Thursday, December 27, 2007

Congratulations to Jackson Wheeler, Burning Down the House

After finding out that John was recognized by Writer's Almanac, I received word that old California friend Jackson Wheeler's "How Good Fortune Surprises Us" is today's pick by former Laureate Ted Kooser on today's American Life in Poetry column. It's a pdf, but Jackson's worth downloading any software you might need. Hit the link.

Congratulations to John Guzlowski

I want to break my self-imposed holiday blogging silence to send congrats along to John Guzlowski, my co-collaborator over at Poetry Worth Reading, who's poem "What My Father Believed" was read today by Garrison Keillor on Writer's Almanac. Congratulations to John Guzlowski for what his poems give us every day.
Hit the link at PWR and give it a listen. Happy New Year to all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Poetry Worth Reading: New Blog Announcement

John Guzlowski and I are starting a new blog called Poetry Worth Reading. The point is to write about poetry we like. Period. I hope you'll check it out from tome to tome.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Impromptu Oyster Mushroom Noodles and Chicken Recipe

Walking around in the woods behind my house, I found some perfect oyster mushrooms growing on a log across the shallow pond, so I used them in an Asian style noodle recipe I made up on the fly (so measurements are extremely approximate. Just play!) to go with grilled chicken and freshly baked bread.

Grilled Chicken Marinade

Orange juice (about 1/2 cup)
Soy sauce (three or four tablespoons)
Lime juice (one lime)
Red Wine (1/2 cup)
Balsamic or other vinegar (2 tablespoons)
4-8 cloves garlic (I opt for the high end)
One chopped red pepper (jalapeno, thai, or cayenne)
Fresh ground pepper
Honey (two tablespoons)
Ground coriander seeds (a teaspoon)
Cumin (a spinkle)

Marinate the chicken for about 8 hours, then grill, reserving marinade.


1 package chow mein (or other Asian) noodles
Reserved marinade (1 cup or so)
(Add additional soy sauce, orange juice, honey, etc. if chicken has absorbed too much marinade)
Fresh ginger, chopped, (1-2 cm)
Fresh garlic (1-2 cloves)
Fresh grated carrot (one medium)
Three green onions
Celery (1/2 stalk, finely sliced)
Fresh Oyster Mushrooms (1/4-1/2 lb.)
One or two chopped Thai peppers
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Corn starch (2 teaspoons)
Bean Sprouts, angel hair cabbage, almonds, etc. (optional)

Finely chop ginger and add to reserved marinade (or add to marinade to begin with).
Add corn starch to marinade and stir until blended.

Fry cooked, cooled chow mein noodles in 1/4 cup oil (I blended olive, grapeseed, and sesame) with finely chopped white ends of the green onions and garlic until hot.
Add grated carrots and mushrooms and continue tossing until blended.
Stir marinade and add to noodles. Continue tossing.
Top with fresh green onion ends (1 inch pieces) and Thai chiles and optional ingredients.

The mushrooms stand up to frying and provide a nice meat substitute. To make a vegetarian meal, try it with marinated grilled portobellos.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What's the Difference?

My friend George composed a wise and enlightening post for his blog reminding us of the importance of the ideas of George Orwell in these strange and frequently frustrating times, frustrating for those of us who stand up for rational responses during this time of war and divisive politics. One of his trolls lectures on and on about the need to confront "islamofascism" and the "axis of evil" to win the "war on terror," as though these words bear any substantive meaning. These words, in the language of the "conservative" political agenda and their punditariat, are employed to cow us into excusing such recent American moral excesses as torture, the invasion of Iraq, or the surrender of our civil liberties.

I don't need to be lectured about the so-called "war on terror." I've already won it. I refuse to be terrorized. I refuse to give up my rights and freedoms, my moral sense of justice, my principles--my American-ness, if you will--in favor of security. I'm perfectly willing to die for my country in my country, if I have to, to save it. But I want it to be a country that refuses to torture or make up excuses to invade countries, one that doesn't spy on me or listen to my phone calls, one that doesn't make up fake language to scare us into giving up our civil liberties and our ethical principles. I consider this a more authentically conservative stance, since it prefers the Bill of Rights over political vicissitudes, Rovian or otherwise. If Wolf Blitzer asked the troll whether he'd pick national security over civil liberties, he'd answer, like Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd, "National security," in a blink. I'd say, Dodd should have said, "What's the difference?" The supposition that one must choose is really to ask the question, "Do you want America to be destroyed from outside or inside?" William Kristol can froth at the mouth all he wants about the suitcase nuke scenario, how it excuses torture, but, really, if the loss of my innocent life, or even, heaven forbid, the loss of an American city, can cause us to toss out our uniquely American ethos to buy a little more security, then this whole America thing is pretty shaky. We can be ethical and secure, even if it makes security more challenging. We possess the strength, the rationality, and the creativity as a nation to meet the challenge, unless we surrender, whether to the outside, or from the inside. What's the difference?