January 2013

Herring Season

The herring run has recovered sufficiently that a moderate harvest is being permitted this year, so i bought a moderate three pounds yesterday.

Fresh Herring


Brought them home and filleted them, gently lifting out the roe and milt sacs which i lightly floured and sauteed in butter for a lunch. Then put the fillets in brine overnight in the refrigerator. This noon i packed the fillets in jars with red onion and lemon slices and poured a pickling solution over them, following this Swedish recipe. Here they are.

Pickled Herring


Gonna wait a couple of days to try ’em, but the good news is that i’m over the first hurdle. Since i didn’t wake up dead yesterday morning from eating all those innards on Saturday, at least i know the herring weren’t poisoned. I’ll eat a bunch of the pickled ones tomorrow and wait a couple of days before i give any away.

First come, first served. Get your bids in now.

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Troops loyal to the President ringed the capital city today as pro-government demonstrators, many members of the President’s minority sect, thronged the streets to celebrate his inauguration.

In the rebel-held provinces, discontent seethed, but there was relatively little violence other than the customary fratricidal slayings by young males armed with the family assault weapons.

In loyalist regions, the celebration was muted since even the sycophants are nervous about the President’s new powers of secret, indefinite detention.

Gloria's Blood OrangesIn other news, an agricultural report from California’s Luther Burbank region: There’ll be a bumper crop this year of organic Santa Rosa blood oranges in Gloria’s back yard.

For which we are grateful.

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I’m thinking of calling my internist on Monday and seeing if i can get her to call me in a prescription for an asthma inhaler, as the difficulty in breathing is the most annoying part of this cold.

The rest of the story is that i could have called her this afternoon but frittered it away in two pharmacies before i finally got clear that you can more easily buy an assault weapon in this country than an asthma inhaler.

I mean, what if i stormed City Hall brandishing it and took the Mayor hostage?

Bring me a pizza or i’ll spray him and the secretary both!

Extra anchovies.

Window of OpportunityMeanwhile, a window of opportunity on Buchanan Street

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Solidarity Logo

In his annual Christmas Message last December the Holy Rat announced that folks who wanted to allow women to make their own reproductive decisions and, worse yet, people who favored gay marriage were all Threats to World Peace, and his radiant insanity spurred me to launch a competition for a logo that Threats to World Peace might wear to distinguish ourselves from the mass of sheep in His Holiness’ fold.

I_Do_v01So my friend Mark came up with this, echoing the pink triangle the Nazis forced gays to wear but modernized to push back against the current Nazi in the Vatican:

Oh and maybe i’ll plan a contingent/float in this summer’s Gay Parade having some good clean fun with His Drunken Grace’s little DUI incident in San Diego last summer

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Love Children

I went to visit my friend Steven the other day and had the ineffable pleasure of watching his six-year-old son climb him like a tree in a joyous display of mutual affection. I just love watching modern fathers play with their sons, showing affection in ways that were vanishingly rare in my generation.

And then Steven showed me some affection by giving me a heads up on a concert where he’d be playing last night, a Silicon Valley Music Festival program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music featuring Son à Trois , a trio consisting of flute, cello, and piano. Piano trios are my favorite musical form, and a program composed entirely of them is not to be missed, particularly since i was familiar with only one of them, the Mendelssohn Op. 49.

I’m embarrassed to admit that i’d not seen the Conservatory’s new facility at 50 Oak Street, a run down YMCA that has been gutted and repurposed with an achingly beautiful interior surrounding a four-story atrium, gorgeous recital halls, and all. This is the most handsome music venue in the city, worth visiting just to see.

The first piece on the program was the Poulenc Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano, Op.43, with a flute substituting for the Oboe and Steven on the Bassoon. Loved it, at least partly for the novelty of the instrumentation. I’d heard the Mendelssohn only in the original version with a violin, but the flute worked very well in its stead, and i was reminded of how much i like Mendelssohn’s trios. The Debussy Piano Trio in G minor was next, and i liked it almost as much as the Mendelssohn.

And then, if there had been any way to slither out unnoticed, i would have. I’m old, i tire easily, and i especially tire listening to classical music written by composers younger than myself. Like, for example, Paul Schoenfield, of whom i’d never heard. But i was trapped, so i heaved a great silent sigh and prepared myself for a learning experience during his Café Music.

Oh my goodness. The three movements were like frolicking love children of Gershwin and Shostakovich, and the piece was delightful. Here’s a YouTube clip of the first movement. Watch the grins of delight appear on the faces of the orchestra members in the background.

What a fabulous evening. Thank you, Steven. And here’s a Christmas Day pic from a walk along Santa Rosa Creek with Gloria.

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Florescencia gasmaniaThere was a moment of poignant delight at the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market last Sunday when i swooped upon Glenn Tanimoto’s booth in hopes of finding plenty of kiwi fruit.  To my delight, i could see from thirty paces that he had piles of them.

Oh, but my delight was increased enormously when i pulled up in front of the booth and he exclaimed, “You blindsided me!” as his wife burst into laughter.

See, the week before i’d given him a jar of Manzana chiles i’d got from Yerena and pickled.  Unfamiliar with the Manzana chile and assuming it was some kind of innocuous sweet chile, he took a big bite out of the top one.  And oh, was he ever surprised to discover that they are at least as hot as Habañeros.

I just live for bringing little surprises to my friends, although i’d assumed he’d know they were hot since i’d given him pickled hot peppers before.

And speaking of little surprises, here’s a Florescencia gasmainia that i spotted while i was out on a walk in Santa Rosa with Gloria on New Years’ Day.

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