A secret: I am fond of silently mocking those signs people put up in their houses, the signs that are typically some faux-weathered board with a single word—or sometimes several words—written in cursive script which might say something like "gather" or "wine" or "friends family wine gather" or "bless" or even "blessed." Among other things.
And the game I play in my head is to come up with funny (and typically kind of dark) versions of these signs. So you can imagine a squiggly, cutesy "DEATH COMES TO US ALL" or maybe just a simple, humble, lower-case "climate change." And anyway, I figured some of you lot might be good at this game, so have at it.
Obamanauts have a range of references to demonstrate their devotion. Hogwarts and St. Elmo's Fire loom large. The West Wing is clearly the touchstone, however. Gautam Raghavan, who began working for Obama during the 2008 campaign, writes, "Working in Barack Obama's White House was like watching Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing brought to life. It had all the necessary elements: the brilliant, articulate professor in chief with an unapologetically progressive vision of America; a narrative arc rooted in ongoing themes of idealism and public service; but most importantly, a cast of patriotic Americans who labored every day, as members of the President's staff, to serve the country they loved." One collection of testimonials, edited by Raghavan, is called West Wingers; another memoir is called West Winging It.(Less serious podcast with Robin. Also, NEOLIBERALISM.)
Heebie's take: I'm having trouble figuring out who the Obamanauts are. Are they authors of these books at the link? Are they the young people energized in the Aughts by the Obama administration? Is it centrists wishing that the Democratic party would stick with Obama's centrist style?
Also, I can't remember if I'm supposed to love or hate Corey Robin. Or if I'm confusing him entirely with some other aughtie-blogger. Was he one of the ones who tried to be a libertarian in good faith?
Nworbie inadvertently writes in a rather cozy, Thanksgiving-y post: Why not talk about recipes instead of politics for a while? Here are two sorts of breads I have found in my Swedish cookbooks which can all be made even by incompetents like me.
1) Rye bread with hazelnuts:
(adapted from Tulla Grünberger)
- 25g dried yeast
- 6 dl (2.5 cups) Water
- 1 Tbsp (olive) oil
- 2.5 tsp salt
- 2 dl (120g) Rye flour
- 10 dl (600g) strong wheat flour
- 2 dl (120g) wholemeal flour
- 1 dl (0.42267528198649 cups) coarsely chopped hazelnuts
Warm the water to blood heat; mix everything together to a dough; knead well until homogenously elastic
Let it rise for an hour
Beat the dough back down -- it will have doubled in size. This amount makes one teetering loaf in my biggest tin, or two medium-sized loaves.
Leave it to rise for another 30-40 minutes
Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 20 minutes at 250℃
Lower the heat to 175℃ and leave for another 20-25 minutes. Bigger loaves may need longer.
2) Dark Bread from the Åland Islands
(also from Tulla G)
A rich dark bread with a sweet crust, really good as an hors d'oeuvre with salmon mousse, chopped anchovies, smoked mackerel pate ...
- 4dl (0.8 of a US pint) Filmjölk / Kefir ["fermented yoghurt-like drink" says HuffPost]
- 1 dl ( 1/5 US pint) Water
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Malt [optional]
- 1 dl (0.42267528198649 cup) black treacle / molasses
- 1/2 dl brown sugar
- 4 dl (240g) coarse rye flour
- 1 dl (60g) wholemeal flour
- 6dl (360g) wheat flour [i.e. plain bread flour]
Mix the yeast with the kefir [though with dry yeast, it should probably be mixed with the dry ingredients.]
Add the other ingredients and make quite a sticky dough. Let it rise for 40 minutes and then bake for 40 minutes at 190 degrees
Take the bread out of the oven and lift it out of the tin. Brush it with a mixture of
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp brewed coffee
- 5 grams butter
Put it back in the tin and bake it for another 5-10 minutes at 175 degrees until this forms a glaze. Cool on a rack, licking the glaze from your fingers.
I also have two sorts of crispbread if there is any interest, but one of them needs either a spiked rolling pin or to be stabbed repeatedly with a fork and that might be too much trouble for people. They're really good, though.
PS: I know there was an element of tasing in the quantities last time but I only translated the ones that give me trouble when coming from American. Grams to ounces, and centigrade to fahrenheit are convertible all over the internet.
Heebie's take: Fresh baked bread is one of my dearest pleasures, (and the only reason I haven't embraced it as a hobby is due to waistline vanity).
And since it is Thanksgiving, you are due a link.
Momo Chacha writes: And a day, until the General Election. What's happening? Enlighten a dirty foreigner.
Heebie's take: The internet tells me Thursday, December 12th. Isn't that two weeks and a day?
I could have just edited the post title, but then I wouldn't have had a take.
Minivet writes: The Atlantic, 2015: America's Unfinished Second Founding
To see the 1870s United States as a Second American Republic operating under a Second Constitution created by a Second American Revolution asks Americans to abandon their dreams of continuity and to develop a new, more vulnerable set of national understandings and also a new sense of the nation's possibilities. Thinking through the implications of the Second American Revolution might lead us to see the First Founders as less successful and less consequential than celebrators and critics have imagined.
The nice thing about so many of us having kids is that we can be the change. Tell them about our Refounding Fathers Douglass, Grant, and Stevens!
Heebie's take: Barely-relatedly, I've been recently trying to catch up on Chile's constituent process, and I understand very little, so if anyone wants to explain how it's been going, I'd be much obliged.
Even more tenuously related, I remember a quote from somewhere along the lines of "One of the great failures of modern man was their inability to put the Scientific Revolution in spiritual terms" which I sort of agree with. If you can't make your origin story consistent with scientific discovery, you're untethered from reality and can really start wrecking a lot of havoc on the world. The connection to the civil war, above, being that it's a failure to place an event as the foundation it deserves to be.
But anyway: If Minivet is serious about this rebranding, he needs to get Lin-Manuel Miranda on board or no one's ever going to know who Douglass, Grant, and Stevens are.
J-Ro writes: This is all terribly sad, but also, now we have a new stash of presidential pseudonyms.
Heebie's take: I didn't quite finish it, but that is one weird story.
The story began with his mother. She appeared, on the platform of New Delhi's train station in the early 1970s, seemingly from nowhere, announcing herself as Wilayat, Begum of Oudh....
The begum declared that she would stay in the station until these properties had been restored to her. She settled in the V.I.P. waiting room, and unloaded a whole household there: carpets, potted palms, a silver tea set, Nepali servants in livery, glossy Great Danes. She also had two grown children, Prince Ali Raza and Princess Sakina, a son and a daughter who appeared to be in their 20s. They addressed her as "Your Highness."
The begum was an arresting-looking woman, tall and broad-shouldered, with a face as craggy and immobile as an Easter Island statue. She wore a sari of dark, heavy silk and kept a pistol in its folds. She and her children settled on red plastic chairs, and waited. For years.
They lived there for ten years, then eventually were given an old palace, and became hermits. It's a bit Grey Gardens, maybe? The royalty backstory was probably made-up, which honestly makes the most sense:
There, to my surprise, the old-timers remembered Cyrus and his family. But they told me, almost as an aside, that they had been dismissed as impostors. The Oudh descendants in Kolkata, where the nawab died in exile, had also rejected their claim. And there were questions Cyrus himself seemed unable to answer. Where was he born? Who was his father? How do you crush diamonds, anyway?
His sister, Princess Sakina, had not turned up but he gave me a book that she had written, documenting their lives. The book was almost unreadable, haphazardly capitalized, lacking punctuation and written in florid, apocalyptic prose.
But sprinkled in the rambling text were flashes of genuine tenderness between the siblings, as if they were two small children, stranded together on a lifeboat.
Sakina wrote that she had intended to follow her mother into suicide, but for her brother. The question of his future nagged at her. "ABOUT PRINCE CYRUS RIZA MY BROTHER WHAT STEP SHALL HE FOLLOW?" it says. "MY SILENT SINCEREST SILENCE HAS A WISH THAT PRINCE SHOULD BE BLESSED WITH HAPPINESS."
One night Cyrus called me, howling unintelligibly, to tell me that his sister had in fact died seven months earlier. He had told no one, burying her body himself. He had lied to me about it for months, and seemed a bit ashamed by it. I curled up on my daughter's bunk bed and listened to his voice over the phone. He said that I should never visit again, and also that he was so lonely.
It's pretty long.
In the completely routine manner, my brain is both exploding and completely unsurprised that Devin Nunes is up to his eyeballs in Ukraine shit (allegedly).
But if I can be a shocked naif for a sec: in the world of corrupt investigators/prosecutors/intelligence committee probes, even when they're clearly corrupt and ridiculous and Republican, they're usually not in on the very thing they're grandstanding about, right? I have to admit I was surprised (and then I wasn't.)