Hot Air: Frustration? Sure.

I don’t sympathize much with the hordes of folks gathering on the steps of statehouses or in front of governors’ mansions protesting the various state lockdowns and insisting the COVID-19 crisis is really some sort of wild conspiracy being carried out by tyrants. It’s impossible to feel any kinship with people who parade around with guns, blame everything on libruls, and pledge fealty to the lunkhead in the White House.

(Jeremy Hogan, as usual, did a bang up job covering the protest in front of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s residence yesterday. Go there for it and more local news. And, please, support Jeremy and The Bloomingtonian!)

Indianapolis, Sunday [Image: Jeremy Hogan]

Odd isn’t it, that these people see plots to take over their states and their lives and strip them of their precious shootin’ irons when, more often than not, for the last few decades both houses of Congress, the US Supreme Court, the majority of statehouses, and the Oval Office have been in the hands of the party that they gravitate toward. For pity’s sake, their guys have been in power, mostly, and yet they scream and shriek as if they’re the Uyghurs of China. But that’s a mystery for another day.

Even odder still, as someone pointed out on social media, a lot of these protesters have been prepping for doomsday epidemics, invasions, and commie takeovers for decades now and — wouldn’t you know it? — the first moment a pandemic strikes they’re all shrieking and crying about how it ain’t so.

Mistake No. 1: assuming loons of this sort hew to the basics of logic.

Back in the first graf of this entry, I qualified my premise with the adjective “much.” That’s because despite the fact that the protesters pretty much represent everything abhorrent to me in this 21st Century holy land, I do get their frustration. I’m feeling it too. I’ve been cooped up in Chez Big Mike for more than five weeks now with The Loved One (she, I’m certain, has a different monicker for our stately manor) and although neither of us has yet begun to gaze longingly at the cutlery when the other is in the room, there does exist, shall we say, a tad of strain suffusing through the household.

Mark it up to not being able to talk to anybody other than each other, Terra the Cat and Sally the Dog. TLO’s and my conversations can be engrossing, sure, but, as myth has Groucho Marx famously stating, “I love my cigar but….”

I desperately need some alternative human contact and, fortunately, a friend dropped by Saturday afternoon. We chatted in our lawn chairs on my driveway for two hours in the sunshine and at a prudent remove from each other. That was as welcome a dose of medicine as any I’ve had in ages.

That is except for the fact that I got myself a raging case of sunburn on my head, face, and lower legs, so much so that I was made fairly delirious by it for at least a good 24 hours post-exposure.

In any case, yeah, I’m itching to get out into something resembling the world I was living in a mere month and a half ago, a world filled with friends, acquaintances, shop clerks, librarians, pedestrians, drivers who cut me off, and all my other fellow human beings on this planet. And I want to rant and rave and shake my fist, blaming somebody for my encagement.

So I’m not completely baffled by the protesters’ rage. Just by them.

What Do We Know About The Sun?

I mentioned my agonizing sunburn up above. That’s what happens when you live in the Midwest and the sun comes out once or twice a month. You rush outside and bask in it, forgetting that it’s a ball of flames some 864.938 miles in diameter fed by a nuclear furnace whose emanations can turn any of our heretofore harmless skin cells into raging melanomas.

Honestly, as I sat roasting in the sun, all I could think of was how happy I was to discover the actual color of our earthly sky is blue and marveling at the Georgia O’Keeffe clouds flitting by, driven by a brisk breeze. After a couple of hours, I was inordinately happy — and burnt to a cinder.

If I were to admit to any one regret in my life, it’s that I’ve lived it solely in the Midwest, the states of Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana, inclusive. Why I never relocated to the Pacific coast with its mountains, ocean shores, redwood forests, Big Sur, caldera lakes, palm trees, mighty bridges, bright colors, and warm winters is yet another mystery I’m incapable of divining.

I almost made it in the early summer of 1974 when, fresh out of high school, I jumped into an old heap with an friend and struck out for San Francisco, visions of the Summer of Love dancing in my mind (even though the Haight-Ashbury of my fantasy by that year was long gone, replaced by a hellscape of heroin addiction). My friend and I got as far as the near edge of the Great Basin on Interstate 80. In the middle of the night as we approached the Utah-Wyoming border, I pulled the car over because I was feeling drowsy and the next thing either of us knew, a nodding driver slammed into our rear end at 75 miles per hour, sending us down a ravine and into the hospital and the heap to its well-deserved final resting place, a car compactor.

We never made it to the Haight-Ashbury, likely a stroke of luck for me, aimless and impressionable as I was at 18, but in the long run it sentenced me to a lifetime of harsh winters, endless stretches of overcast days, flat lands, and a nagging sense of what-if.

And the worst goddamned case of sunburn I’ve ever experienced in my life because, for pity’s sake, we Midwesterners too often forget the sun is a singeing, searing, broiling ball of fire.

Inside Dope

The Hill and others report that Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney, is busy writing “a tell-all book.”

Cohen

Acc’d’g to The Hill article, Cohen aims to have the book published by the November election. And sez comedian Tom Arnold, who’s his friend, “He’s pissed.” Arnold claims Cohen promises “to spill the beans.”

Lots of folks who loathe this presidency will be rubbing their hands together in glee. My advice to them? Chill, babies. Even if Cohen swears on a stack of Bibles that he once saw Trump stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, just for the sport of it, none in Li’l Duce‘s base will be swayed. Recall, if you will, the kicker of Trump’s boast to that effect: he “wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible!”

It sure is. Everything and anything about this presidency has been incredible. Hell, Donald Trump is the very dictionary definition of incredible, as long as we agree that the word means, “too extraordinary and improbable to be believed.” *

[ * From Merriam-Webster. ]

Mangia, Southeast Asian Style

Everybody’s cooking nowadays. I’ve been doing it since I was a late teenager. Hell, I’ve been making homemade bread since at least 1980.

For you newbies to the kitchen, I’ve got a nice little recipe for pad thai. I whipped this dish up Saturday night and am enjoying leftovers still. All the ingredients usually are available at Kroger or, if you’re of the ilk, at Bloomingfoods or Fresh Thyme. Here goes:

Big Mike’s Pad Thai

INGREDIENTS
  • 8 oz. Flat rice noodles
  • 3 oz. Vegetable oil
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. Salad shrimp, chicken or tofu, diced as needed
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Bean sprouts
  • 1 Red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 Green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 Limes, wedged
  • 1/2 cup Fresh cilantro, chopped
SAUCE
  • 3 tablespoons Fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoos Light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Creamy peanut butter
DIRECTIONS

Boil the noodles per the package directions, until just tender. Rinse under cold water. Set aside. Mix sauce ingredients together. Set aside. Mix the sauce ingredients well. Set aside. Heat half the oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat, garlic and bell pepper. (Cook the shrimp about 2 minutes; the chicken 3-4 minutes.)

Push all cooked ingredients to the side of the skillet. Add more oil and cook the beaten eggs in it, breaking them up with your spatula as they cook.

Add the noodles, sauce, sprouts, and peanuts. Toss well to mix thoroughly. Top with cilantro, the remaining peanuts, green onions and squeezes of lime.

Eat.

If you’re lucky, I’ll give you my recipe for my own potatoes, ham, cheddar, and broccoli au gratin the next time I post here.

These are treats for special days so, as a rule, remember Michael Pollan‘s haiku-ish injunction:

Eat food.

Mostly plants.

Not too much.

Every once in a great while I even follow his lead.

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