Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables?

There’s always room for JELL-O.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, I associate most lunch and dinner food we ate as coming from cans. Campbell’s soup. Fruit juice, usually DelMonte or a store brand. Canned fruit, ditto.

Carnation evaporated milk, which my late great aunt Deana put in her tea. My sisters swear she said she poured it until the drink was as light as she was. For a black woman, she WAS quite fair.

And canned vegetables. The corn and peas weren’t too bad. I would eat spinach because Popeye cartoons had indoctrinated me. But other veggies went from tolerable to inedible. In the latter category, beets. They were vile. I would – seriously – put mustard on them just to kill the taste.

In the 1970s, I was off to college and beyond. My vegetables of choice were generally frozen. They were SO much better than the boring canned varieties. And even better than the Swanson frozen TV dinners we occasionally had in the previous decade.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that I actually discovered fresh vegetables to a large degree. It was A Whole New Dimension in dining. In the last couple of years, I happened to try canned spinach, though I don’t recall the brand. It was terrible! How did I eat that stuff?

Sauté

I was thinking about this because I tend to be the person who cooks the eggs in our household. Usually, when I’m making an omelet, I’ll sauté onions and spinach beforehand. I’ll add mushrooms only if my daughter isn’t eating them. I use Olivio because my nutritionist says it’s better for me than using butter. It cooks the same and works better than most butter/margarine substitutes.

Recently, my wife offered me thawed, chopped, frozen spinach to use. My instincts said this would not work for me. How does one know when frozen spinach is sautéd? When fresh spinach/mushrooms/onions start to wilt, that’s my visual cue. Frozen spinach offers me no visual cue. And it didn’t taste as good.

Now, thawed frozen spinach is great for dips at parties. Remember parties? In pre-COVID days, I used to attend those. [Sigh]

Those ever-shrinking cans of tuna fish – freshwater – are good to have on hand. Do they still also come in oil?

And canned fruit is useful when you put it in JELL-O. Which reminds me, I haven’t had JELL-O since I was sick a few years back. Suddenly, I have a hankering for JELL-O with mixed fruit, topped by Cool Whip. What the heck is in Cool Whip anyway?

Spelling tip: If you write sauté, you only need the D to make it sautéd. But if you write saute, you need the ED to make it sauteed.

FTC whatever: no compensation was received for mentioning these brands.

COVID deniers with COVID

Wear a mask in public. Social distancing. This is news?

donald trump wearing corona virus mask face blinded cartoonI’ve been watching the evening news, masochist that I am. More than once in the last few weeks, I’ve seen someone break down crying about the loss of their beloved family member. I’m not made of stone, so I feel a little sad.

Then they weep, “I didn’t know that COVID was REAL!” I bite my lip. In a recent comment on my blog, the blogger fillyjonk wrote, “I find myself irrationally angry at so many of my fellow citizens. ” I tend to agree with her, except for the “irrationally” part. NOW, they believe?

Still, I was STUNNED to read an article in  Vanity Fair this month. What Do You Do When Your COVID Patient Doesn’t Believe In COVID? The online version is quite explicit: “‘It’s the Trump Bubble.'” OMG. “The Right Has Created a Wave of COVID Patients Who Don’t Believe It’s Real.”

Even before getting to the story itself, this description. “A Texas nurse had a patient in a COVID ICU tell her the virus is ‘fake news.’ A California nurse was mocked for wearing a mask. As a new wave of COVID-19 sweeps the country, health care workers are grappling with the consequences of the president’s misinformation machine. ‘This is insane,’ says one. ‘I have never seen anything like it.'”

I am literally holding my hands to my head, fearing that it will somehow explode. COVID deniers with COVID.

Nothing is real

“Gigi Perez, a California–based nurse… told me, ‘The COVID-19 unit I work in has already lost seven nurses in the last three months due to the burnout from managing these types of patients.’ In the last two weeks, Perez said, nine of her fellow health care workers have contracted COVID-19. Workers are ‘beginning to resent the public for not doing their part to help control the pandemic,’ she said.”

And this. “An infectious disease doctor who asked to remain anonymous told me he had never before experienced politics overshadowing science in the medical field. ‘Before [Donald] Trump I never spoke politics in the clinic room,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt that COVID splits into fact-free and factful worlds. This is why we have a raging epidemic.”

In WaPo,  read about a Missouri county health director. Concerning contact tracing, she says, “Probably half of the people we call are skeptical or combative. They refuse to talk. They deny their own positive test results. They hang up. They say they’re going to hire a lawyer. They give you fake people they’ve spent time with and fake numbers.”

While downplaying the pandemic from the beginning, the despicable regime behavior started in earnest on April 3. That’s when IMPOTUS said his experts were “now recommending Americans wear ‘non-medical cloth’ face coverings.” He said “the recommendations… were voluntary and that he would not partake. ‘I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

And the die was cast. Now, hospitals in half the states are facing a massive staffing shortage as Covid-19 surges.

White flag

Here’s a story in the Boston Globe.  With COVID-19 victory in sight, America surrenders. “What’s happened to us? A lifetime ago, Americans endured years of Great Depression suffering, then went off to fight World War II or, on the home front, tightened their belts, stretched their rationed food, and planted Victory Gardens.”

But that’s not us. “Yes, this isolated, socially distanced existence is tiresome, particularly in cold weather. But we have salvation, in the form of vaccinations, within sight… Then life will begin to return to normal.”

This past summer, the writer “had a chance to catch up with an old pal from high school who, long a Republican, has become a Fox News conservative. The good news, said my friend, who has a graduate degree, was that if the Democrats won, the big to-do about COVID-19 would end on Nov. 3. Why, I asked? Because, he said, it was all a big hoax to get Joe Biden elected. We joke a lot, so I assumed he was kidding. No.”

So it makes “sense” that when the CDC urges against Thanksgiving travel, it will be largely ignored. In the New York Times, a writer traced his COVID-19 bubble and it’s “enormous.” He was thinking a dozen or two, but it was over 100 people.

And much of the blame for the current explosion of cases must fall on a regime that has announced in October, “We are not going to control the pandemic.” That’s the truth. About four dozen of them have had the virus.

I am SO angry with the regime’s handling of the crisis. Americans are dying unnecessarily. And the buck stops there.

I wouldn’t bet on it

Pirates

betI have no moral antipathy toward gambling. Heck, I even played a lottery ticket when the prize last approach a half-billion dollars. But I’ve never bet anything more than literally penny-ante poker.

That’s not entirely true. I’ve wagered on something that I knew was a sure thing. One time in the 1980s, I won $10 from my boss over whether the orange juice was from concentrate or not. I don’t know the answer now, but I knew it then. I’ll bet on things I know to be true.

The last time I bet on a non-sure thing was on games five and six of the 1979 World Series. I picked the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had lost three of the first four games and bet only a buck or two, and they won. But I chickened out and didn’t pick them for Game 7, which they also won, and of course the Series.

The horses

Sometime in August, I won a $50 card from something called NYRAbets from the local newspaper, the Times Union. One uses the site for wagering at various racetracks, notably the one in nearby Saratoga. And because I was a new user, I got an extra $25.

That day in mid-August, I bet $2 each on nine horses to win, or $18. The next day, the $75 was now $66. That was fine. I’m picking these horses by name. Anything with black, or green was a likely choice. The following day, down to $53, then to $37. I stopped because life was so busy I didn’t even have that five minutes in the morning.

Then on Labor Day, I made my usual $18 wager. The next day, I went from $37 to $56. I must have picked a long shot to win. And I have no idea which one because I just wasn’t paying attention. And I haven’t played since.

Casino Royale

I particularly hate casinos. It had to be 1996 when the family was in the San Diego area for the niece’s graduation. We drove for nearly an hour to go to a casino. My father loved it. I was totally bored.

On the way back from a work trip to Syracuse, my boss’s boss wanted to stop at a casino. I hear he lost $150. I lost $10, played on the “free” machine” for a time, then read a magazine.

In 1999 or 2000, there was a work conference in Niagara Falls, NY. We were encouraged to cross the border into Ontario and go to a casino there because they hadn’t yet been built on this side of the border. Some sponsors even provided us $10 to wager. I started on the slots and was actually winning. This made me actually queasy; my addictive persona could start to like this. So I switched machines and promptly spent my allotment.

I have a lot of vices. Wagering just isn’t one of them.

Thank you very much for music

Sly is especially thankful

Thanksgiving is coming. To the degree that I have maintained sanity this year, it’s been from listening to recorded music. A lot.

One of my friends envies how invested I am in music. It’s not as though I made a choice. It has always been omnipresent. I still remember chunks of my father’s singles collection. I sang in school, in church, with my father and sister. I’m appreciative of that, but there’s never been a point when it wasn’t a big part of my life.

Thank you very much for music.

Some songs about thanks

Sam and Dave – I Thank You  (“I want everybody to get up off your seat And get your arms together, and your hands together And give me some of that o-o-old soul clapping.”)

Led Zeppelin – Thank You   “If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.”

Sly and the Family Stone – Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) –  I was a sucker for songs by artists who refer to their other songs. See Creeque Alley by the Mamas and the Papas, Glass Onion by the Beatles. This includes Dance to the Music, Everyday People, Sing a Simple Song, and You Can Make It If You Try. Thank You For Talking To Me Africa  A stoned version of the above.

Boyz II Men – Thank You. The first song on their second album, and my favorite

Andrew Gold – Thank You For Being A Friend. The late son of the late, great Marni Nixon. This is the theme of the TV show Golden Girls 

The Beatles – Thank You, Girl. The perennial B-side, of the single From Me to You in the UK, of the single Do You Want to Know a Secret in the US

Alanis Morissette – Thank U  

John Denver – Thank god I’m a country boy 

Neil Diamond – Thank the Lord for the Nighttime.  My absolute favorite Diamond song.

Give Biden access to the damn briefings

No justification for withholding the PDB

Presidential Daily Briefing
Presidential Daily Briefing

This came up in a conversation with my sisters. One of them has Trumpian friends. They are making the argument that the current regime ought not to give Joe Biden access to the Presidential Daily Briefing. Their argument is “What if they got the election wrong?” This is hurting my head.

ITEM: Presidential candidates begin to receive intelligence briefings in the immediate aftermath of the political conventions. “So when an individual becomes their party’s nominee, the briefing is offered to them… It’s an analytic briefing, so there are no… operations discussed, no covert actions discussed, no sources and methods discussed. It’s simply what do we see as the threats…why do we see it that way…how those threats evolved and where might they be heading.”

ITEM: “Such briefings had been standard practice since the candidacies of Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson… This understandable dilemma… had occurred in a great many transitions, with the outgoing administration not sure which candidate would accede to the office and thus very protective of sensitive and classified information. But… its intelligence officers [were] on the hook to provide the best and most useful available information to candidates who might soon be in the White House.”

ITEM: You’ll remember “the close 2000 election when the outcome was in doubt for more than a month after the voting. In spite of that, President Bill Clinton’s outgoing administration began intelligence briefings for George W. Bush before he was officially declared the winner.”

The Incredible Sulk  

ITEM: This regime is not allowing Biden “to receive intelligence briefings —  even those he was getting during the campaign.” In other words, IMPOTUS is even denying Biden access to the level of info that Obama gave to him before the 2016 election. This just shows pique, not any national security concerns that Biden, who used to get such information as Veep and even as the prez candidate, ought not to get them now.

Even a week ago, even Republican senators “are calling for Biden to have access to the information.”

“‘I just don’t know of any justification for withholding the briefing,’ Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, said. ‘I see no problem with that,’ said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican Party’s longest-serving senator. ‘I think so, yes,’ said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s closest confidants, when asked if Biden should be briefed.”

Instead, on Tuesday, he fired the director of the federal agency that vouched for the reliability of the 2020 election. In a tweet, naturally. He said that Christopher Krebs’ “recent statement defending the security of the election was ‘highly inaccurate.’ The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee and director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, comes as Trump is… removing high-level officials seen as insufficiently loyal.”

The Biden team is locked out of key vaccine information as COVID rages. “More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” the President-elect said this week. “How do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What’s the game plan? It’s a huge, huge, huge undertaking.”

Ascertainment

Per the Presidential Transition Act of 1963,  the chief duty of Emily Murphy at this moment “is to affirm the projected result of the presidential contest.” This is something “previous GSA administrators have generally done within a matter of hours of the election being called.” This action allows the incoming administration’s personnel to get busy setting up a new government.

Ascertainment is necessary for the seamless transition of power. Meanwhile, she’s looking for another job, suggesting she knows how this will play out.

The losing candidate’s false claims of “a stolen election are unoriginal, and evoke a dangerous historical precedent.” John Oliver has much useful to say about the election results. Also, check out the Weekly Sift.  Or even Randy Rainbow.

Not incidentally, the regime has “replaced the top tier of  Pentagon officials with men who have two things in common: fervent loyalty to Trump and a complete lack of qualification for their jobs.”

Oh, yeah, they’ve rushed to auction off Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling rights before the Biden inauguration. January 20, 2021, can’t come quickly enough.