Monthly Archives: February 2009

Pot Roast

February 28, 2006, was Mardi Gras. It had been a stellar weekend and I posted three times that day: A Cinza das Horas, Demander la Charité, and Lundi Gras (this was originally posted February 27).

This evening I almost turned into a pot roast because one of my tires blew out on a busy bridge over the Mississippi River, as I was driving uphill in heavy traffic at 60 miles per hour. It was very dangerous and most harrowing, although I will say that it afforded me the otherwise unavailable opportunity of contemplating beautiful nighttime views of Baton Rouge while standing in the middle of this shoulderless bridge.

Fortunately I had made a real pot roast. To do it, I first drizzled the meat on all sides with olive oil and placed it in a cast iron pot. I doused it with a half cup of good cooking vinegar. I added a large can of tomatoes, a small onion, finely chopped, and a half a head of garlic, peeled. I simmered it quietly for a long time — at least three hours.

As the meat got closer to done, I added one Anaheim chile and three carrots, sliced lengthwise, three leeks, thinly sliced, four medium sized red and yellow potatoes, halved, two yellow crookneck squashes, thinly sliced, and one bunch of parsley, finely chopped.

I corrected the seasoning and removed the pot from the fire. I added one bunch of spinach and covered the pot, so that the spinach wilted. I stirred it gently and served with additional olive oil and balsamic vinegar as condiments.

Axé.

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Piano Lesson

It is no longer Carnival time, but it is the weekend, so we will sing! This song contains a piano lesson.

We will not sing the song I heard on the radio while driving, by a famous singer from the fifties, in which the speaker said he had told his driller he was quitting, but his driller knew he would be back This song was very macho and Republican, with a refrain saying something like “Ten days on, four days off, make good money, then have a ball,” and I heard it after spending several hours in a venue where people were discussing the survival gardens they are going to plant because Barack Obama is instituting socialism.

I have also been informed recently that many slaves would have preferred to remain in slavery, so that Emancipation was actually oppression. It reminded me of what I was told in Brazil long ago, that the Movimento Negro Unificado had been foisted onto Afro-Brazilians by Jesse Jackson.

Yes, it is clearly the fault of the Yankees, I said then. They have cast a spell on the head of your T-Neg and now the poor soul imagines he would like to be free. We used to say that back home, too, but those Yankee Negroes no longer allow us to speak God’s truth. The Brazilians did not like this very much but the parallel really is quite precise.

Axé.

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Al “Carnival Time” Johnson

The radio is still playing Carnival music, so I will, too … and introduce a song everyone should definitely know: Al Johnson on his very own Carnival Time. As lagniappe there is the more recent Mardi Gras Strut.

Axé.

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Entre el dolor y el placer

Entre el dolor y el placer median tres criaturas,
de las cuales la una mira a un muro,
la segunda usa de ánimo triste
y la tercera avanza de puntillas;
pero, entre tú y yo,
sólo existen segundas criaturas.

Apoyándose en mi frente,
el día conviene en que, de veras,
hay mucho de exacto en el espacio;
pero, si la dicha, que, al fin, tiene un tamaño,
principia ¡ay! por mi boca,
¿quién me preguntará por mi palabra?

Al sentido instantáneo de la eternidad
corresponde
este encuentro investido de hilo negro,
pero a tu despedida temporal,
tan sólo corresponde lo inmutable,
tu criatura, el alma, mi palabra.

–C.V.

*

It is Ash Wednesday and a new moon. On February 25th, 2006 we had not yet reached this point in the year’s round; my post for that day is archived here.

Axé.

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Mon couleur: violette

I am violet. “You surround yourself with art and music and are constantly driven to express yourself. You often daydream. You prefer honesty in your relationships and believe strongly in your personal morals.” You can discover your color here.

A

It is Mardi Gras. Happy Mardi Gras! You ain’t done sent me hardly no birthday greetings, so you had better come down to the Mardi Gras! All o’ y’all truck on down with a mambo swing! We are asking for you! Come see, cher! Iko!

B

“Capitaine, capitaine, voyage ton flag, allons aller chez l’autre voisin.”

Axé.

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Sugar and Rice

It is Lundi Gras and I am up the bayou. Listen to the original Jambalaya, it is really brilliant.

Les Mardi Gras s’en viennent de tout partout. Hear the Balfa brothers’ beautiful version of the ancient song.

Axé.

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Orpheus

Bacchus and Orpheus roll tonight! Here was Orpheus in 2007:

Axé.

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