the show that usually follows ("Peel Slowly and See") were both on holiday (as the next day was Thanksgiving).... so they graciously let Beef Jerky Time take over their regular time slot from 8-9pm. Here's the playlist.

  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous theme
  • Mirror in the Bathroom: The English Beat
  • I Go Crazy: Flesh for Lulu
  • Mandinka: Sinead O'Connor
  • You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want): Joe Jackson
  • Fancy Dancer: Commodores
  • You: Embellish
  • Games without Frontiers: Peter Gabriel
  • Valerie: Steve Winwood
  • Shout: Tears for Fears
  • Open Sesame: Saturday Night Fever s/t
  • The Space Between: Roxy Music
  • He Loves Anna: Waltz for Debbie
  • Nobody Told Me: John Lennon & Yoko Ono
  • Rocky Top (live): Dolly Parton
  • Electric Avenue: Eddy Grant
  • Way Down the Old Plank Road: The Mammals
  • Keeping Track of Time: Club 8
  • Method of Modern Love: Hall & Oates
  • Golden Years: David Bowie
  • Buana Juju: Love Whip
  • Destination Unknown: Missing Persons
  • Mercury: Tomita does Holst
  • The Phone Call: Memphis
  • 10 Commandments of Love: Bob Marley
  • Runaways: The Photon Band
  • The Lakes of Canada: Innocence Mission
  • Misery'n: Janis Joplin
  • Armistice Day: Paul Simon
  • Sleeping Pills: her space holiday

Beef Jerky Time, webcast edition: 11/15/06

As advertised, this show was internet only since WVEW's antenna was down at the time. But I know at least 3 people did tune in--wow!! (That is a grateful and impressed "wow," not a sarcastic one!)

  • Don't Tell Me Lies: Tommy Tucker & the Esquires
  • Punk Rock Girl: Dead Milkmen
  • Cheeseburger: Gang of Four
  • There Goes My Gun (live): Pixies
  • Wicked Funk: Kwanzaa Posse
  • Delicious Demon: Sugar Cubes
  • Carly Simon: The Groovie Ghoulies
  • Bron-Y-Aur Stomp: Led Zeppelin
  • Who Says A Funk Band Can't Play Rock?: Funkadelic
  • Stray Cat Blues: Rolling Stones
  • Magnificent Seven: The Clash
  • Drunken Staircase: Potatomen
  • Apache: Sugarhill Gang
  • Smokers in Love: Archers of Loaf
  • Getting Better: Beatles

Tonight's Show (11/15/06) is Internet only

Just a note to stay that WVEW is off the air in Brattleboro this week due to some construction stuff. We'll be back on Saturday, November 18th. But I'm still hosting Beef Jerky Time tonight at 7pm Eastern--catch the stream at www.wvew.org.

Beef Jerky Time: 11/8/06

Exciting news about this week's show--someone special was listening to the webstream in ANOTHER STATE and emailed to let me know. How cool is that?! Big ups to you, girlfriend. Here's the setlist:

  • People's Court Theme
  • Limbo: Throwing Muses
  • You Only Live Once: The Strokes
  • Olivia: The California Oranges
  • Straight On: Heart
  • Ride a White Horse: Goldfrapp
  • Jacking the Ball: The Sea & Cake
  • SOS: Figurine
  • Les Yper-Sound: Stereolab
  • All This Crazy Gift of Time: Kevin Ayers
  • Message to Pretty: Love
  • Daily Sisyphus: Paloma
  • How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously?: Pet Shops Boys
  • We Got The: Beastie Boys
  • I Knew You Would Go: Aden
  • Terror: The Stockholm Monsters
  • Warm Tears: Alsace

Beef Jerky Time: 11/1/06

I just finished the new 2nd volume of Simon Callow's life of Orson Welles (subtitled Hello Americans). Orson Welles is such a fascinating and screwed-up-sounding person. I tried reading the first volume once, but it was Larger Than Life and I was physically unable to keep holding it up to finish it.... This second volume just covers about 7 years of Orson Welles' life. It's not your typical Hollywood Life, such as the recent Ava Gardner bio that was CHOCK full of scandal and delicious chatty catty quotes and details. Callow's is a very workmanlike book, full of production notes and studio memos and transcribed telegram text. Hardly juicy stuff, but that's OK really. It's interesting to have the dry, rich, odd version of Welles--sans juice. Anyway, the book influenced my show this week, inspiring a short set of film music from 1936-2002. (In the list below, see between * and **.)
  • Cagney & Lacey Theme
  • Drug Test: Yo La Tengo
  • Like a Stranger: Psychedelic Furs
  • Make Believe Mambo: David Byrne
  • I See the Light: Olu Dara
  • All These Things That I've Done: The Killers
  • Beaux Dimanches: Amadou & Mariam
  • Titina: from Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, tribute version by Stanley Black
  • Prelude: from Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, composed by Bernard Herrmann
  • Escape! No Escape!: from Terry Gilliam's Brazil, composed by Michael Kamen
  • Madame de Tourvel: from Stephen Frears' Dangerous Liaisons, composed by George Fenton
  • The Hardest Geometry Problem in the World: from Wes Anderson's Rushmore, composed by Mark Mothersbaugh
  • The Riders of Rohan: from Peter Jackson's The Two Towers, composed by Howard Shore
  • A Minor Incident: Badly Drawn Boy (on a CD of 18 songs selected from Nick Hornby's book 31 Songs)
  • Back on Me: Urge Overkill
  • Favour: The Wake

Beef Jerky Time: 10/25/06

A 3-song Halloween-y set is included in this week's show. (Whoopee!)

  • Moonlighting Theme: Al Jarreau
  • Cherry Oh Baby: UB40
  • Why I Write Such Good Songs: Kleenex Girl Wonder
  • Bedbugs & Ballyhoo: Echo & the Bunnymen
  • Never Here: Elastica
  • Dark Star: Beck
  • All Our Dirty Looks: Chipmunk Economy
  • Nothing Natural (version): Lush
  • Bela Lugosi's Dead: Bauhaus
  • I'm a Vampire: Future Bible Heroes
  • Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps): David Bowie
  • Miss Chatelaine (St. Tropez Mix): kd lang
  • Disco 2000: Pulp
  • La Cucaracha: Kumbia Kings
  • Burgundy: Jessamine

Beef Jerky Time: 10/18/06

Oh crumbs, I just spilled water all over my desk. This optical mouse still seems to work, though. Also our apartment slopes off to the south right here, which is helping the water flow away from the computer and onto the floor. Hope the printer still works after it's had water running under it. (Sorry honey!)

On to today's post, which is last week's radio show setlist. Keep it tuned to WVEW-LP, now STREAMING LIVE!!!

  • The Sun always shines on TV: A-ha
  • Hijo de Africa: MC Solaar
  • Life is Like a Musical: Outkast
  • White Lines: Grandmaster Flash
  • You're the Reason I'm Leaving: Franz Ferdinand
  • Squeaky Clean: The Mopes
  • Danger Zone: Gwen Stefani
  • Foram Koten: Holland
  • 3 MCs and 1 DJ: Beastie Boys
  • I'm In Love with What's-Her-Name: Dr. Frank
  • What Is and What Should Never Be: Led Zeppelin
  • Space: Beta Band
  • Where Are You? Who You Are?: Moor
  • Winter in the Hamptons: Josh Rouse
  • Your Ex-Lover is Dead: Stars

Folk n' trad: Beef Jerky Time 10/11/06

Played some wax from the stacks for this show--WVEW has inherited rfb's excellent record collection from which I pulled together a similar show back on 10/5/04. My favorites this time were Nick Seeger (gorgeous and mournful music) and Jackie & Birdie (rollickin' ladies!).

  • The Maiden's Apron: Donnelly & Gerardi
  • Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Arlo Guthrie
  • Bittersweet and Blue: Paul Penfield
  • Streets of London: Ralph McTell
  • Wild Mountain Thyme: RuthAnna
  • The Cowboy's Trademark: Gene Autry
  • Blow Away the Morning Dew: Mitzie Collins
  • Dead on the Run: Gibson & Camp
  • Last Cannonball: Mary McCaslin
  • Osage Stomp: Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
  • Pegu: Jackie & Birdie
  • On the Sunny Side of the Rockies: Jimmy Davies
  • On Board of the Victory: Boys of the Lough
  • Sail on Flying Dutchman: Nick Seeger
  • Morning Light: Bottle Hill
  • Cigarettes, Whisky & Wild Women: Sons of the Pioneers
  • The Telephone Girl: The Red Clay Ramblers
  • Cumberland Gap: Homer & the Barnstormers (from an album winningly titled "Bluegrass Banjos on Fire")

Fall on the Farm

Pumpkin tops

Summer seems like an explosion of bounty, heat, fruit, full bloom. Autumn is its aftermath. I took some pictures to try capturing the post-summer chaos/release/shrapnel that can be found in a tiny corner of rural Vermont. Click here to check out some of the photos (the foggy ones after the flowers!).

All 80s: Beef Jerky Time 10/4/06

This show is one of my favorite formats--all 80s music. However, I'm finding that an 80s show isn't quite as delicious as it used to be, because other, commercial radio stations tend to play a lot of 80s music too. It's coming back. So it's no longer like, "Man, I haven't heard this song in AGES" when you hear Murray Head or Rockwell or something. It's more like, "Man, I just heard this song on WXYZ last week. Whatevs." (Actually, I would be REALLY excited to hear some Rockwell--I've been looking for him in vinyl dollar bins for years. That and the soundtrack to Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.)

  • 1984: Van Halen
  • Let the Music Play: Shannon
  • Tarzan Boy: Baltimora
  • Safety Dance: Men without Hats
  • Shake It Up: The Cars
  • Der Komissar: Falco (NOT After the Fire, according to the LP sleeve. Maybe cuz this is the German version)
  • New Song: Howard Jones
  • So. Central Rain: REM
  • Save It for Later: The English Beat
  • Jenny/867-5309: Tommy Tutone
  • The Reflex: Duran Duran
  • Against All Odds: Phil Collins (from the Against All Odds s/t)
  • St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion): John Parr (from the St. Elmo's Fire s/t)
  • If You Were Here: The Thompson Twins (from the 16 Candles s/t)
  • She's a Beauty: The Tubes
  • Open Your Heart: Madonna

Jazz Singers: Beef Jerky Time 9/27/06

This show produced entirely from the Smithsonian's 5-CD box set entitled "Jazz Singers." Besides the usual Frank & Ella & Louis & other stuff that I love, this collection has a lot of great songs from singers I've never heard of before. I tried to play more of these than not.

  • Tain't What You Do: Trummy Young
  • Give Me the Simple Life: Dakota Stanton
  • I Left My Baby: Jimmy Rushing
  • You're Driving Me Crazy: Joe Turner
  • Parker's Mood: King Pleasure
  • Babalu (Orooney): Slim Gaillard
  • Shakin' the African: Don Redman
  • Down for Double: Mel Tormé
  • Hogwash: Louis Jordan
  • Blues with Helen: Helen Humes
  • I Can't give You Anything But Love: Ethel Waters
  • Until the Real Thing Comes Along: Fats Waller
  • Jumpin' at the Woodside: Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
  • The Man from Harlem: Cab Calloway
  • Close Your Eyes (Shut Yo' Mouth): Slam Stewart/Major Holley
  • There's a Small Hotel: Joe Williams
  • Lotus Blossom: Julia Lee
  • Angel Eyes: Chris Connor

The Covers: Beef Jerky Time 9/20/06

This edition of Beef Jerky Time brings you covers of songs by all types (especially Jimmy Cliff and the Smiths, it turns out). Listing original artists (as far as I know) just for the heckuvit.

  • Come As You Are: The Mammals cover Nirvana
  • Gone Daddy Gone: Gnarls Barkley cover The Violent Femmes
  • This Charming Man: Stars cover The Smiths
  • Bonnie & Clyde: Luna cover Serge Gainsbourg
  • Many Rivers to Cross: UB40 cover Jimmy Cliff
  • Da Doo Ron Ron: The Donnas cover The Crystals
  • Got the time: Anthrax cover Joe Jackson
  • Higher Ground: Red Hot Chili Peppers cover Stevie Wonder
  • California Girls: David Lee Roth covers the Beach Boys
  • Black Dog: Hayseed Dixie cover Led Zeppelin
  • This Night Has Opened my Eyes: Pipas cover The Smiths
  • Common People: William Shatner covers Pulp
  • The Harder They Come: Kahimi Karie covers Jimmy Cliff
  • Come See About Me: Afghan Whigs cover The Supremes
  • Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow: Laura Branigan covers The Shirelles
  • St. Elmo's Fire: Uilab cover Brian Eno

Scrap book

Once about 10 years ago I thought I might turn out to be a novelist. I kept a notebook of interesting turns of phrase, and when I was at work, I jotted little ideas and quotes on scraps of paper and then stuffed them into the notebook later. I recently came across this material (materiel?) and have decided to recycle it. For one thing, if I do suddenly decide to write a novel, I probably won't be incorporating ideas I thought were cool in 1995. Also I don't even remember the context of most of these notes--for example whether or not I made them up or cribbed them from other authors. But for the sake of my biographer, I'm transcribing a few of these precious notes (precious enough to squirrel away and take with me from place to place, year after year) before I rel[ega][oca]te them to the recycling bin.

  • "You're all alone where there is no phone and I can't keep tabs on you." (Actually I think this is a lyric from "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" a la Glenn Miller.)
  • "Perhaps in search of a candy to feed him during the act."
  • "creak of metal pots; drinking H2O like vodka"
  • "Mr. Henry kept staring at the edge of the mountains the way you play with your wedding ring."
  • "A car with 4 dogs peering out between a thousand imprints of dirty noses"
  • "People seem more upset when it rains from a clear sky."
  • "My thesis grew, I could no longer afford a typist."
  • "Judges pretending to be goats, badly"
  • "I took everyone's childhood games and made a big deal out of them. And new rules."
  • "The smell of Europe: Vespas, street corners, sun on concrete. The smell of dandelions: sixth grade, dust, blacktop. Within the hour. Related?"
  • "She lived for 3 years on honey and sweet vermouth until her children put her in a rest home."
  • "She was mulish, but not a horse's ass."
  • "When I look up a word, I want a bigger word, not a smaller word."
  • "I always had a little crush on Laertes."
  • "This dream has the linings of a nightmare."
  • "Sensualism can widen the blinders of materialism."
  • "No weapons allowed in Holy City"

Beef Jerky Time: 9/13/06

Here's the rundown from this week's show:

  • Shady Grove: Garcia, Grisman & Rice
  • Happy Hour Again: The House Martins
  • Love Cats: The Cure
  • Burning: Alsace
  • Father & Daughter: Paul Simon
  • On My Radio: The Selecter
  • Dance Hall Days: Wang Chung
  • Charlie: Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Lakeville: Amy Correia
  • Which of Us is the Fool: Robert Palmer
  • Dizzy Dizzy Dizzy: 800 Cherries
  • Only Time Will Tell: Asia
  • Sing My Lord: Ponies on Fire
  • Together: William Shatner
  • Love Crown: Godzuki
  • Professor Pyarelel: from "Bombay the Hard Way: Guns, Cars & Sitars"
  • Toi, tu n'ressembles a personne: Yves Montand

Beef Jerky Time: First Show! 9/6/06

It's so wonderful to be back on the air, spinning the tunes I love. Here's what went down this first glamourous Wednesday. (I also noticed that just one hour is REALLY SHORT for a show--I'm still used to the old days with my 2 hour "Makin' Candy" format.)

  • Space Funk: Freaks & Geeks s/t
  • Love will Tear Us Apart: Joy Division
  • Sentimental Love: The Elevator Drops
  • Seven and Seven Is: Love
  • Love without anger: Devo
  • Alive: Beastie Boys
  • Batteries (can't help me now): Figurine
  • Set Yourself on Fire: Stars
  • La Primavera: Manu Chao
  • Sing Me Spanish Techno: The New Pornographers
  • (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais: The Clash
  • Saved By Zero: The Fixx
  • Broken Train: Beck
  • Hots on for Nowhere: Led Zeppelin
  • Crystal Frontier: Calexico
  • The Boy with the Thorn in His Side: The Smiths
  • Rapariga da Banheira: Lali Puna
  • The Casio Fight Song: David Shouse & The Bloodthirsty Lovers

Sweet as Apple... Crisp

It's getting to be that time again--apple time! Here's a recipe for apple crisp that I found online and modified somewhat.


about 8 apples, sliced (enough to generously heap in 1 round 9" pie dish)
3 T white sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 T flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 T cold unsalted butter, in pieces (that's 3/4 a stick)
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup oats

  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix apple slices with sugar, cinnamon, and 1 T flour. Pile into pie dish.
  3. Cream together brown sugar and butter (try using a pastry cutter). Add flour and continue to mix until grainy. Then mix in oats. Sprinkle all over apples.
  4. Bake 1 hour plus until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling.

YUM! This will serve 2 very hungry people for 2 nights running.


Excellent news--as of 5pm today, Brattleboro Vermont has independent radio again. And I, Prof. Kitty, will be back on the air with a new show called "Beef Jerky Time." Finally this blog can once again serve part of its original purpose: housing setlists from my shows!

It's been over a year since the FCC shut down rfb, where I was the last person to DJ on the night of June 21, 2005. "Beef Jerky Time" is on every Wednesday eve from 7-8pm. The station is WVEW lpfm at 107.7. I am SO relieved to have decent (and if not always decent, at least always varied!) music in town again. And I am so excited to get my "voice" back as a spinner of bluegrass, synth pop, 80s songs real and covered, mellow jazz, poetry read by poets, Haight Ashbury sounds, glam rock and heavy stuff, electronica, and whatever else I've got goin' that day! Welcome back, community radio!



I love cute things! Here are 2 young he-goats that lived outside our window for a few days. Until they were naughty and got sent away again. (They were being considered as a farm project for little kids, but turned out to be a bit too aggressive and GOATISH to work out.)

Some cute sites that have been pointed out to me:

www.infinitecat.com This site almost makes me want to break my personal ban on posting photos of family members and pets online. Cuz our kitties could be part of this awesome project... and they are PRETTY CUTE!

Bambi & Thumper Oh my gosh, so cute. Could these photos be REAL? Gulp.

cuteoverload.com Just what it says. Brace yourself for it... then click.


A few selections from my life list of interesting passages:

"I also discovered that she considered herself a connoisseur of Modern Art. She blazed with anger at me when I said I doubted that the appreciation of a green stripe across a blue background had any connection with its definition in a glossy catalogue as 'producing a virtually Oriental atmosphere of spaceless time and timeless space.' She accused me of trying to wreck her entire view of the world by maintaining--in a facetious vein, she hoped--that only a Philistine misled by solemn imbeciles paid to write about exhibitions could tolerate rags, rinds, and fouled paper rescued from a garbage can and discussed in terms of 'warm splashes of color' and 'good-natured irony.' But perhaps most touching and terrible of all was her honestly believing that painters painted 'what they felt'; that a rather rough and rumpled landscape dashed off in Provence might be gratefully and proudly interpreted by art students if a psychiatrist explained to them that the advancing thundercloud represented the artist's clash with his father, and the rolling grainfield the early death of his mother in a shipwreck."
--Vladimir Nabokov, Look at the Harlequins, Pt. 4, Ch. 6

"Howard remembered his hours alone playing in the woods when he was a boy; back then he was what Mr. Redfern, the human sciences master, had called an 'animist.' He saw a spirit in every tree, worshipped a local deity at every clearing, ascribed human associations to flowers--the four pure white petals of the bunchberry flower, worthy of a diplomatic sash, each petal mitered like a bishop's hat, the four composing a cross of Malta around the stigmas and anthers clustered at the center like tiny diamonds mounted at varying heights on slender stems."
--Edmund White, "Pyrography," Skinned Alive

"Some people have fear but some have confidence instead. Which do you have? You're not confident, I know that. I know that, because actually no one has confidence. The most confident men and women you know--they haven't got confidence. No one has. Everyone has fear instead. (Unless they have that third thing, which men call madness.) They fear they are a secret which other people will one day discover. They fear they are a joke which other people will one day see, which other people will one day get.
--Martin Amis, Other People, Ch. 10

"'"By the time a novelist worth his salt is thirty-six, he's no longer translating experience into fable--he's imposing his fable onto experience."'"
--Philip Roth, Deception

"It was not the first time in our mountaineering life that the weather had taken a malicious pleasure in smiling after threatenings. How many defeats have been due to these morning storms that have panicked us and made us retreat, and then dispersed like smoke in the middle of the day! Never is it so fine as when one has given up!"
--Raymond Lambert, "The Longest Day" (1952 Swiss Everest Expedition), from The Mammoth Book of Eyewitness Everest, ed. Jon E. Lewis.

"'I lived in a world of my own imagination. When I grew older I began to notice the people around me. I saw that there were two kinds--the bright and the stupid--and I decided that I would choose the bright ones for my friends. Later on, I was disappointed in them. Clever people are not always kind. Sometimes they are quite cruel. And the stupid ones very often are kind.'"
--William Maxwell, The Chateau

Summer Reads

Summer daisy

Just like summer calls for a certain kind of music (for example driving around with the windows rolled down blasting the Allman Brothers is just not done in November or March), it seems to call for a certain kind of book as well. Here are some summer reads I like:

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. Unusual subject matter, sure, but this is also a book about campgrounds, car trips and bathing suits. It has a definite sweaty summer vibe.

Light, by Eva Figes. Set during a single day, Figes does her own kind of painting with delicate depictions of the scenes and lives in the Monet household in Giverny, France.

The "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think my interest in this charming series and my interest in living history museums are somehow linked. Such simple and open explanations of 19th century Americana, I feel like I could live there myself and make my own cheese and calico dresses.

The "Anne of Green Gables" books by L.M. Montgomery. Another series: I guess I like summer books that can keep going and going. I plowed through these one teenaged August and now always associate August with a tender girlhood I never spent on PEI.

The "Swallows and Amazons" series by Arthur Ransome. This is hardcore summer stuff—a bunch of English kids into sailing, living outside in the Lake District, and keeping away from parents whenever possible. Delicious with lots of British-isms, published in attractive paperbacks by David R. Godine. These books definitely influenced my vacation habits for many years, and led to a fascination with secret codes, including semaphore.

Side note: David R. Godine called me "peaches" once. I was working the counter at a tiny independent bookstore and he came through on a sales call. I can't remember the complete sentence he said to me (could have been "could you hand me that phone book..."), but it ended with "peaches" and I have forever treasured the moment as my amusing brush with a literary light.

Seaside Retreat

Spent part of the weekend where Connecticut and Rhode Island meet the sea. Besides a staggering variety of malls, the Mystic/Stonington/Westerley area offers quite the assortment of cute shops, fancy food stores, and darn good fried things. Time was short, but we managed to hit the silken sands at Watch Hill, RI. I discovered that just wading in the ocean helps transform me into a calm and tranquil being. Amazing! (And the roses scenting the path through the dunes helped, too.)

We shopped at 2 gourmet markets, Mystic Market, which sells things like Stonewall Kitchen jam and prepared chicken & tarragon salads, and also Puritan & Genesta, which has not only a gluten-free section in among all the natural foods, but also sells earth shoes and organic cotton socks.

Plus we could not resist the siren call of Sea Swirl, offering fried whole belly clams and softserv, dished out from one of those retro glass-fronted fry-shacks. It reminded me of Vern's Fish Fry in Bennington (formerly Paul's Fish Fry, I believe) where we used to stop every time we ventured from New York State into New England. Nothing like a big styrofoam container of French fries and seafood on a white hot July day. Yummm!

Next time we're down there I suppose we should try to actually see some of the sights, like Mystic Seaport or the Mystic Aquarium.

The Great Scape

The "scape" is the curling, flowering top of the garlic plant. In New England garlic typically starts to flower in June, and you'll suddenly see scapes for sale everywhere for a couple weeks. The idea is that if you snap/cut off the flowering part of the garlic, the plant will then direct more of its resources to the juicy bulb instead of "wasting" them on a reproductive flower.

So what do you do with scapes? They're kinda like a scallion that's gone mildly garlic. I've used them in the following ways:

Add them to a baked chicken. Stick some under the skin, arrange the chicken on a nest of scapes, put more in the bird's cavity. Scapes can add just a hint o' garlic perfume to the meat--though not strong enough to carry the whole seasoning job on their own. (Suggest using lemon and possibly also marjoram for this.)

Cut them up like a scallion. You can use the whole thing, not just the white or green bits. Add scape flecks to omelettes, meatballs, 3-bean salad, salsa.

Roast them with potatoes. I adapted this from some Martha Stewart grilling recipe. Get about 6 (or more) red potatoes. Wash them and cut them into quarters. Then take 4 feet of tin foil and double it. Pile the potatoes and at least 10 whole scapes on one side of the foil. Fold the foil over and crimp around the edges to seal. Throw on a hot grill for about 20 minutes--10 minutes per side. If you MUST check how they're cooking, just uncrimp a little tiny corner and poke a potato to see if it's soft. Then seal back up so not too much steam escapes. Just before serving, unwrap foil and put potatoes in a bowl with a hunk of butter plus salt and pepper. Dang good!

Next up: garlic harvest. This is supposed to happen when about 2/3 of the plant looks brown and dry. Usually in July or August.

Fruit update

OK, strawberry season is officially over. The last few squishy ones languish in a carton in the fridge and will be gone by Saturday. My newest fruit love: watermelon. Slice it up, cool it off, better than popsicles.

In other news, have you heard of Hypnobirthing? It's a method of natural birthing that claims birth doesn't have to hurt. Whenever I tell an older woman about this she tends to snort in disdain. But what if labor pain is actually a product of brainwashing? I mean, if you think something's going to hurt, then it hurts. If you think it's going to go smoothly, then it's likely to do so. With hypnobirthing, the key is deep relaxation. Almost like meditation--stay in the present moment and tune in to what's happening NOW, and you won't start worrying about what might happen NEXT. This helps break the fear-tension-pain connection. Um, sounds good to me!

Strawberry Season

Q: So what's been going on, Professor Kitty?

A: It's strawberry time and my goal is to eat strawberries every single day until they're gone. Every year I'm surprised by how early and how short strawberry season is. There is nothing so delicious as a fresh strawberry. Frozen or dried or jammed or jellied strawberries are NASTY and I refuse to eat them. But give me the fresh ones and I'll finish them by the quart. My daddy used to tell a story about a kid who got hives from strawberries, but said "I'm eating them anyway. They're that good."

I mostly have my strawberries sliced onto cereal. I've been drinking a lot of goat milk lately. (Maybe I like it cuz I'm a Capricorn?) It apparently has good calcium availability and is recommended by Susun Weed, so it must be good, mehhhh?

Also I just realized my 2 favorite breakfast cereals are made by the same company, Arrowhead Mills. I have a long-time aversion to sweetened cereal, and they make nice, bland crunchy things like amaranth flakes and Nature O's. Oh, O's!!

Q: What are your favorite blogs of late?

A: Kate Bingaman's obsessive consumption. A cool art prof down south, she draws things she's purchased lately and posts the drawings online with explanations. It's a lot cooler than that actually--check it out!

Martinis at 8: Blog of a Dallas/Ft Worth events planner reads like it was written by a 5th Sex & the City lady. Vicarious cocktail thrills!

Q: Anything to add?
A: I've been wanting to take photos of some local strawberries and put them up with this post, but I haven't gotten around to it. Instead of stalling further, I'm posting anyway. Livin' on the edge today.

It rained on my parade!

But it was fun anyway. Click here to see my "Parade" photo set on Flickr, including 12 shots of the glorious annual Strolling of the Heifers in Brattleboro, Vermont last Saturday (6/3/06). Dairy was consumed in great quantities afterward in the form of free samples from various vendors. (I liked the water buffalo yogurt especially!)

NOFA-VT in the parade

Inspiration of the week

Just heard from a friend who has co-founded something called the Tiriruk Nunka
"Sacred Earth¨ Reforestation Project. There's a website about it at www.tiriruk.org. I'm so impressed! Her email told of a recent 4-day project in Ecuador where a group planted the Morete Palm in an area where it had become scarce. Check it out! Other reforestation projects she visited are Fundacion Rainforest Rescue and the Jatun Sacha Biological Station. Sadly I will never be able to join in such work personally due to my irrational fear of GIANT BUGS!! But I'm going to send what support I can...

Loving the big smoke

We spent a chunk of last week in Toronto, Ontario--visiting, shopping, sightseeing, whatnot. Being in a big city was quite the shock after a winter of country life 5 miles outside a town that basically closes at 6pm. So exciting to be on the streets PAST DARK and be able to shop and eat and jostle in the crowds with abandon. Here are a few highlights:

We hit the Bright Pearl restaurant on Spadina Avenue. They have dim sum there all day every day. This is my dream come true, for reals. We got the full cart treatment and stuffed ourselves with siu mai, har gow, savory greens, fried wontons, rice noodle rolls, and many other shrimpy delights. Plus the Bright Pearl has a cool exterior, done up like a yellow Chinese temple with green roof. AWESOME.

We went to many many bookstores--lots were on College St. Balfour Books has used books and old books and aulde books and antique books. Dragon Lady Comics and Paper Nostalgia is close by where you can find a Life magazine with Greta Garbo lounging on the cover, or a copy of Ebony with Richard Pryor lounging in the exact same position. She Said Boom has stacks of CDs and some LPs besides tall tall bookshelves. And even further east the U of T bookstore has a pretty bitchin' collection of new books. We also checked out Seeker's Books and Book City on Bloor Street, and a branch of Indigo! at Bay & Bloor.

For culture we hit Queen's Park (the pink granite provincial parliament building smack in the middle of town) and watched the government and the opposition hollering at each other across the room. The Textile Museum of Canada had some excellent exhibits of fabrics from Mali, Indonesia, Tennessee, all over. Plus a CRAZY exhibit of giant dead insects pinned to the walls in ornate repeating patterns. Also after much hunting we located the Gallery of Inuit Art in the lobby of one of the highrises way downtown. No explanations about what the pieces are, but very interesting to look at these works of raw arctic beauty in the middle of a sunny day in the financial district.

Also found a cool store full of organic fabrics, healthy candles and recycled stuff: Grassroots. There appear to be just 2 branches I think. Me likes, especially the washable diaper section.

Celebrity K-nowledge

An amazing amount of my brain-space, which could presumably be dedicated to useful knowledge such as people's names or historical dates, has sadly been taken up by the effortless memorization of celebrity gossip. A fellow traveler recently gave me a list of celebrity blogs to trawl: YES! (And yet I refuse to subscribe to People or Us or EW because I think it'll be bad for me to have so much delicious fun. Instead I get National Geographic and can barely get through an issue.) Check 'em out:

I would also add www.celebrity-babies.com

Looking at these sites makes me want to bathe in pink Cristal and pretend I'm Kimora Lee. (Sorry, "Cristal Rosé.")

Bird flu isn't the same as pandemic flu, for one thing

I'm flummoxed by the bird flu hysteria that seems to have taken over the mainstream media. According to the April 12, 2006 issue of JAMA, "The White House strategic plan and congressional appropriation both devote more than 90% of pandemic influenza spending to vaccines and antiviral medications."* Elsewhere in the article it notes that the total approprations are $3.8 billion. Assuming that policy-makers are all in bed with big pharma (such as Rummy's association with Gilead Sciences, the biotech that owns the rights to the antiviral medication Tamiflu), this spending plan makes sense. The more they spend, the more they get to pocket. I feel jaded enough that this doesn't surprise me.
*Gostin, "Public Health Strategies for Pandemic Influenza," JAMA 295: 1700)

But I am surprised by the media's participation. Why does the public need to be stirred up so much that morning-show deejays are offering to shoot down wild birds to save us all? What is the point of creating panic among the common man? Is it to terrorize us? To take our minds off the screwed up war(s) where tons of the rest of "our" money is going? Because if you read closely, you'll note that pandemic flu doesn't even exist yet. Bird flu ain't it. It's a sickness that occurs in BIRDS. And who are we supposed to believe about its possible impact on humans? Do we believe top NIH scientist Anthony Fauci, who says bird flu is really not that big a deal? Or do we get with something like ABC News, which has a HUGE web component that seems designed to make us cower in our basements? Or maybe it's supposed to be entertainment? Or maybe people are just trying to use up funding and give themselves busy work? A loved one recently pointed out to me that even the Weather Channel is into terrorism--right now they have a show called "It Could Happen Tomorrow" about awful things happening all over the country... from weather. Check out their site at www.weather.com for "Today's Top Threat."

It just all seems frickin' ridiculous. I am not entertained. Nor am I terrorized. I'm mainly wondering why I'm supposed to care about this stuff. My sweetie told me gas will be going up to $4 a gallon this summer. Maybe we should freak out about that instead?

I need a unicorn chaser now, like they thoughtfully provide on boingboing. Or a movie with Chris Kattan in it would do quite nicely.

Humor in Official Documents

I followed a link from ibrattleboro.com to a Vermont State Auditor's report on financial inconsistencies at the Windham County Sheriff's Department. It is available at http://www.state.vt.us/sao/reviews/WCSD_FINAL.pdf. So far my favorite bit is part that was also posted on ibrattleboro, but I feel compelled to repeat it here:

"On May 17, 2005, Sheriff Prue charged $29.93 at Borders Books in Keene, NH. Sheriff Prue wrote that the charge was for “supplies for the drug/alcohol program.” Auditor requested a copy of the receipt which shows the charge was for Catholicism for Dummies, a pocketsized book of Psalms and a Bookmark. "

Oh lordy!

I also liked this one:

"Sheriff Prue was reimbursed $625.53 for uniform expenses for which she provided receipts. In addition, Sheriff Prue claimed $2,058.52 of credit and debit card transactions as a “clothing allowance.” Some of the clothing did not appear to be related to her duties as a police officer. Rather, they appeared to be civilian clothing. Audit work determined some of the items purchased included an athletic supporter, petite chinos and lace hipster underwear inconsistent with the gender, size and nature of the Sheriff’s uniform requirements."

This report is written with a delicious dryness sometimes and makes me wonder if the accounting office might have gotten a very slight kick out of enumerating the many and sometimes bizarre alleged improprieties of the WCSD.

DVD me please!

5 movies that should be released on DVD ASAP... with lots of special features of course!

  1. Comfort and Joy (1984) Bill "Local Hero" Forsythe's ode to the post-break-up funk, ice cream trucks and organized crime. The "Mr. Bunny" van has a super-catchy little song it tinkles out while wheeling around desolate Glasgow 'burbs. Plus Mark Knopfler is involved.
  2. Cold Lazarus (1996) Dennis "The Singing Detective" Potter's last work was this twisted futuristic story involving the frozen head of the guy from his second-to-last work ("Karaoke"). The head is played by Albert Finney; Ciaran Hinds also stars.
  3. Artists and Models (1955) Martin & Lewis along with Shirley Maclaine, Eva Gabor & Anita Ekberg. But I've never seen it! I really want to!
  4. Tilt (1979) Brooke Shields plays the eponymous pinball wizardess. Totally cheesy. And cheesiness is great!
  5. Born to Dance (1936) If you think Jimmy Stewart's role in "Ziegfeld Girl" was OK, check out this musical, where he actually sings! Yes, I know the singing Jimmy Stewart is one of my personal obsessions that I carry on about. But it's freakin' bizarre and a must-see. Sing for me, Jimmy. (Oh yeah, Una Merkel is in it too, another of my favorite not-so-famous actors. This list also includes Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, Vera-Ellen and Mildred Natwick.)

Week by week, baby

Crocus Chorus

Every wonder what goes on in a pregnant lady's belly every week for 9 months? I've found some helpful websites that give this info. The fact that they tend to repeat information is somehow heartening--like there's some sort of plan or logical progression goin' on!

I don't quite understand the "9 months" thing actually. If pregnacy is 40 weeks long, and a month is 4 weeks long, isn't that 10 months? Or do they mean "9 complete months, starting on 10 when you're done"? Or is a month actually a little bit more than 4 weeks--about 30-odd days to be exact? Well whatever. That's why counting by weeks seems more sensible.

Happy Spring, peeps.

Was A Sunny Day

The cats are playing in the sun-kissed cardboard boxes that clutter this room. Yesterday was the first WARM day this year. I am so excited about spring I've started uploading snaps to Flickr. Here's a trillium I discovered last April growing by the side of the road. (Photos in my blog, whoa!):

Trillium plus barbed wire

I'm off for some lunch now. I'm thinking maybe a chicken gyro. Or a kibbee wrap.

Canada v. Finland

Men's Olympic curling face-off tonight. Man, I wish I had, like, a TV.

In other news, I'm listening to the book-on-tape of "Isaac's Storm," by Erik Larson. It's the story of the nasty hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900. I had no idea that Galveston used to be such a happening place before it was trashed by a tropical cyclone. (Not that it isn't happening now, of course, cuz how would I know?) Last night's dreams were of heavy and terrifying winds. When I woke up, they were still there... Just checked the weather and found there's a wind advisory for my county until midnight. Coincidence? Fortunately I will be safe with friends eating cheese. Slainte!

My favorite Favreau

I have been having a hard time trying to explain to a loved one the difference between Jeremy Piven and Jon Favreau. I think I would summarize by saying that Jon Favreau is the clever one and Jeremy Piven is the funny one. Some confusion arises because Favreau can also be funny (he did direct Elf, after all). And it's possible that Jeremy Piven is also clever, although I have no evidence yet. Further confusion seems to stem from the fact that both J's have largish heads and have been in movies with Vince Vaughn, and so might appear slightly interchangeable. Recently I found out these dudes have done plenty of TV work, too--Favreau is on some show he invented called "Dinner for Five," and Piven is in "Entourage." (He also appears to be working out, which makes him seem less charmingly dorky.) I have only recently seen the tiniest bit of each of these shows. My biggest impression was that Stacy Peralta should come to MY dinner for five, not one with Seth Macfarlane.

I'm glad I could clear this up.

Lucky charms

Someone gave me a figurine of a cat with its paw up in the air. I have discovered it is called Maneki Neko. It is a Japanese good luck totem known around the world. I know I have seen them in shops and restaurants before and am glad to know the little creature's name now that one lives in my house. This one seems especially lucky because it is also a type of piggy bank--it has a slot for coins in the back of its neck. Also, unlike some piggy banks, it has a rubber plug at the bottom for retrieving the coins. However it doesn't seem lucky to retrieve and spend used Maneki Neko coins. I guess if the cat gets full I should have a ceremonial dispersal of the coins. Maybe in a fountain somewhere so the luck can carry on?

Looking at the site linked to above reminds me of a New Yorker article about Hayao Miyazaki that mentioned Anpanman, a superhero who is a bean paste bun. Anpanman makes me LAUGH and it feels gooood.

Happy Burns Day

Despite all promises and plans made a year ago today, I have still not managed to get my hands on the sheep bits necessary to make my own haggis. Must work on my farmer's market connections this year and get me some "pluck" and "lights," as they say on Scottish haggis postcards. I think one of these really mean "lungs"...

Apart from Scottish repast, I found myself thinking fondly of Burns Days gone by. I think my first was celebrated at Pauper's Pub in Toronto. (Did not hear of the Burns tradition until college, where whisky drinking was something of its own sport.) Last year's was loads of fun, too, since Makin' Candy fell right on the 25th.

In other news, but still kinda Scottish, I was trying to explain the sport of curling this morning. The best I could do was that it's like bowling, except it's slower, on ice, and involves a large rock and people with brooms. There are some rules at curlingbasics.com that do a much better job of explaining. I do need a winter hobby--how's the curling scene in New England, I wonder? For example I note that the World Men's curling championship is coming up in April in Lowell, MA!!!!!

Mozart 250 years old. Long live old Mozart!

It's Mozart year in Vienna--apparently the whole city is having an open party later this month to celebrate his 250th birthday on January 27th. Crumbs! (Salzburg is up to their own stuff....)

My own resolution is simply to listen to as much Mozart as possible, all year long. I toyed with the idea of being more strict with myself and listening to or playing some Mozart EVERY DAY. But this broke down around January 6th. Still it's not hard to dose up just about daily. For example I have been enjoying my "Music minus one" piano concerto. This is a company that lets you pretend to be a concert pianist as you attempt to play along while an orchestra on CD backs you up. Unfortunately concert pianists are frickin' FAST, and even though there's a CD that's 20% slower for "practice," I still can't keep up with it. But it's still fun to pretend.