Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Monday, May 19, 2003
I’ve enjoyed ignoring the computer for a day or so.
Every day now the garden is giving up a few beautiful ripe strawberries for brief tours of duty on scoops of Graeter’s vanilla ice cream or hot waffles.
Ah, spring, we’ve hardly known ye. My beautiful phoenix-like rose bush is a riot of blousy rain-tossed blossoms sleepily upstaged by newly bloomed white hosta, a soon-to-bloom daisy variant and some spry looking beginnings to a couple of pumpkin vines. Pumpkin vines in my inner city front yard, though fenced and regularly patrolled, may prove to be one of my all time worst ideas…stay tuned!

A few weeks ago I posted my recipe for Roasted Pepper/Parsnip Soup and I hope I few daring souls attempted it if only for the fun of waiting for the grocery checker to ask of the parsnips, “What’s this?” Anyway, without sidetracking into the shocking vegetable illiteracy of our youth, I would highly recommend revisiting the recipe and eliminating the parsnips to create Cream of Roasted Pepper Soup. Amazingly delicious either hot or chilled and has a beautiful color. The recipe in brief:

Seed and section a Red and Gold Pepper. Drizzle with Olive Oil and a little Sea Salt. Broil until lightly blackened. Cool.
Sauté 1 chopped white Onion in ½ stick of butter. Add 4-5 peeled and chopped Garlic Cloves. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Add 5-6 cups of Chicken Stock and ¼ cup cream and bring to a boil. Remove skins from cooled peppers. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add peppers last 5 minutes. Cool. Process cooled soup in blender.
Heat and/or chill and serve

Fascist, by Michael Sharpe

On the news front I'm hearing more and more people say that they have banned cable TV news from their homes. Several people have told me that just briefly hearing a few well-known cable voices results in “throbbing” headaches. I think we are all going to have a headache before this upcoming election year is over no matter the position of your TV power switch.
My Midwestern health club is a microcosm of America in a hotbed of Bush country. The locker room televisions that I’m unable to switch off have been loudly tuned to FOX for the last several years and political conversations, not personal ones but the loud all-locker-room-can-hear ones, are few and far between. The Club is 140 years old and is largely ruled by tradition and the general consensus of older member opinion. Granted in these days of wild tattooing, body piercing and other particular male adornments one can acquire a wider eyeful of humanity than one may have wanted at 7am on a weekday morning than at any other time in the club’s long history.
A few particular members of known far right ideology have been recently taking loud all-locker-room-can-hear personal exception to some members’ ill-advised personal behavior. One mean little fellow with klannish tendencies has occasionally described his regular visits to the foulest pornographic recesses of the Internet to anyone so unfortunate as to be within hearing distance. He displays a Santorum-like knowledge of the minutia of sexual deviance. I’ve laughed over the years, as I’ve sat in the sauna or lulled in the whirlpool, observing this gentleman stalking some perceived impropriety and have generally written him off as a nut. But, today, he seemed more a dangerously directed kind of a nut and I’m afraid I lost my temper at his likely FOX-inspired all-involving excess.
I entered the club to his loud mid-stride speech demanding access to the computer entry records for the weekend. A friendly club employee met my eye and rolled hers knowing full well that this dude, when dead, will never get a bronze memorial lobby plaque.
As I dressed he, in a neighboring row of lockers, loudly described his weekend discovery of a tryst-like event in the steam room. I say tryst-like because he described only one transgressor and lets just leave it at that. Anyway, our sauna Sherlock suddenly turned Gestapo and described his demands for the offending member’s name and membership card with a great deal of, I’m sure, embroidered bravado and detail of imagined goings on. I noticed that he had one active listener with two other fellows hunched and non-participatory. By now I had finished dressing and was actively eavesdropping. Suddenly, our gentleman oblivious of the wedding ring on many an offender finger, escalated the rhetoric with a sweeping condemnation of all gay people and my personal camel back snapped. I stormed up to him and said, “J--- C--- guy I don’t even know you but I sure as hell know you’re the guy who hates queers. You know a lot of us come in here to work out and relax in quiet. But you seem to take it upon yourself to inform us all occasionally with your great knowledge of perversion. You know what I think, fella? I think you are a little too interested.” His listening friend stormed up and said to me, “All of you people…” I pushed up into his face and said, “What people? What are you accusing me of being?” Sherlock shoves his arm between us as his buddy backs down and says, “Nobodies accusing you of anything.” I said, “Listen, I’m not saying the actions you’ve described are right. I complained to management about this very thing. I just don’t like having to listen to you.” I left to jeers urging a return to “talk” that escalated into accusations of the same complicity I had interrupted except now directed at me. Forgetting my Discman, I returned to the scene of the crime and said to the still hunched men in the locker row, “I’m sorry for yelling but the guy bugs me and you guys are old enough to know Fascist speech when you hear it."
I, for one, am not going to let it go unchallenged.

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