Kicking it to the curb

A president or a cookbook, what needs to go? Also, can kindness be mandated?

By Salon Staff
Published October 22, 2004 4:58PM (EDT)

House and Garden

Questions for the Cook, II

Safelight - 02:27 pm Pacific Time - Oct 17, 2004 - #7215 of 7330

After reading all the posts about how easy it is to make flour tortillas I was inspired to give it a try. I looked up some recipes on the Internet and was deciding which one to print when I remembered that I received a Chevy's restaurant cookbook as a gift several years ago. I like their tortillas, so I shut down the browser and dug out the cookbook.

The dough is insanely sticky. I must have added at least two more cups of flour than the recipe called for just to be able to form balls and roll them out flat. I finally managed to get some sticky disks and I stacked them between wax paper instead of the plastic wrap suggested by the recipe. This was a mistake. The wax paper acquired velcro-like properties and stuck to the tortillas so tightly that most of them couldn't be removed except in strings and shreds. The wax paper shredded, too, making it all even more fun. There was more than one instance of flinging and almost non-stop swearing.

I managed to peel enough dough from some of the wax paper that I could add even more flour, re-roll it, and throw it in the skillet, but each tortilla inevitably wadded up on its way into the pan. Even transporting them wrapped around the rolling pin didn't save the tortillas from the wadding fate. The recipe was supposed to make 16 tortillas. I have one tortilla of questionable quality and a stack of cooked blobs that I wouldn't feed to anyone.

During my adventure, I remembered that the last two times I've tried a recipe from this cookbook it has been equally disastrous. Just in case you're wondering, I'm not a completely hopeless cook; I just can't cook from this particular cookbook. I reached the conclusion that the only real purpose of this cookbook is to convince people that cooking is much too hard and they should just go out to dinner at Chevy's. In my first-ever act of violence against a book, I gave the cookbook a good stomping before throwing it into the stack of things that I'm giving to charity. It was childish, but it made me feel a little better. In classic movie style, my husband offered to take me out to dinner, but that would require me to get the little strings of dough out of my hair. I think we'll be having pizza.

White House

If the worst happens: What if the election is (re)stolen?

Jo Ann Simon - 05:37 pm Pacific Time - Oct 19, 2004 - #135 of 194

I have to ask all or many of you, where were you when Bush was anointed by the Supreme Court in 2000? I and many of my Maine compatriots were on the streets in DC protesting Bushes Inauguration. As were thousands of others from across the country. We faced concrete barricades, a huge number of police on the streets, and looked up to see every building along Pennsylvania Ave. and all buildings at the Eclipse end of the Mall lined with sharpshooters on their roofs.

... It was like being in a third world country! This was MY capital -- the home base of all Americans -- and I, as a protester, was made to feel very unwelcome there. It wasn't the DC police who gave me and others this feeling; it was the attitude of this new administration, its wet fur-coated supporters, pissed because they had to walk across the Mall that day to take their seats in the Bush reviewing stands without notice or umbrellas.

We protesters, protected for the weather, stood in the Eclipse and watched the parade of these Bush supporters file past in their wet full length fur coats, their western hats and high-heeled cowboy boots, looking cold and wet and miserable, when they thought Limos would take them from the swearing in to their selected and special seats to view Bush's triumphant drive up Penn. Ave. to the White House.

Some of them looked at our anti-Bush signs calling the election a fraud, and yelled, "GET OVER IT!" We just kept waving our signs.

Now, four years later, when only a few of us went out into the streets to protest Bush's illegal appointment to be our president, I still don't understand why more Americans didn't go out on the streets to protest that coup d'etat.

I don't believe the corporate media-controlled polls. I don't believe that Bush and Kerry are running neck and neck. I think Bush is taking a bruising, but the media wants to keep this a horse race, so they avoid reporting the Kerry advantage in state polls. We are in a sorry state in this country when our media distorts rather than REPORTS the news. But that's where we are.

The only way we can fight back against this media dominance by corporations is to elect John Kerry and send the puppet Bush back to the bush-whacked country in Texas he loves. Of course, the mainstream media ignored us, but that scene you see in "Farenheit 9/11," where anti-Bush protesters were five or six deep lining Bush's route up Pennsylvania Avenue, were absolutely accurate. I was there. I saw it. And that same film showed briefly on local DC News.

Bush was so terrified at the opposition crowds facing him on both sides that his limo stopped dead for several minutes, while the Secret Service consulted with parade police, then suddenly the presidential limo took off at a sufficient speed that the Secret Service couldn't keep up and were left running on foot well behind the presidential limos. No one could see Bush or his party through the darkened limo windows, but if I've ever seen a coward tuck tail and run, it was during Bush's procession to the White House which he was illegally occupying. The crowds out there were reminding him of that, and he couldn't deal with that.

Since his inauguration he's been protected by a bubble so that he never has to confront those Americans who don't agree with him.

Social Issues

How Much Human Life?

Joeman - 08:41 am Pacific Time - Oct 15, 2004 - #324 of 372

... Attempting to implement or mandate kindness at a governmental level will not really work, in the same way that you cannot legislate sexual morality without becoming authoritarian.

But at a personal level, in the unlikely event that people were to practice kindness to one another, justice and liberty would be second nature ...

I look at my group of friends over the years, and they are all really good-natured people. I remember driving across America, and meeting extremely nice people (in Red states even), people who'd invite me, a total stranger, to lunch at their home. So I ask, what makes these people kind? Can we reverse-engineer the process of creating calm, nonviolent, good-natured humans, and then scale it?

Sounds ridiculously naive, of course. But yeah, I see on the TV screens how hard it is ... the blood, the guts, the pieces of smoking human flesh dangling from hooks, the mutilated and hungry bodies of children. Yeah so ... what, humans' inhumanity to each other -- that's in the noise, that's documented, that's so 20th century. What are you first worlders possessed of a full belly, a sense of compassion, and an extra-large educated reasonably well off cranium gonna do about it?

You all have deity status. Fix the human condition.

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