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Dear Mr. Trump,

I just got off the telephone with a Latina friend. Her high school aged daughter has struggled with depression problems that have largely been under control recently. Today she had a very serious breakdown. I asked my friend what happened.

My friend is Mexican but is married to a Caucasian. She lives in a small town who’s population is primarily middle-class whites. Her daughter has never before experienced racism. This is because, as I found out today her friends have “always considered her white”. 

Two days ago you were elected President. Yesterday, on a school field trip, for the first time, her long-time friends began teasing her about being “a Mexican”. Last night, after the field trip, this lovely young lady was overwhelmed by racist text messages. She awoke this morning in dispair having lost all of the positive changes to her emotional condition.

Mr. Trump, you say you are not a racist; you say you want to bring all Americans together; you say that white supremacist support is not indicative of your values. I desperately want to believe that but, less than 2 days after your election I have a friend whose family is experiencing racism that they had never before seen.

Prove to me this isn’t what you want. Speak out to your supporters and tell them to teach their children not to hurt others. If you can’t do at least that then I see no path to decency.

vote

I have friends and family who strongly disagree with my contention that Donald Trump has many of the behaviors of a certain German leader in the years before WWII, a fascist leaning reminiscent of Mussolini, and a following that is taken nearly verbatim from Elias Canetti’s book “Crowds and Power”. Many of you are not reminded of 1933. Many of you don’t know the history of Europe to which I refer. Some of you don’t care. That is your right.

No matter what you think of my personal position, I hope you will take one last look at the possibility that I’m right and ask yourself if you see a risk to a Trump presidency. I hope I’ve been compelling enough to at least make you think a little.

If I’ve convinced you of nothing then please know that I still love you all and I respect your opinions and unconditionally respect your right to have them.While I want you to believe what I believe I know that many of you don’t. Still, I must tell you this:

The only way to create the country you want to see, the only way to create change, is to use the right that so many of our fore(mothers) have fought for for 2 centuries. Regardless of whether or not you are on my side of this terrifying election…..

Get out and vote!

 

The Pays de Caux is an area encompassing much of the Seine Maritime in Haute-Normandie in Northern France. It is a part of France that I have not visited but, if this desert is an indication of its beauty then, it must be amazing. The Tarte Cauchoise is one of the traditional tartes of this region, thus its name.

I’ve looked for a good recipe for a long time. Finally I have one courtesy of the family who owns and runs the Saint Honore Boulangerie in Portland. Because I’m a total amateur mine looks nowhere near as gorgeous and the one I was taught to make. Further, since the recipe comes from the family bakery in Normandy and I don’t know if I have permission to share it I won’t give you the exact proportions. But I will tell you the basics and show you the photos of my first, delicious if imperfect, attempt.

Basically, a Tarte Cauchoise is an apple tart that uses a puff pastry shell and an almond meal and creme fraiche based custard. The other ingredients are .eggs, sugar, corn starch, milk, and a bit of Grand Marnier. It’s traditionally made with golden delicious apples but, as you will see from my photos, I used several varieties of apple that I picked at my friends farm in Oregon.

So… here we go!

Start by taking a 10″ tarte pan and lining it with puff pastry dough and then parchment paper. Fill it with pie weights and bake it at 375f for about 15 minutes. If you are an actual competent baker (like my wife) yours will look a hell of a lot better than mine. None the less, here’s what I came out with. (Hey! You come make in for me next time!).

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For a single tarte you will need 3 large apples. I selected mine from this wonderful assortment.

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Whisk 2 large eggs in a large mixing bowl.

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Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar.(I like mine a bit less sweet but that is also less authentic)

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Add 1/4 cup of corn starch.

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Add about 1 1/2 cups of almond meal.

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Mix it all up.

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Now add 3/8 cup of creme fraiche. (I make my own from whipping cream, a couple tablespoons of buttermilk, and about 12 hours of sitting out on the kitchen counter)

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And 1 1/4 to 1 3/8 cups of whole milk.

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Mix it again so that you have a nice almond custard.

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Leave the custard alone while you peel and core your apples.

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Cut each apple into 8 slices.

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Remember the pre-baked tart shell? If the dog has not eaten it by now go grab it and fill it with the apple slices.

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Add your custard.

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Bake at 330f for 40 minutes and…

VOILA! You have an amazing desert from the glorious culinary history of Normandy!

Processed with Snapseed.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I neglected to mention the Grand Marnier. That’s because I did not have any when I was taking my photos. (No the dog didn’t get it). You can add it to taste while adding the milk and that is what makes it authentic. I considered adding some Grappa but feared by oven would explode. 🙂 I considered some Cognac but did not want to start a civil war 🙂 I considered buying some Grand Marnier but I don’t think it comes in 1/8 cup bottles 🙂 I decided to just leave that up to you!

Bon Appetit!

Hi everyone,

I typically don’t use this forum to ask you for things but this is an exception. Many of you have seen this on Facebook and Twitter but for those of you who just follow my blog directly I’m reaching out to you too.

A little over a year ago a friend of mine took his own life. He was an amazing man. No one would have suspected that he had depression problems. I’m often reminded of this and of just how little we can sometimes know about the inner struggles of others.

I’ve been on mild anxiety meds myself for a number of years. I can’t imagine taking ones own life but I certainly know what it’s like to be an amazing guy (haha) who struggles emotionally. So, I always wonder what craziness is actually possible and what I can do to prevent it.

So, in memory of my friend John, tomorrow Patt and I are participating in the Portland “Out of the Darkness Walk” to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you are inclined to help me to blow my fundraising goal out of the water please visit the following link.

My Out of the Darkness Fundraising Page

I’d sure appreciate a few more contributions before tomorrow.

Love y’all!

Steve

Okay y’all, I said on Facebook that I’d write a post like this and here it is.

A few days ago my very good friend Cindy met me and Patt for coffee. She brought with her, her grandson Cooper. I totally dig the kid, his mom, and yes grandma. I posted on Facebook that I wish I had kids and grandkids. Among my main points was how blessed I am that my friends and family allow me to be part of their families. A few people got that. Some did not.

Let’s start with the folks who feel sorry for poor, melancholy, Steve. I need to clarify something: You don’t make me feel any better by telling me I can adopt kids or be a foster parent.

I’m fucking 56 years old. There is a very important woman in my life (in fact the most important thing in my life) with whom I’d like to spend time before one of us keels over. I can barely stop myself from continually working now. I doubt that putting kids through college at 70 or 80 is a good retirement strategy. One can not change past bad decisions by making present bad decisions. Thanks for the thoughts, though. I know that they come from your heart.

Second, please don’t go overboard in trying to psychologically deconstruct me. I may need a therapist to do that but I’ll forgo the amateur (though clearly, lovingly, well-intentioned) deconstruction. I received an email from someone telling me this:

I waited so long for my children that I was in despair, despair of much the same kind as yours is.

I am NOT in despair. To me the word “despair” is huge. It means something like “I don’t have kids, how horrible! I’ll kill myself if I don’t have kids”. Dudes! That is NOT me!

I have no sense of despair. Sometimes I have a little melancholy but that’s not a bad thing. It certainly is not despair. There are lots of things I wish I had; mostly money related. But I despair over none of it. As long as I have Patt, there will be no proper use of the word “despair” in my life. So, get over that one. I promise to let you know if I’m ever in despair.

Now, though I love them all very deeply, you know what I think about people who feel sorry for me. The more important thing, though, is how I feel about ME.

Stay tuned.

 

I will not use this post to debate the veracity or legality of Israeli settlements. I also won’t debate the human rights issues here.

I am not a supporter of the settlement strategy but I admit that I don’t live live there and don’t understand what it is like to do so. When it comes to my unwavering support for Israel and my inalterable support for its legitimacy as a sovereign nation and a Jewish state, I’ll side with Israel versus any enemy.

That said, please don’t comment on this post in the hope of starting a debate. I won’t do that now.
Here is what I feel compelled to say:

There is NEVER a rational, ethical justification for stabbing a sleeping 13 year old child in her bed. Palestinian, Israeli, American, what-the-fuck-ever, no one is justified in doing that. The horrific murder of an Israeli-American child is unjustifiable and immoral. It saddens me deeply.

There is now a debate about just how much Bibi will overreact. Some say that Israel has no legal justification to “punish the family” of the murderer for “a crime they had nothing to do with”.

I disagree.

An 18 year old murderer is likely the product of his family and community. Raise a murderer and you should be held accountable. I’m not saying to punish one person for another’s crime. But, I am saying that Israel would be justified in taking security actions that lessen the likelihood of this happening again.

If that affects the community that bred the murderer, well, that’s not as bad as having someone thrust a knife into you 18 times, or having to look at your child in the aftermath.

Another sad day in the nonexistanr peace process. Another sad day for Israel. Another sad day for Palestinians. Another sad day for humanity.

From Remembering Marvin Minsky: Marvin loved music and it was a central part of his life. He grew up as a piano prodigy, but especially as a “thinker” about music. He understood music’s great pull …

Source: Tod Machover on remembering Marvin Minsky