Thursday, November 15, 2007


From the Archives

(January 2006) The latter part of my title (“When in doubt, add more cheese”) is the final line of a New York Times food article written by a child of the seventies who grew up eating falafel and stir-fry and only recently discovered the pleasures of well-prepared macaroni and cheese.

This foodie would appreciate the graffiti scrawled on the bathroom door of a major live music venue here: Random Cheese Fact No. 4: Cheese is the best ingredient in any dish in which it is a part.

I don’t have any clue why someone would pay good money to see Sun Ra or the Connells or Two Dollar Pistols, then head to the bathroom to scrawl cheese facts on the door, but there you have it.

(And ueah I’ve been ranting about our government so much lately that I figured I’d talk about food today before I slip into a familiar rant.)

So, yeah. In the deep south where I was raised (twitch twitch), macaroni and cheese is a staple. A field guide to the region would define its natural habitat as Baptist meals on the grounds, funeral wakes, Sunday afternoon family gatherings, your Grandmother’s Thanksgiving table, hot food bars, and little plastic children’s bowls everywhere.

My paternal grandmother always arrived at our house for Thanksgiving carrying a glass baking dish of the creamy stuff fitted into a matching wicker basket (and, incidentally, made THE BEST macaroni and cheese in the world).

The gourmands who insist that Whole Food’s free-range chickens taste divine tend to incorporate a horrid white sauce, but even this newly macaronied author recognizes that this sauce is wrong for the dish.

(And, come to think of it, my ex Mud once took this mistake a step further and added onions to her bechemel sauce.)

Any southerner worth her weight in grits would tell you that you should not get too adventurous with time-honored culinary traditions that are all about nostalgia and comfort though (although parmesan-topped collard greens ain’t half bad).

Meanwhile, the White House now has three leak investigations underway.

(No, not corruption investigations, leak investigations.)

The most secretive administration since Nixon—one that condones torture and suspects Mexicans crossing the border of terrorist acts—isn’t concerned with it’s corruption; they just wantsto know who dared challenge the dictator’s wishes.

(Wonder if the neocons handpicked their investigators to ensure that they only ask questions that monkeyboys can answer?)

So here, let me coin a phrase. Our administration is plaming the messenger. (You heard it here first.)

There's no so-called liberal bias behind my failure to understand how a thinking citizen can fail to notice that punishing whistleblowers thwarts democracy. Plamegate (or Nixon, Revisited) may catch up with the Administration eventually, but I bet attention will remain focused on who informed the public about the (illegal) eavesdropping.

(Speaking of which, wonder what Bunnatine Greenhouse is up to these days?)

I worry that Americans have been rendered so logic-impaired by the Tim Russerts and Rush Limbaughs and Pat Robertsons and yammering hate-radio soundbiters of our age that they’l kowtow to whatever the administration tells them to believe.

Or maybe we’re just decorative citizens now who spend our time focused on consumer questions such as what to wear and where to live and what ringtone to use on our flip-top mobile phonesas our civil rights vanish?

And why not? I mean, come on. Consumer culture tells us that we are defined by our material possessions and our very-own FEMA director wrote, in the midst of a hurricane that was drowning thousands of people, “I am a fashion god.”

Or, worst of all, do you think people actually believe that it’s fine for our unapologetic president to confer dictatorial authority on himself and to stalk anyone who dares question his authority?

(Yep. What a strategy: Plame the messenger and maybe no one will notice that a military coup is taking place in their homeland.)

Meanwhile, I guess we’ll have to get ourselves geared up for the Alito hearings, which begin on Monday.

(That information alone has no doubt sent many a tofu-eating liberal in search of some good old mac and cheese.)

But we can at least remind ourselves that the GOP is mired in corruption and plaming the messenger will only cover that fact up for so long.

Alito is the scariest nominee since Bork. A loyal friend to big business who opposes to the Establishment Clause (which prohibits public prayer/religious displays) and is “especially proud” of his work opposing abortion and affirmative action.

He protects homophobic speech. And, at a time when corporations rape the environment even as our polar ice caps are melting, the judge favors limiting our ability to sue against toxic omissions under the Clean Air Act (which he probably also opposes).

Alito favors capital punishment for children and opposed admitting women to his alma mater. And he was deputy assistant attorney general to Ed Meese.

(Remember those “Meese Is A Pig” protests? I've still got my pig nose from them .)

He disagrees with the Miranda decision and struck down an anti-harassment policy that interfered with Christian groups’ right to speak out against queers (because, you know, it's just a life-style choice really. People can choose to whom we are attracted.).

Alito also has a history of being sole dissenter in cases involving sex or race discrimination.

(Thank you Daniel Pollitt for sharing this information with the world.)

...but enough about Alito because maybe you’d prefer to know which men are the nation’s most eligible bachelors.

That’s what Yahoo! is headlining today.

I feel trapped in a rock-paper-scissors world where convenience and stress and obligations and static from the talking heads are trumping my civil rights. And I don’t like it one bit.

SANG IN SHOWER: “Rock the boat, don’t rock the boat baby. Rock the boat. Don’t tip the boat over.” Who sang that? I want to say Hues Corporation but am too lazy to Google it.

READING: The Nation

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