Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The underground music scene

Lately the musicians who play for tips in the Davis Square T stop have been playing some really beautiful music. This morning, a guy on guitar wans playing something that sounded a great deal like Come Unto Jesus. I had to get on the train before I had a chance to talk to him, but certainly a few bars were the same.

And last week, there was a guy playing Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, on the trumpet. Very cool! I actually got a chance to talk to him for a minute, and mentioned that I knew the guy that had arranged the piece.

I was referring to Mack Wilberg, because what he was playing sounded just like the trumpet part in the choral arrangement I had sung in Men's Chorus. But he had never heard of Mack Wilberg, and mentioned another composer who had arranged the entire piece just for solo trumpet. I've been trying to remember the name for the last week, but I can't, and I'd really like to hear more than I got from a hurried morning waiting for the subway.

So I think I'm looking for a CD of brass setting of hymns. Any ideas, imaginary readers?


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I know I should have started thinking about this weeks ago, but I don't know what to be for Halloween. Ideally, it would cost less than twenty dollars, be super original and fun, and work as half of a couple costume. But two out of three ain't bad.

I hunted around this morning for a Captain Hammer t-shirt, but all the official ones my size are sold out. And.. you know... I want to do an official one if I'm going to do this.



PS - Going as one of the groupies is still an option. But I don't like that t-shirt as well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recipe fun time

My sweetheart-- let's call her Rainbow Brite-- had her sister in town last week, so we did a little cooking. RB's sister asked me what was my favorite thing to cook, and I said chili. It's a true American art form, like blues, barbecue, and silly t-shirts.

She said that she would like to try my chili, so I cooked some up on Saturday night and we enjoyed it with quesadillas. She then asked for a recipe, which I sent her by email. Here's the report:

Just ate dinner. Jeremy said, "This is easily the best chili you've ever made." :)


And as I rejoiced in having spread my meaty gospel, my thoughts turned (like Lehi) to my loved ones. Since this is the first time I've written the recipe down in several years, I thought I should share it with you, my imaginary readers. It's not the only way I make it, but it's probably the easiest version. Enjoy!

House of Payne Quick and Easy Chili


2-3 pounds lean (90% or better) ground beef
1 pound pork sausage (bulk sausage, not links or patties)
1-2 medium sweet onions, chopped smallish
2-3 cans (15 oz.) beans (pinto, black, or small red)
1 can (15 oz.)stewed tomatoes (or diced)
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped fine
1/4 cup brown sugar (or more if you like)

Spices: salt, black pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg,
cayenne (optional), cilantro (optional), oregano (optional).

Brown the pork sausage in a large pot. Do not drain. Add the beef and brown. Turn the heat down to medium-hot and keep it there. Shake on salt and pepper until it tastes good. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic. Shake on chili powder until it's pretty much all red. And add a little cayenne if you want-- about a half a teaspoon, I think.

(You can also do this using stew beef. Just substitute it for ground beef, follow all the above steps, and then put it in a crock pot and cook it for about 6 hours or until it completely falls apart. Then proceed with the recipe as follows.)

Add beans (no need to drain them, but you can if you like). Add cumin to taste-- maybe like a teaspoon or a half a teaspoon. Stir in the brown sugar. Add a tiny, tiny pinch of cinammon, and an equal amount of nutmeg. You don't need hardly any. Stir in tomatoes. Add a can of water or two if you want it thinner. And again, salt to taste. (Wait until it's almost done before you add the oregano and cilantro-- and don't use too much.)

Cook until hot and then serve with a sharp cheddar or some real sour cream. (You can also just turn it down to simmer for another half hour or an hour. This helps the flavors marry, but it's not essential if you don't have a lot of time.)

It takes about 20-30 minutes start to finish. Good luck, and bon appetit!

You're welcome! (And let me know how it turns out!)


Friday, October 09, 2009

Barack's Nobel Intentions

So apparently everyone in the Norwegian Parliament is in love with Barack Obama. The last sitting US President to get the Nobel Peace Prize was Woodrow Wilson. Let's compare their achievements.

Wilson ended the First World War (in which more than 15 million had been killed and more than 70 million had been mobilized) by sending US troops to break the stalemate and force the Germans to sue for peace. (Most historians now agree that Germany would not have been defeated without the US joining the war.) While the war was still being fought, Wilson drew up a 14 point plan for peace to make sure such wars would never happen again. After the war, he went to Versailles to negotiate the peace treaty. Unlike the other participants, he negotiated not to gain advantage for his country but to implement his plan for peace for all the world. And he founded the League of Nations, a predecessor to the United Nations. All of this had been accomplished when he was awarded the Nobel.

Barack Obama has given several speeches which were well received, some of which were in foreign countries. He has promised to decrease the number of American troops involved in the war in Iraq, and has been publicly considering doing the same in Afghanistan. He has also talked about ending the practice of indefinitely detaining enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, although he has acknowledged that many of them will have to be indefinitely detained somewhere else. In other words, the US has not really been acting more peaceful.

He has also managed to wheedle a new set of promises out of Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, etc., which greatly resemble the previous set of promises given to Bush. But there is so far no sign that the behavior of any of these countries has changed in any substantive way. In other words, he has not persuaded any other country to behave more peacefully, either.

So, seriously Norway-- what the hell?


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Band Names Challenge

Read this Mark Steyn blog post, and pick out the best band name. My pick is Tripedal Catnappers, so just try to beat that if you can.