Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time Stop

Today is Monday and it is 10:12 at night.  I usually start writing my blog posts late at night and then actually publish them just past midnight ... which is what I planned on doing yesterday, having caught up by posting Sunday's long and winding road through Savannah.  I almost immediately started another post to publish in the wee hours of Monday morning.  I had a topic in mind, something that had been bugging me for a while, and I actually got the opening lines posted.  And then time stopped.

Time for a rant of hellacious proportions.  Why do some chefs feel that the way to a customer's heart is through their heartburn?

Here is what happened.  I had been watching "Iron Chef America", and had no clue what else was going on in the world.  It wasn't until I shut off the television and went back to the computer to check Facebook when I realized everyone was posting about the same thing.  So I turned on CNN to commune with Wolf Blitzer, and I waited patiently for the President to address the nation.  He was an hour late.  Shades of Bill Clinton and my favorite judge.

But before that ... Osama bin Laden is dead.  It is official, the President has announced it.  And for once, I am speechless.  All I can think of is "and may he rot in hell for all eternity."  Somehow, right now, I can't think beyond that.

Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda terror boss who plotted and funded the 9/11 attacks, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/05/02/2011-05-02_bin_laden_buried_at_sea.html" target="_blank">was killed</a> in a 40-minute gun battle with U.S. troops, President Obama announced.

Sources say Bin Laden was shot in the side of the head after he and his guards resisted an assault Sunday by a U.S. special operations team that raided his compound in Pakistan.
One of Bin Laden's sons, Hamza, two other men and a woman used as a human shield also were killed in the pre-dawn raid pulled off by Navy SEALS and CIA operatives, officials said.
<br><Br>Above, the Daily News released its front cover of the historic day.<br><Br>BY JOANNA SLOAME
The New York Daily News steals my thoughts and makes a headline out of them

And that was as far as I was able to get, and that is why there was no post on Monday.  All day today, in between court hearings and the drafting of a particularly gnarly petition, my mind was a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.

Why does Taft-Vineland Road not end in Vineland?  What was the county thinking when they finally finished the road after 20 years, but only went as far as Williamsburg?  Why do all roads lead to Vineland?  What is so important about Vineland?  And where is Vineland, anyway?

I want to make a peach bread.  I've been thinking about this since Evelyn mentioned peach bread last Thursday, although peaches are barely in season and conspicuously unavailable, even in Georgia.  I have ideas on how I would make a peach bread. Wait, how about macaroni and cheese?  Seafood macaroni and cheese?  And chicken, I have to cook some chicken.  I haven't cooked anything in four days and I'm going mad, I tell you.

Osama bin Laden is dead.  Osama bin Laden is dead.  Too little, too late.

Why do so many chefs seriously overseason their food?  I'm not talking salt and pepper, I'm talking chili peppers and similar weapons of mass destruction that make a dish totally unpalatable.  Come on, I'm not some testosterone-laden chili head seeking an endorphin rush, and I'm not Adam Richman or Aaron Sanchez trying to prove I can scarf down chicken wings whose sauce measures in the millions of Scovill units, because it is good for ratings.  I am a middle-aged lady who likes flavorful food, does not need an endorphin rush and would prefer to keep the roof of my mouth and my tastebuds intact.

Osama is dead.  And so long after the fact, that will not bring back Mike Opperman or the three thousand others who died with him that terrible day.  We should have carpet-bombed Afghanistan on September 12th.  We should have never trusted Pakistan.  We should have never engaged in the war in Iraq while Osama still breathed.  We wasted time, we wasted resources, we wasted human lives, and we lost focus.

It was such a lovely day, I had my lunch under a tree.  Sunny and breezy, a perfect combination.  I had a strange craving for Papa John's pizza, but that wasn't possible so I had the next best thing:

Combos Pepperoni Pizza Cracker 7 Oz

Finally, finally, Amazon has started making Ellery Queen novels available on Kindle.  I need a break from forensic mysteries.  No more blood and guts and graphic descriptions of torture and autopsies, at least for a little while.  Ah, Kindle, take me back to the halcyon days of the thirties, when Ellery Queen was king of the mystery writers.  And while you're at it, and don't think I'm ungrateful that you are finally publishing Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series, but could you make the older novels available, the prewar stuff before Wolfe got a television?

Osama is dead.  Or is he?  At this point, I don't think I care.  If I am wrong, and if this brings closure to the families who lost their loved ones that day, then I am glad for them.  They deserve whatever peace of mind they can get.  If only this had happened 10 years ago.  Because everything bad that has happened to this country, to our economy, to our morale, to our self-esteem, happened that terrible day, and I'm not sure that killing him now and sending him to a watery grave is enough to fix it, or at least set us on the road to recovery.

Since when does Greek food have an abundance of spice?  What was Cat Cora thinking when she poured so much heat into, of all things, a lamb meatball that I could not eat beyond the first bite?  Spicy hot Greek food?  I've eaten in Greece, and that's not the way they do it there.  Even fast food restaurants have gone nuts flinging ultra hot sauces on their chicken.  Look, I expect Korean food to be incendiary, perhaps needlessly so, but that tradition is a thousand years in the making.  I know what to eat and what to avoid (although I still think they could make a milder kimchee if they wanted to) and I also know that if I am eating Jewish cooking, or most Italian, or Southern or French, I am not going to be blown out of the water.  And that list should include Greek cooking. So I haven't gone back since I cried over the meatballs. 

Real Greek food rocks, and that is why we are smiling - Athens, 2005

As I said to one of my colleagues this morning, I don't want to sound cynical, but I can't help but think the timing of this was right in line with the beginning of the President's reelection campaign.  Turns out he was just as cynical.

I don't mean to be incoherent, or sound like Gracie Allen on speed.  But that's the kind of day it has been, although I must say it had a spectacular ending (but that's another blog post.)  I am gearing up to cook again, because I now have the ingredients to attempt the peach bread, and I have plans involving a male eggplant, some Perdue chicken breasts, pepper jack cheese and claw crabmeat.  It should be interesting.

Perhaps I should not over-analyze or fall into the trap of suspicion, cynicism, and ennui.  President Obama spoke well, and said the right words at the right time (okay, he was an hour late).  And as always, President Clinton summed it up the best:

Statement by President Bill Clinton on Monday, May 2, 2011 at 9:40pm
"This is a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaida’s other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and cooperation for our children.

I congratulate the President, the National Security team, and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al-Qaida attacks."

But maybe it was really my son who said it best:  "So a score was settled - against one man. I'd take comfort in that if only it weren't for the fact that there is still an army of thousands over there, waiting."


  1. I think the truth of the matter is that actually everything began going downhill when the 2000 election result was stolen. Then came 9/11 (with Bush asleep so to speak), pandering to the rich with the deficits, the foolish expensive wars and entanglements. Then we could move on to firing actuaries for describing the true costs of the Part D Drug coverages and legislating to disallow bargaining for lower drug prices with the drug companies. The ship of state is still undergoing a mutiny with all these insane non-sensical teabaggers running around.

  2. Well, I think he had some help from those Navy SEALS ...