This recipe is quite easy to throw together.

You’re hardly doing more than just opening up

cans of things and dumping them into a pot.

It contains a couple weirdo ingredients

I myself would never have entertained using:

“Taco Seasoning” & powdered Ranch dressing.

(Who the hell buys crap like that?)

But it turns out with a really distinctive flavor:

Bold and a bit “tangy.”

The beer is a nice flourish but not strictly necessary.

Several chile peppers, chopped

Several stalks \ celery, chopped

1 lb. \ hamburger

1 packet \ Taco Seasoning

1 packet \ powdered Ranch salad dressing

1 large (26-oz.) can \ condensed Tomato Soup

1 14.5-oz. can \ diced tomatoes

2 cups \ chicken broth

1 can \ whole-kernel corn

2 cans of beans

(black, Great Northern, kidney, pinto, red, etc.)

1 12-oz. can \ beer

Briefly sautee chile peppers & celery.

Add hamburger and brown.

During browning process, add contents of 2 packets.

Add all the various cans of things.

Bring to boil.  Let simmer briefly.

Yemen’s Salta

Salta is a dish that does not, to my knowledge, exist anywhere beyond Yemen.  (Though I’ve heard you can get it in Dearborn, Michigan, a town with a high concentration of Yemeni people.)

Salta is nothing but a fairly simple stew, containing vegetables and bits of meat.  It’s traditionally eaten, not with utensils, but by scooping it out with bits of bread.  It’s a specialty of San’a, the capital … but is available in other parts of the country.  Furthermore – and I have absolutely no idea why this is the case – it’s a traditional lunchtime food.  Salta joints seem only to be open around midday, at which time they are packed with hungry working men.

There are two factors that make salta distinctive.  The stew has a highly unique topping of blended vegetables and fenugreek.  And it is served at extremely high temperature in a stone bowl.

I recently prepared salta for myself.  I knew in advance it would be impossible to replicate the original – but it was close enough.  It was quite good.  Here’s what is looked like.

Books of short stories by Tatsumi

Looks like they’re putting out material by Tatsumi on a chronological plan.  Each book below represents material from a stretch of 1 or 2 yrs.

I like the design for this series.  These are really pleasing hardcover books.  You might be able to check them out from a local library – but they’re worth buying outright ($19.95 each) if you believe you’ll be returning to them repeatedly.

These came out, respectively, in 2005, 2006, & 2008.  The last couple yrs, D&Q has put out other Tatsumi stuff – but not in the specific format \ design used for these three volumes.

Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Tatsumi wasn’t well known in North America until his work started appearing in English translation several years ago.  But he’s apparently been known to Japanese audiences for decades.  The Canadian company Drawn & Quarterly has come out with five different Tatsumi volumes since 2005.  D&Q appear to be issuing new Tatsumi volumes on approximately an annual basis.  The thickest of these books is the 834-page A Drifting Life.

A Drifting Life chronicles Tatsumi’s early development from a manga-crazed schoolboy to an established artist in his mid-20s (a period of about 15 years).  It’s divided into 48 chapters of about 16 pages each.  I prefer to think of this book not as a unified graphic novel but rather as a 48-issue comic series joined into a single binding.  Each chapter opens with a striking splash page.  (One of these was used for the book’s cover.  See above.)  Here’s a sample of some typical panels, so you can see what his drawing style is like:

For comics aficionados, definitely a work to be read, enjoyed, studied, and returned to.  For anyone interested, here are the titles of the 48 chapters:

THE BIRTH OF MANGA

MANGA OBSESSION

THE JOURNALIST FROM MAINICHI SHIMBUN

ENTER TEZUKA

SIBLING RIVALRY

TEZUKA VANISHES

BELOVED MANGA

TORN APART

SUMMERTIME DREAMS

THE CON ARTIST

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

DEBUT

THE SUN SETS ON HIGH SCHOOL DAYS

DESERT TRAVELER

A DREAM FULFILLED

COLD CALLING

HINOMARU BUNKO, RENTAL MANGA PUBLISHER

NOM DE PLUME

AN INFINITELY FREE WORLD

THE MANGA MONSTER

SEARCHING FOR A NEW METHOD

SHADOW

EXPERIMENTAL WORK

LIFE DRAWING

MASAMI KURODA’S PAST

SUMMER TRAINING CAMP

IN THE BALANCE

ESCAPE FROM CAMP

PASSION AND SEDUCTION

A TIME FOR GOOD-BYE

THE JOY OF CREATION

THE FALL OF HINOMARU BUNKO

MANAGING EDITOR

THE SHORT STORY BOOM

DRUNK WITH POWER

TO TOKYO, AND “GEKIGA”

KOTOBUKISO DAYS

THE BOOM CONTINUES

RENTAL MANGA WARS

DRAWING FROM TURMOIL

REACHING TOWARDS GEKIGA

THE BIRTH OF THE GEKIGA WORKSHOP

PROS AND CONS

THE VAMPIRE KILLER BECOMES A VAMPIRE

PASSION FOR GEKIGA DWINDLES

JEALOUSY AND FRUSTRATION

THE QUICK DISSOLUTION OF THE GEKIGA WORKSHOP

FUELED BY ANGER

[EPILOGUE]

A “Textbook Case” of Thought Control

There’s a pro-torture statement in the following college-level English textbook:  Evergreen:  A Guide to Writing with Readings, 8th edition, by Susan Fawcett, Houghton Mifflin, 2006, pp. 576-578.  The statement is entitled “The Case for Torture” and is credited to a Michael Levin (described in Wikipedia as “a libertarian philosophy professor at City University of New York.”)

“The Case for Torture” appears with some other essays on different topics.

Consider the following position:  “White Americans are inherently more intelligent than African-Americans.”  Does this position deserve a fair hearing in the pages of textbooks?  If textbook publishers fail to include this position, are they exercising “censorship”?

“Well, people who advocate racialist ideology are outside the cultural mainstream, whereas the torture debate is occurring within the cultural mainstream.  Therefore it is valid to present some part of that debate in a textbook.”

How do you determine whether a position lies within “the cultural mainstream”?  Is it a question of numbers?  Would that position then become acceptable?

“Well, a lot of people really do believe in torture.”

Do they believe in it, or do they just accept it?  The authority structure generated this issue through a campaign of mass indoctrination.  It is folly to assume that, just because a media pundit expresses a given position, that position is automatically non-insane.

“Well, I don’t support torture, but we have to at least consider what the pro-torture advocates are saying.”

However, we don’t:  We don’t have to consider or grant the slightest validity to what they are saying.  That we should do so is precisely the objective of the indoctrination effort.

The phrase “an insidious act of propaganda” is apt.  Inserting the piece sends a message that it has something plausible to say.  It doesn’t.

Comments on youtube by Howard Zinn

You guys might be interested in this.

Miscellaneous Reflections on US Politics …

or:  “A Comprehensive Manifesto on American Political Life”

 

It’s true that Democrats and Republicans are little more than two feuding factions of the same corporatist political establishment.  But there could be actual differences between them, inasmuch as they aspire to inflict slightly different kinds of grievous damage on society.  Both parties claim to champion “ordinary man” and accuse the other of elitism (a bit truer, obviously, in one case than in the other).  The constant, endless sniping back and forth between Democrats and Republicans (or “liberals” and “conservatives,” as they are called by those with a taste for trendy euphemistic language), while it most assuredly is not about the things we are told it is about (e.g. a conflict between elitism and populism), must ultimately be about … something or other (?).

 

To some degree, the two parties are certainly “in cahoots” with one another — as both parties adore the image of being locked in bitter struggle with the other.  (A kind of yin-yang symbiosis, as it were.)  The dumb struggle furnishes robust spectacle to the public; and encourages “ordinary man” (l’homme ordinaire, so to speak) to choose a side and then squander his energy and time gushing vitriol upon the opposing side … denouncing them as “agents Goldsteiniens” or dumbasses etc.  In short, the “conservative”/“liberal” duality is merely a distraction, a device to get the public involved in “straw issues” and all manner of vacuous controversy … and so prevent the really crucial issues from ever coming up.  It generates the illusion of vibrant, contentious, democratic debate; whereas in reality the discourse could hardly be more boxed-in by the forces of indoctrination and mind control.  But I do think there is something at stake.

 

change

As simplistic as it may sound, I think the core difference is, the Democrats want the corporatist agenda to triumph, along with some concessions to the tolerable functioning and survival of “ordinary man”; whilst the Republicans are prepared, quite simply, to steamroll the country into a fun playground of the hyper-rich, imposed atop a barren landscape of bad education, low-wage unskilled jobs, decent health care facilities that no one can fucking pay for, and flashy new Ford models – fresh off the Chinese assembly line and accruing much “gelt” in the coffers of high-level auto company executives.  The Republicans’ only concern with “ordinary man” is that he remain thoroughly enough indoctrinated, so that he will never rise up in any substantive way and thereby inconvenience the Republicans’ stranglehold and their grand plan to rape America.

 

During my long, protracted, and horrendously-hellish engagements with political AM radio, I have developed at least one trusty, unfailing guiding principle:  To wit:  Whatever is being asserted about so-called “liberals” or “liberalism,” is in actuality the rightwing describing itself, i.e. projecting their own uncomfortable semi-conscious self-realizations onto “the other,” “the villains.”  And when you think about some of their more hysterical declamations regarding “the left,” and translate them into a confession of their own real intent … one shivers in the chill, dank, autumnal breeze.

 

To give just one brief, simple, accessible example of this phenomenon:  These “commentators” could hardly be presenting a more succinct capsule-description of the type of really egregious scenario they themselves are so hellbent to bring to fruition, when they claim that Obama [a] represents something *radically different* from anything we’ve ever known before, and [b] also represents something *terribly destructive* to the foundations of the republic.  A fine summary of GW Bush … and, in all probability, of the next Republican president we get foisted with.

 

In the gigantic, neverending, and fabulously-tiresome propaganda war between the two corporatist factions, the Democrats seem to have an extraordinary knack for failing to ever say much of anything that cannot be instantaneously chopped to shreds by rightwing pundits.  By contrast, rightwing propaganda, by virtue of its moronic simplicity (its tendency to repeat, over and over, three or four extremely jejune, threadbare notions), has this amazing ability to “stick” in the popular mind.

 

The Democrats’ problem is their particular brand of propagandization is just too closely intermeshed with an actual constraining reality of some legitimate complexity – as opposed to the far-more-accessible simpleminded fantasyland of the Republicans.  This restricts the Democrats (most inconveniently!) from disseminating their message in the full gamut of mad, phantasmagoric textures-&-tones available to Republicans.  Stated differently, the Democrats’ narratives are “boring;” they talk too much about “real stuff,” e.g. the gnarled complexities of health care overhaul.  They err in tending toward the reflective and the reality-based.  (And insofar as Democratic politicians sometimes give great speeches and promise the possibility of great things to come, they are apparently far too complicit with the corporatist agenda to actually ever deliver any of it.)

 

To the contrary, you are more appealing, and garner more support, if you are bombastic and in loo-loo land, e.g. haranguing vociferously about death panels, the radical socialization of society, Jeffersonian democracy in the Middle East, the vile traitors amidst us who lack sufficient spine to carry out “the mission” etc.  Stated yet differently, when it comes to persuading hearts and minds, the “sound byte culture” massively favors some doofus’s verbal farting over a considered explanation that takes longer than five seconds.

 

That is why our society will just keep getting stupider, as more and more people slowly fall away from any point of contact with identifiable reality and jump on-board the bandwagon of collective masturbatory fantasties about “Naughty Li’l Goldstein” … until one day the whole country will finally crawl up its own asshole and wink out of existence.  Obviously the fact that I would write this means I hate America.  (PS The prior sentence was sarcastic, in case that might be unclear to somebody.)

Let your mind be blown !!

Enjoy these “mind-blowing” images:  frozen water, configured into a baton of incalculable power ..DSCN1681DSCN1682

USA: CRAZYWORLD! — Episode 3

This time, we’re exploring the personal costs tied to intensive AM listening. A harrowed waif stands poised at the precipice of madness, but receives the consoling tones of a caring “life coach” or similar figure. A lesson in hard realities. Questions to ponder:  Does the young waif actually in fact swear off AM listening? Is that his own hand switching on the radio? And if so, when does this take place? The same day, as he savors a “last hurrah” of sorts? The very next day, as his resolve crumbles like dry tinder against the lush prospect of a tortuous Rush Limbaugh tirade against “cap-and-trade”?ep3pg1ep3pg2

USA: CRAZYWORLD! — Episode 2

aI guess you have to make at least two of something before it can be technically called a “series.” I’m not entirely comfortable with the flippant, satirical usage of Jesus Christ here … but as one can plainly see, the humor is never at Jesus’ expense. (How have they been able to make the “Blondie” strip all these years without even once bringing in Christ to help set up a joke?)

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