Thursday, May 29, 2008

BLOG/RELIEF: BACON LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON. So far, I have only gotten one taker for the blog/relief posts, perhaps because I posted after most people had already given to relief efforts. However! Lots of places still need money, so if any of these ideas intrigue you, donate & let me know and I will still comply with your wish. (And thanks to Noli Irritare Leones for linking to the list....)

So, MSB asked for recipes involving bacon. Mmmmm bacon. Here are several.

First of all, I've discussed bacony things a few times here on the blog. I don't recommend bacon-wrapped enoki. I have eaten Mexican Radio Sandwiches many, many times since I made that initial post, and they are scrumptious and very easy.

Due to some of this week's bacon adventures, I strongly suspect that using parchment paper rather than foil would have transformed spicy honeyed bacon from a blackened, delicious mess into a mahogany, glazy delicious artwork. If I had to make one recipe with bacon, it'd be that one. ...I'd use a spoon to coat the bacon with the honey, though, due to previous burnination issues. (I also note that switching from foil to parchment paper has allowed me to cook fantastic fries without setting off my smoke alarm!)

I also made corn with bacon this week. This is ridiculously easy. I did it like this, but you can add just about anything to this stuff....

Get yourself one ear of corn per person, let's say two maybe three slices of bacon per person, some whole milk or cream, and hot red pepper flakes. Shuck the corn and use a knife to cut the kernels off into a saute pan. (This is a lot easier than I'd thought it would be.) Put the bacon on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and cook for about 20 minutes at 375. (Your oven may vary, a lot, so check up on it if you're making bacon in the oven for the first time.) While the bacon is cooking, saute the corn in butter, then add the milk or cream and the hot pepper flakes, and cook all of that down until the corn is tender and most of the liquid is gone--I found that this took about the same amount of time as the bacon-cooking took. When the bacon is ready, let it cool enough to handle and chop it into yummy frizzly bits, then top the corn mix with those bits and consume.

Or you could try mashed potatoes with bacon, again, super easy and you can add whatever you like. First, cook the bacon on a parchment paper-lined tray, as above. Chop a baking potato into two-inch dice or thereabouts. Boil salted water. Plunk the potato in and cook 20-25 minutes, until tender. Mash the potato with much butter, some milk or cream, and whatever else you like--I used corn, but other obvious options are scallions, chives, sour cream, and lemon zest--and then chop the cooked bacon and scatter it all about. Eat with freshly-ground black pepper. Yum yum.

Tonight I'll make a stock with the lemon rinds and corncob, plus bay leaves.
THE LAST HORROR ROUNDTABLE. Nooooooooooooo! You can still get all the old ones, though, here; there's some possibility that my weekend will be tanked by that link.
The acknowledgement of the sexual aspect of living beings is an acceptance of lack (where the recognition that "I am sexed" stands for "I am not everything"); it is a sign of both our limitation and communality. Sexual difference thus reveals that we are neither universal (i.e. sex-less) nor singular.
--Joanna Zylinska, On Spiders, Cyborgs, and Being Scared: The Feminine and the Sublime


Thursday, May 22, 2008

SCHRODINGER'S SQUID IS THE GAYEST SQUID. I have a short story, "Retroactive Continuity," in the current issue of Doublethink. It's the one about the netsuke squid. (Inspired by an anecdote from Maggie Gallagher's Abolition of Marriage, by the way.) The story doesn't seem to be online, but I'll let you know if that changes.

(something vaguely resembling an explanation of the post title here)
THE SHOULDER BONE IS NOT CONNECTED TO THE LUNG BONE!!! So why is my shoulder hurting so badly (I slept on it funny, but not funny ha-ha) even as my lungs slowly clear of oobleck?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ME ON MARRIAGE: Given the CA decision, I've put up links to some of my older posts and articles on same-sex marriage, at MarriageDebate....
THE YALE DAILY NEWS FROM WEDNESDAY, MAY 21... 1969. Completely fascinating, from the front-page articles to the dry-cleaning ads. No joke.

Via E-Pression.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

PUSH ME AROUND: Blog/relief part two. So the last time I did a blog/relief drive, people did do stuff. I'm going to try that again.

If you email me and tell me that you have made even a small contribution (monetary, in-kind, blood, volunteer, whatever) to disaster relief since seeing this post, I will write any of the things in the list below (you pick) and post it here.

I'm offering blog posts for people who donate to charities, especially those which address the horror in China and in Burma.

some thoughts for where you can donate (Burma focus)--please email me if you have further suggestions

My disclaimer from last time: I know you guys are already doing amazing things. This is just to reward the people who have given, and to do the things I can rather than focusing on the things I can't do.

OK, the things:

1) Five more things I know but cannot prove

2) A Spenserian stanza, about a topic of your choosing, though I will feel free to warp that topic

3) my thoughts on any Shakespearean character except Iago (because I did him last time)

4) Five ways of completing the sentence, "I am a conservative because...", with explanations!

5) Five gay-lit books you haven't read, but you should have

6) another "Politics of Dancing" entry

7) a recipe, with a key ingredient of your choice

8) a commentary on any poem by Emily Dickinson

9) a comics recommendation, if you tell me one movie you really, really love

10) ...something else you want to harass me about--ask anything that doesn't require me to talk about other people (i.e. nothing too personal), and I promise I will answer, if you give.
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: This article by Alan Bray, about Christian recognition of same-sex loving friendship in the Western Church, is just amazing. It's via the awesome John Heard, who seems to think it needs a disclaimer; I really don't. I'm guessing that Bray eventually takes his research to places I wouldn't go. (The headline goes there, but that likely isn't his fault.) But this particular article is beautiful, insightful, heartfelt, just overflowing with everything I want from research into our past. For me, one of the greatest treasures of the Catholic church has been Her rich history of same-sex love--hey, Morrissey's made half of his career off just listing queer Catholics.

This Bray piece was inspiring: It took Catholic moral concerns seriously--love doesn't hallow every sin, here. And yet the focus of the piece was on finding models for same-sex Catholic love.

Honestly, I choked up. This is a lovely article and you all should read it.
PLANNER'S PUNCH: I'm really only posting this because otherwise I might forget that I wanted to use the post title. Being a "pater" is metaphysically horrible for the paternalists--whereas those on whom they exercise their expertise will generally work around the paters' proclamations, with relatively less harm to the subjects' souls. "Structures of sin" (which are our only contemporary options, I suspect) are always metaphysically worse for the people in power. But bureaucracy is the sweatshop of the urban welfare state--men and women in poverty spend at least as many hours filling out forms, and trying to understand them, with failure to understand them producing its own tragedies....
...The trouble with soft-paternalism is not so much that it's a bad idea or that it's anti-freedom (it isn't), but rather that it leads us to value the wrong things in our leaders.

COME TO PAPA: More on mintiness. So after I'd done my growling about the Pope, I found some really lovely, inspiring accounts of Benedict XVI's visit. I'm going to keep these in mind the next time I'm tempted to skid from a historical, cautious mintiness into a defensive callousness. It's beautiful, in itself, to be able to see the beauty of the Bride of Christ in the person of the Pope.

scroll down to "a personal reflection"

I can't ever make posts like this without gay references
SOMETHING NASTY IN THE WOODSHED OF MY LUNGS: Well, that was a refreshingly random post with which to leave you all! My apologies to readers. I was traveling, and then coughing. I managed to contract bronchitis (say it like Lenny Bruce! Bronchhhhhhitis!) and have been spending a lot of time pulling the covers over my head, coughing, and feeling sorry for myself. (Note to parents: I AM FINE. I have antibiotics. This is an unusually mild bout of respiratory annoyance, I saw the doctor today, I will be utterly status quo ante by Thursday.) Anyway, posting may be limited. I have a lot to say, though, so we'll see.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"THE ONLY ENTERPRISES THAT REALLY FOCUS ON THE FUTURE": Just ran across a several-years-old email in which I recalled a conversation between two friends--an evangelical Christian, and an ex-evangelical financier--in which the financier praised "religion and the stock market" for being, in fact, the only enterprises etc. An earlier moment in that same conversation involved the evangelical noting that all the worldly glory of the nations would pass away, and the financier replying, "Yeah, I'm really struck by the way the dollar hasn't recovered despite the strong U.S. economy!"
BIOLOGY IN SCIENCE FICTION BLOG. Looks fascinating; will link what I find as I trawl through its archives. Via Mumpsimus.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

INSIDE OF A CATHOLIC, IT'S TOO DARK TO READ: My book column for Inside Catholic is on Heloise and Abelard, in that order.

(And yes, I've been waiting to use this post title for weeks.)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

"OH! FRABIUSCE DIES!": "Jabberwocky" in Latin. ZOMG.
THE MEN FROM THE PIGS: James Lasdun, The Horned Man. A quick, creepy little fable about a gender studies professor who finds his life and identity slipping from his grasp as he becomes enmeshed in the circumstances surrounding a series of brutal murders. It's... let's say Philip Roth by way of Edgar Allan Poe. It's a fierce and reactionary tale, a horror novel under the skin. The descriptions are especially lovely--"the park, where the snow was now lying in raised veins along every shiny black branch and twig, forming an exact white replica of each tree."

I'm not sure whether it's too schematic. I was a bit twitchy on that subject, since several recent conversations with the Rattus had reminded me of the limits and failures of schematic fiction--and come on, it's a doppelganger tale, they're always a little bit geometry-of-symbols. Still, I think there's enough dark weirdness here to overcome the math.
Are you really so indifferent to the Church as a "supportive" structure? It seems to me that as the Bride of Christ, it has a duty to be supportive in the right way, and in as much as the Bride fails to achieve this, she is neglecting her responsibilities.
It's a fair cop. I was very much emphasizing one angle on the question of how to understand the Church because it had come up several times in several different contexts recently; but yeah, that post was only half the story at most. The other half is our own role and responsibilities as members of the body of Christ. (Like I've said, Catholics are probably the number one reason people leave the Catholic Church....) I was trying to grapple with what we do when those responsibilities aren't fulfilled--how to see and love the beauty of the Church even when its members signally fail.
The real tragedy of the action lies in the perfect sincerity with which they both played the comedy of sanctity.
--Etienne Gilson, Heloise and Abelard

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE SAY, "EVERYBODY BE COOL! THIS IS A STICKUP!": So the other day I figured out why the Pope makes me feel minty.

I've talked about this before: The Pope does not stir immortal longings in me. He's a guy in an interesting car.

But when he was in town, I had to grapple with the reasons I was so thoroughly disconnected from his visit. I mean, the DCPD was out in force, and I couldn't be bothered to stir from my lair.

I think a really big piece of it is that I'm (depending on how you count) Jewish, or half-Jewish, or something. Not non-Jewish, is what I am. And so in order to become Catholic, I had to do a lot of work disentangling "the Church as the Bride of Christ" from "the Church as what a bunch of Catholics do." Because if We Are Church, then the 1096 Crusaders Are Church, and frequently the Pogromists Are Church, and many, many Nazis Are Church.

(What's awesome is how many people think I've never considered this shocking perspective. Like, yeah, I went to a 70% Jewish high school, and helped start the Gay/Straight Alliance there, but feel free to believe that I totally shut my brain off when I started worrying about the Catholic Church. And I really desperately need heterosexuals and gentiles to remind me of my responsibilities here, because otherwise I totally wouldn't know.)

(Bitter is the new sweet, baby.)

But yeah--I guess what's especially strange for me is hearing people who were raised Catholic talk about the Church as if it's a group of people in a room, who may be "supportive" or may be not. When to me, it's the Bride of Christ or it's nothing. If I had to pick a religion based on which people were more awesome, there's just no way I'd be Catholic. If it's a bunch of people in "the bright room called day" of history, why on earth would anyone convert?

If the Catholic Church is just your experience, you should stop. Because that bunch of people has done horrible things. That bunch of people is not a good-enough grounding for ethics.
THEY CALLED YOUR FAILURES ART: I was at Yale for most of my preceding absence; and so yeah, I've heard about Alisa Shvarts. (Why am I the only person I know who seems to care if she's Jewish?*) I don't have anything to say in public except--isn't she just insisting, yet again, that something once considered sublime is really banal? My uterus is just as boring as my parents' front yard. Even if you agree--does it trouble you that that stance necessarily produces the opposite of art?

*eta: Should probably have attempted to explain this parenthetical, even though my concern here is something I have a very hard time articulating. For whatever reason (Pharaoh, even??) I have a stronger emotional reaction to Shvarts's whole deal if she's Jewish--it becomes even more saddening to me. In other words, this parenthetical is about my emotions, not her actions.
In winter especially, with the traffic and nearby housing projects unhidden by foliage, you felt the thinness of the romantic illusion of [the college]--something between a country estate and a medieval seat of learning--that it seemed intent on purveying; its closeness to nonexistence.
--James Lasdun, The Horned Man