• Not That There is Anything Wrong With That!

    So TKC turned out to be thin-skinned (I don’t mean literally though, because he isn’t). He even referred to one of the commenters on my blog, and I am not sure when did she ever ask for and insulting write-up about her. While skimming through the long opus the following comment caught my eye:

    EXTREMELY THE GHEY TO GO AROUND RATING THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF OTHER MEN . . . At least without amending your remarks with “no homo.” Natch.

    For many reasons I don’t feel like I should be saying “no homo” every time there is a potential threat to my manliness.

    When I was growing up© there was an old joke:

    An American comes to the USSR and while walking on the street falls into an unmarked open manhole (should it be “no homo” here?).
    He climbs out and starts screaming: “Why wasn’t this manhole marked, where were the warning and caution signs, markings, red flags?”
    An old Russian looks at him in amazement and says: ” Did you see a huge red flag when you were crossing the border?”
    American replied: “Sure”
    “That was your warning, dumb-ass”

    And the point of this story besides that jokes don’t translate very well, is that this whole blog is “no homo”, but even if I was one I’d still be a better-looking homo than TKC.

    Continue reading →
  • Russian Gourmet: Eggplant Salsa – Caviar

    If you think this blog is famous for my humor and wit, breathtaking photography or an occasional glimpse behind the iron curtain you’d be wrong. I am now a worldwide authority on pickled jalapenos which is now the most viewed post on this blog. The reader has spoken so I am posting another recipe which will finally propel my blog to the top of the blogging world where beautiful women who like fat guys reside and agents take numbers to offer you a book deal.

    This dish is not called salsa in Russian, the actual word is “ikra” which literally means “roe” or “caviar” but if I posted something like “eggplant roe” no one would read it past the title. So “salsa” it is. As always I don’t have exact proportions and you would have to adjust it to your own taste, the problem is you don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like, so you’ll have to go with what tastes good to you. With the exception of putting too much salt, or burning your ingredients you cannot screw up this recipe. So go easy on salt and keep an eye on your oven. Eggplant salsa is a summer dish, it can be used as a condiment or eaten with bread, chips or by itself. In some circles the particulars of this recipe are hotly contested, I don’t claim this version to be right or wrong. I don’t want comments starting with “but my Grandma didn’t do it this way”. I may look like your Grandma, especially naked, but I draw the line at using your Grandma’s recipes. I have no idea how my own Grandma did it, and I really don’t care what yours had to say on the subject.

    For Eggplant Salsa you will need eggplant, two make pretty good amount, use one if you don’t want too much final product. The rest of the recipe is based on two medium eggplants, figure it out. You’ll also need a couple of sweet bell peppers, 5 or so medium ripe tomatoes, about one medium head of garlic, tablespoon or two of vegetable oil, salt and pepper.

    • Heat the oven to 350F and place eggplants and peppers on a sheet (lined with foil if you don’t want to scrub it later) and in the oven. Every 15 minutes or so check on the condition of your vegetables and turn them 90 degrees. Some charring on the peppers is OK, skin will peel off anyway. By the time they are done, eggplants and peppers will look somewhat deflated and shriveled.
      eggplant salsa
      eggplant salsa eggplant salsa
      Remove from the oven, let cool to room temperature.
    • In the meantime you can prepare tomatoes. Here is a little known secret: tomatoes are not crunchy. If you are eating a tomato and it’s crunchy, it’s probably an apple. Make sure you get some ripe tomatoes. It’s easy to peel tomatoes, just dunk them in boiling water for a few seconds, skin will peel right off. Cut them in quarters and remove the stem part. On the other hand, if you were cheap and bought a whole box of “seconds” for two bucks and they cannot easily be dunked in boiling water because of soft spots and blemishes, you’ll need to spend the next 25 minutes peeling them with the knife wishing you weren’t so cheap.
    • Peel some garlic. Here is another tip from Cooks Illustrated which I wish I’d known 30 years ago when I was cursing my life while peeling loads of garlic: slice the clove of garlic lengthwise through the middle. The peel will just fall off. For this batch I also roasted a couple of cloves of garlic, just to be fancy. I am not even sure if I can taste it or not, but who cares, it’s all good.
    • By this time eggplants and peppers should be cool enough to handle. Peel them too and remove seeds from peppers only. They don’t have to be pretty.
      eggplant salsa
      eggplant salsa eggplant salsa eggplant salsa
      eggplant salsa eggplant salsa
    • The next step depends on the available equipment. Of course you can use your vintage “Made in the USA” Grind-o-Matic but in the absence of this invaluable tool-device you can use whatever else would evenly chop the ingredients. This is not a cocktail so it doesn’t need to be pulverized; it has to be the consistency of salsa.
      eggplant salsaeggplant salsa eggplant salsa eggplant salsa
    • You are almost done. When all of the ingredients are processed all you have to do is add oil, salt and pepper and mix.
      eggplant salsa
    • Just like I said in the beginning, you can’t go wrong with this. Feel free to add salt, pepper and garlic to you liking. If you feel like you peeled too many tomatoes, don’t worry, grind them up; if you throw them away, next thing you know there will be some dumpster-diving “freegan” eating your stuff and your house will be declared a foraging site. There may be some liquid separating when you store your salsa. Just mix it in before you eat it.
      eggplant salsa

      eggplant salsa

    • Now you are ready to enjoy your Eggplant Roe (I lied about the salsa but you wouldn’t read this otherwise). I will be here, waiting for book offers and calls from beautiful women who like fat guys.
    Continue reading →
  • Pothole: In Memoriam

    Only five months after first being reported on this blog the famous Kansas City pothole is no longer with us.

    Over its short but storied life this pothole brought joy and adventure to children, small animals and many drivers, as well as plenty of material for no less than 5 posts on this blog.

    Continue reading →
  • Theatrical Critical

    Recently I had a chance to attend the Coterie Theatre’s “Science Fiction Triple Feature” with my only celebrity friend and a real theater critic Grace. Sitting in the same room with multiple theater critics I thought that I should try my hand in their craft. My review follows:

    Her voice pierced the darkness- horrified, pained, disturbed. She rushed to the stage wearing something that was thought of as futuristic fifty years ago. Is that how they imagined us then? (I need to update my wardrobe). I couldn’t look away from the stage while She was there. I felt what She felt – the horror, pure animalistic horror of facing a bloody death in your own house. I saw the threat through Her eyes, I heard it in Her voice, I followed Her every move. Were there other people on the stage? Perhaps… She gripped my attention, all of it. Lights went out with Her final scream.

    The stage became a medical office, this time She was a teacher struggling with the moral implications of Her decision. She did something out of compassion and now was facing the unintended consequences. I could see Her hurt, tears in Her eyes, Her voice was breaking up. Sometimes She had to turn away from the audience; Her shoulders slumped under the weight of Her conscience. I knew Her pain will stay with Her long after the main character drifts back to his child-like state.

    She appeared on the stage once more, wearing some post-apocalyptic garb fashioned out of a burlap sack. She danced in the uneven light of the fake fire. I felt She wasn’t sure about the future. It was exciting but terrifying. Her world was only as big as the circle around the fire. The darkness covered what was left of the civilization – ruins, rusted metal, shorted out power lines. I knew she would make it; she had the passion and determination – something the new generation of humans would need to persevere.

    I caught a glimpse of her in the hallway; a beautiful young woman happily smiling, all the pain and drama left resting on the stage until the next show. I smiled as well, for I have just seen the Actress.

    Free pizza and ice cream were in my future.

    I’d like to thank the Coterie for the great evening.

    For a real professional review please check out Grace’s article.

    Continue reading →
  • Old Photos: Rows And Rows Of Well-Fed Democrats…

    This tagline struck me as being weirdly funny, but I don’t write them, I just copy them. Without further ado – some photos from the William M.Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner conducted in Kansas City in October of 1949. William M.Boyle Jr. was the Chairman of the DNC at that time.

    Banquet of the Century. The home folks of Kansas City were proud of Bill Boyle—none more vociferously than shrewd, elephantine Roy Roberts, Republican president of the Kansas City Star— and they had vowed to give him the banquet of the century. By the time the President entered Kansas City’s vast civic auditorium that night, they had come comfortably close to success.Three thousand men & women in evening dress were sitting at tables on the great floor (at $15 a plate). Among them were virtually all the ranking officers of the Administration and all shades of local politicos, including Democratic Boss Charlie Binaggio, who had just been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury to tell what he knew about the revival of racketeering in Kansas City. Six thousand non-diners watched and applauded from the flag-bedecked balconies. An army of harried waiters served 3,000 tenderloin steaks without allowing more than minor peripheral cooling to set in—no mean achievement since all had come from the kitchen of the Muehlebach Hotel, three full blocks away.

    Rows and rows of well-fed Democrats attending William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner, listening to the speeches.

    Rows and rows of well-fed Democrats attending William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner, listening to the speeches. © Time Inc.George Skadding

    Posting of banners and signs during testimonial dinner for Bill Boyle

    Posting of banners and signs during testimonal dinner for Bill Boyle.© Time Inc.George Skadding

    Cold turkey with all the trimmings, embellishing a big buffet lunch given during Bill Boyles Day celebration.

    Cold turkey with all the trimmings, embellishing a big buffet lunch given during Bill Boyle's Day celebration.© Time Inc.George Skadding

    Steaks consumed during the testimonal dinner for Bill Boyle, requiring 600 attendants to serve dinner.

    Steaks consumed during the testimonal dinner for Bill Boyle, requiring 600 attendants to serve dinner.© Time Inc.George Skadding

    Family and friends attenting the William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner.

    Family and friends attenting the William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner.© Time Inc.George Skadding

    James Pendergast (CL) autographing a menu while attending the William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner.

    James Pendergast (CL) autographing a menu while attending the William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner.© Time Inc.George Skadding

    Charles Binaggio sitting with his wife, while attending the William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner.

    Charles Binaggio sitting with his wife, while attending the William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner.© Time Inc.George Skadding

    Presidential aide Clark Clifford and Major General Harry H. Vaughan, talking with Roy A. Roberts while attenting the William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner.

    Presidential aide Clark Clifford and Major General Harry H. Vaughan, talking with Roy A. Roberts while attenting the William M. Boyle Jr. testimonial dinner.© Time Inc.George Skadding

    Guest of honor William M. Boyle Jr. (R), looking over a silver service that cost $2,250, given to him at the testimonial dinner by the Democrats.

    Guest of honor William M. Boyle Jr. (R), looking over a silver service that cost $2,250, given to him at the testimonial dinner by the Democrats.© Time Inc.George Skadding

    Time cover: 10-08-1951 of William M. Boyle.

    Time cover: 10-08-1951 of William M. Boyle. © Time Inc.

    Notice the caption: “Democrat Boyle: Bureaucracy Thrived On Bureaucracy“. Also of interest is the price of yearly subscription for the Time – just $6.

    in 1951, (Boyle) was implicated in an influence peddling scandal involving loans made by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. While a Senate investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by Boyle, he resigned later that year due to “ill health”

    This article in the Time “Boyle’s Law” talks about his rise to prominence, connections to Truman and Pendergast, and shady machinations for which he was investigated. Some passages in the article read like they were written today.

    Some names you might have recognized: Charles Binaggio, Jim Pendergast, Roy A. Roberts.

    Continue reading →