Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Politics and Pinto Beans

I'm fixing a pot of pinto beans for dinner. If I feel energetic, I'll make corn bread too.

I learned how to fix beans from my mother, who learned from Granny the Ho, who learned from her mother before her. That's as far back as we go in the South on my mother's side, and I don't think the Irish or the Welsh even had pinto beans although of course I could be wrong.

Even though I put baking soda in the beans while they are boiling, they will still make you fart. Sometimes not so much as others. More farting may occur when there are whole cloves of garlic floating around in the broth. When I had been married long enough to realize there was no point in fighting about things that won't change, which eventually turned into no point in talking at all whatsoever, I fixed a big pot of beans whenever I was pissed off at Buzz Kill. It was satisfying to gas him with noxious fumes.

I figure that President Obama's speech tonight is a good occasion for a pot of beans since there will be gasbags galore on the TV tonight. I can editorialize out my ass along with them.

I love to listen to Obama talk, so I'm sure I'll love his speech. It's another example of how we all hear what we want to hear. People who wish he would be stronger and more aggressive with the Republican Windbags will think he wasn't strong enough. Those who thought he was indoctrinating children will think he's Stalin, Mao or Hitler who are apparently interchangeable with Castro.

I'll just fart along with the rest of them - but at least I'll have had Cornbread and Beans with Bacon which gives me a legitimate reason.

When Velvet was a junior in High School he and his friend, who likes to be called Potus here on the blog on account of he watches West Wing endlessly, challenged their history teacher about the amount of time they were spending on the Holocaust. The boys believed that since Jew for Jew, Stalin killed more Jews than Hitler, Stalin should get equal time. The teacher said they spent more time on Hitler because there was more about the Holocaust on the Regents Exam - a standardized test taken by High School students in New York State. Maybe that's the real reason and maybe not, but it shut the boys up for the day. As it happens, young Potus had a great-uncle who was a propaganda writer for Stalin. Like most folks who worked for Stalin, he died young. The boys acknowledged that Stalin just happened to kill Jews when he was killing off other groups, such as doctors. Hitler went straight for the Jews, as well as Gypsies, Queens and whoever else was a threat to the master race. But it just goes to show you that if smart-ass kids like Velvet and Potus know the difference between Socialists, Marxists, Nazis and Fascists, all these television personalities and pundits ought to know the difference too.

Truthfully, I'm not so sure I know all these ideological distinctions because that sort of economic, political reading bored the living shit out of me in high school and I never addressed that gap in my education. I have enough sense to know that no symbolic portrait of Mussolini is carved into the side of Rockefeller Plaza like Glen Beck alleged.

It may be time to watch Idiocracy again this weekend and start thinking about moving out of the country. Two sets of friends in Texas have invited me to move somewhere with them when the time is right. Bradley and his wife Kanela are looking to move to a country where the cost of living is more affordable. He gets a little money from oil royalties and she's an excellent welder. They know about HVAC stuff and since she's originally from Argentina, she can conduct business in both English and Spanish. Then there is Jonathan and his wife who is an outstanding potter. They want to move to the hills of Arkansas. I'd live on the compound with them and a few other folks where we would secure the perimeter and keeps out the crazies. We'd have to venture out into the wider world for work and commerce, but at least once the drawbridge was up, we'd be insulated and free to entertain ourselves in peace. As it happens, the potter is an outstanding shot since she grew up in rural Oklahoma. She's the one who says that as long as the beer cans you toss into the backyard don't hit other beer cans, you're not white trash - and she can grow artichokes.

When it's time to sell this place and split the money with Buzz Kill, I have no idea what I feel like doing anymore. Last week, I started doing home visits to my kids for the year. Home visits are fun because you get to see all kinds of apartments. Some families have everything in the world you can possibly imagine - so that I'm pretty sure that if I knew what they did to make their money, I'd think they should be arrested despite the fact that it's all perfectly legal in America. Some are just soap opera actors and stuff who get paid a fortune. These are all families who spend $10,000/year or so to send their very young children to private school three mornings per week. The kids go home at 11:30 which is exactly what children their age should be doing developmentally since we no longer live in small, agrarian communities where kids run around playing with each other under the watchful, caring eyes of extended family and neighbors.

I stopped lamenting the fact that teachers don't get paid for shit (and neither do fire fighters, nurses, EMTs and all manner of workers who provide essential services to our society). But it would be nice if we could afford decent homes and a dentist. The good part about home visits is that even though the apartments we are visiting are out of my price range, we wander into some neighborhoods that I could swing if I decide to stay in New York for a while.

While I have faith in my personal future, the present remains challenging. All these douchebags on parade are making it worse, and I will admit that I'm a bit lonely watching the speech by myself. I guess that's why so many single people watch stuff in bars. As it happens, there's a handsome single fellow in the neighborhood who hangs out in a beer bar not far from HQ playing Foosball with his cute, single friends. They are all about 40. He's the kind of guy that would pay my bar bill and put me in a taxi, too. Gigi introduced us this past weekend and I wound up listening to one of his very attractive, muscular friends drunkenly obsess about his ex-girlfriend.

I'm not that lonesome yet. The truth is that I liked to watch Obama with Velvet and Potus. It must be that soft spot I have for rowdy, egocentric, smart-ass boys. Once they are old enough to know their asses from their elbows, however, those boys cannot be politically conservative.

I laughed. I cried. I cheered.
I love that Barack Obama.
And I waited to eat my beans until the Republicans hauled out another asshole from Louisiana.


jadedj said...

Well, shit...Obama, fucker! Even though I sort of bad-mouthed him tonight on my blog, I'm sitting there watching the fucker, and just goddamned loving him. Fuck! I have to get all pissed off again. What the hell did he say anyway? Are we going to get a good bill or not? I watched the entire speech. I would have been gone 90 seconds into anything McBushnuts had to say.

I apologize that this hasn't doodly-squat to do with this post, other than your mention of the speech...and farts.

I am going to go make a pot of beans...sans baking soda.

PENolan said...

I hear you, JadedJ
PPPBBBBLLLL (that's a fart noise)

Anonymous said...

Politico douchebags are telling audacious lies in Canada too. and I'm not sure why it's become accepted practice. When, once in a while, someone actually does call them out on one of their lies, the p.d. will say something like "well you know what I REALLY meant..." But it's really got to be hateful down there. Scary hateful. I can't watch anymore.

But I love your blog. Identifying with it in lots of ways. And admiring your honesty - it's something I aspire to.

Jen M

PENolan said...

Hi and Thanks!
I look forward to exploring your blog and finding out about what's happening in your personal part of Canada

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Re: Pinto beans

I LOVE me some pinto beans. I dunno your recipe, but mine includes 2 lbs of chopped green chile per 4 cups of beans (dry).

And bacon, lots of bacon: quarter lb, minimum, cubed...

And a BIG onion, and lots of garlic. Cumin (cominos), oregano, red chile powder (2 Tbsp)

And about one heaping Tbsp of brown sugar, added late.

and cook 'em for HOURS AND HOURS (8 minimum--because I don't soak 'em)...

And hold the salt til you serve.

As to the rest--the speech--well, i was not impressed but that's prob'ly just me...

I think it wise to consider what we might have to do if the cataclysm comes...

CDP said...

"editorializing out my ass like the rest of them" made me laugh out loud. You're hilarious.

Gail said...


You are so hysterical, I too laughed right out loud about farting especially when you yade you famous beans w/garlic generational recipe to piss off BuzzKil :-)
And you are the only person I know who can pull off, with class, discussing beans, farts and Hitler and Stalin all in the same post! Fascinating.

Love you

Mr. Charleston said...

You're right on everything everything except the firefighters PEN. They get paid very well. In most places in this country you almost have to inherit the job to get one.
I hope this doesn't sound racist, but what is it about waiting for our first black president to speak that inspires us all to cook beans and cornbread? It was field peas and rice for me.
Seems like an interesting twist that a bunch of pinko-liberals are going to hole up in a bunker in Arkansas. I thought that was reserved for right-wing Fascists or fucked-up Christians.
My poor old brain just can't keep up anymore.
BTW... Obama's speech was brilliant. I was cheering and jeering right along with you and, hopefully, millions more like us. Fuck the Republicans.

PENolan said...

Woody, we have pretty much the same recipe except for the green chiles. That must be the New Mexican touch. And I knew without looking you wouldn't like that speech ;)
Thanks, CDP and Gail. It's always nice to see y'all

Mr. Charleston, I stand corrected re: firefighters - and now that you mention it, there is something a bit suspect about the dinner menus.

JD said...

Someone else described Obama's strategy as a rope-a-dope of Republicans--he definitely roped one last night. I think he's been approaching this much like an election, and going for the full-court press starting now. I've also been looking for suitable relocation. What I find appealing about Arkansas is the combination of scenery, low cost of living, and ability to get whatever firearms might be needed for game hunting and self protection once they found out I was a card-carrying ACLU-er. But by then even the most clueless Wal-Mart shopper will have experienced a much-better healthcare system, so hopefully their new-found access to wellness will inspire them to cut me a little slack.
Actually, on further reflection, I gotta find somewhere with a beach near the ocean, in a tropical clime.
Thanks for the inspiration to whup up a pot of beans for the 'Horn game Saturday.

PENolan said...

Hook 'Em, JD

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