Hunger ~ It Comes In Many Packages

Yeah, I’m a running a tad behind with this round of theme music, Hunger.  These things happen when you don’t pay attention to what day of the week it is AND you leave your timer somewhere out of sight so you can’t press the set hour time alarm button.  I have no idea where the little green device is–except that it is somewhere in the house. Somewhere being the operative word.  Time seems to be what I hunger for the most lately. As for hunger for food–don’t get me started.  Other hunger costs more than a quarter a day to satisfy.

alt- J ~ Hunger of the Pine ~

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Bob Wayne ~ Hunger In My Soul from Till the Wheels Fall Off

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As soon as I read Bear’s theme choice was hunger this song came to mind–so here it is, complete with a fun fan compiled visual handbook . . . . hmmmm, yeah.

Meatloaf ~ You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)~

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I couldn’t resist–sorry. Not.

Feed Me Seymour ~ Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors © Geffen Company / Warner Brothers
Sung by Rick Moranis as Seymour & Levi Stubbs as Audrey II

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Reality Checks In:

Birds of Tokyo ~ This Fire

What can you buy with twenty-five cents?  One answer is at — The World Food Programme’s 10 Hunger Facts for 2014:

http://www.wfp.org/stories/10-hunger-facts-2014

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I’ve spent some time on the fence arguing with myself about including this dark hunger story from MadArstistPublishing.  It’s here, enough said. Right?

music = Turkey in the Straw

Who’s Hungry?

MadArtistPublishing

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Breasts: boys’ toys or best baby food ever?

Have you had your silicon implant fix today? Hmm?

This is a miss-take on the old sensual Saturday music themes of old. If this breast talk offends anyone I’m not apologizing because, after all, breasts have been around as long as humans in any variety. Without them Homo sapiens wouldn’t be here. Newsflash– baby formula is a profit motivated industry and boy oh boy, have modern folks bought into it big time.  In the OLD days, if a mother couldn’t feed her baby for some reason, then a wet-nurse was found to provide sustenance. Yes, other women fed the babies of other mothers. Imagine that.

* Now consider what this is all about:

Is that sexy or what? Hmm? I’m still waiting for the male underwear model version of this to hit prime time television.  Anyone got any information on THAT? What?!

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Hmmm, just another profit driven industry?

Or?

Is all this breast business really all only sexual attraction?

Medical reconstructive surgery for breast cancer patients aside, of course.

Ironically, sex, not the stork,  is the means for procreation. Shhhh, don’t tell the people who don’t like sex education in schools about this or they may do something drastic to shut down the sharing of the facts.  Mother Nature doesn’t comprehend the people who are offended when women breastfeed their babies in public. Heavens forbid anyone should see the real thing doing what it was created to do. Does it sound like I’ve got an agenda here? Yeah, I suppose it does. Hmm….who’d have thunk it?

~

What do babies need? Food. Where does it come from? No, not from the Gerber factory.  It comes from some glands. Who knew?

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Wow, women have breasts for something other than filling out bikinis and bras for interested parties to ogle and grope. So much for second basing.

As for the next video, the Islamic element was unexpected but not distracting , and of all the videos I viewed on the tubes of you this one made the points that interested me in the manner I found most appealing today: bonding, nutrition, IQ, stress reduction.  The text flows a little fast for my reading speed so you might want to hit pause when a new frame appears.  I suspect there’s some irony loitering in between these lines at the moment.

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Why this post at this point?

It’s about time I got this off my chest.  🙂

I feel so much lighter already.

Comments? Questions? Funny stories?

Anyone care to share the money numbers on the breast implant or the baby formula industries?  If not, I’ll try to update with some $$$$ information when time allows.  Thanks for visiting. Refreshments are in your fridge. I’m having pistachios and pomegranate juice. 🙂 Cheers.

No, I’m not dead–yet. But I’m working on that development like all other living things.

Did I really say that?

Yeah, I guess I did.

Huh, who’d have thunk it.

 

Okay, hello to any interested parties. Yeah, that means you, Bearspawprint, Johnny, Charles, Dennis, LaBelleStudio, Lisa and whoever else who might have been wondering why I’ve been so MIA.  I’m not sure I’ve found something positive to post about at length. But while finally attending to my email –yeah, I’ve been an equal opportunity AWOL entity on more than the blogland front– a few thoughts crossed my mental landscape — nothing earthshaking, I assure you.  I hope this finds everyone enjoying some part of being alive at the moment of reading.  If not, it’s my understanding that there are seven seasons of True Blood available for viewing online to help with your perspective. Or perhaps not. Do you get the idea as to why I’ve not been posting for some time? Hmm?

One:

While I’ve been absent from my blogcasa The Breakfast Special’s  Sarge and Lily–and their supporting cast, have been running amok for hundreds of pages. Currently I am not sure it’s a good idea on my part to continue posting their romantic adventure online. Thoughts on  the pros and cons of this issue are welcome.

Two:

Why the f*&k is Soy appearing in everything from mayo to bread to soup where it serves no purpose except as a filler? I have no affection for soy products as I am allergic to to soy–and its increasing presence in food items where it serves no value is pissing me off royally.  Ooops, this isn’t quite positive, is it? But I do feel better for venting. That’s positive relief. Frack Soy.

Three:

My ever delightful friend, Berit, shared this insightful commentary about rape culture in poetic form.  Nothing is perfect, but I do think it makes a point well worth sharing.  And anything that slams the TSA is right up my alley along with Freedom of Speech.  Hmm, the positive is in the poetry. Or so I’m thinking as I’m typing.  Hence, let me present Anna Binkovitz’s poem “Asking for it”.

Button Poetry

Published on Mar 27, 2014

Anna Binkovitz of Macalester College, performing during prelims at the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. Macalester placed 5th overall in the tournament.

Download the audio of this poem for free: http://bit.ly/1tZ49QM

Follow Button on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/SG5Xm0

About Button:

Button Poetry is committed to developing a coherent and effective system of production, distribution, promotion and fundraising for spoken word and performance poetry.

We seek to showcase the power and diversity of voices in our community. By encouraging and broadcasting the best and brightest performance poets of today, we hope to broaden poetry’s audience, to expand its reach and develop a greater level of cultural appreciation for the art form.

 

Four:

Lantern Journal Magazine can be found on facebook for anyone interested in a serious Art Journal.  At the moment I cannot paste a link to its website. I have no clue why.

Five:

I’m ending this post now before I start backpedaling like crazy before hitting the post button.  🙂

Fast Food Workers Strike today! Solidarity! Greedy CEO Cats have FATTEST paychecks.

In Solidarity

While I am not a fan of fast food– I am a supporter of workers earning a living wage and their right to unionize.

Exploitation is Exploitation is Exploitation.

Greed is Greed.

Without the workers there would be NO fast food.

Who makes your burger and fries?

Not the rich CEOs who refuse to share the billions in  profits with the people who do the work.

Who makes $9,220 per hour?

CEOs.

Some fast food workers  LIVE on that amount of money for an entire year while working FULL time.

Finance Online

 

Can a CEO flame broil a burger or anything else? Would they ever work for the wages they pay their employees? I doubt it.

From Democracy Now! news coverage today, May 15, 2014.

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Fast Food CEOs Oppose Worker Raises Despite Making 1,200 times More Than Average Employee

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Democracy Now!’s web exclusive –Workers Charge McDonald’s With  Wage Theft

—> http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2014/3/19/video_fast_food_workers_charge_mcdonalds

Discover more Democracy Now! independent world wide news coverage  –> http://www.democracynow.org/

 

Please share in solidarity.

 

 

Guilty, Guilty Pleasures —>>> Major Crimes with Mary McDonnell and company

The last time I posted about a television show was in regard to the American remake of the Swedish crime drama The Bridge.  Today it’s to do a little promotional hype for Major Crimes starring the incredible Mary McDonnell. Season 3 of Major Crimes starts Monday, June 9 on TNT and I am so looking forward to it. This spin-off from The Closer featuring Kyra Sedgwick would be well worth watching simply because of Mary McDonnell’s great portrayal of Captain Sharon Raydor as a very strong, independent, and very, very smart woman who has the rules down pat–and a lot more. McDonnell’s interview with Travis Smiley explains a great deal for anyone who has not yet discovered Major Crimes. Even if you don’t enjoy crime drama I think it’s worth listening to McDonnell discuss the Raydor character, power, acting and the needs of human beings–and selling brushes.

Another plus for Major Crimes in its first two seasons was the story line involving Captain Sharon Raydor and material witness Rusty Beck. Watching their relationship with each other and the rest of the characters grow and evolve brought unexpected considerable depth and substance to this drama. The concept of family is redefined by example in a much-needed manner for the discussions it has the potential to provoke. Unlike The Closer which had a certain formulaic feeling to the episodes featuring Brenda Johnson’s considerable talent for lying and manipulating people into confessions even when raising all sorts of issues including ethical issues about the ends justifying the means, Major Crimes is making its own way into the future. If you want predictable resolutions of plot-lines there’s always Law and Order to fall back into the comfort zone of neat little black and white packages. This isn’t to say that the criminal cases aren’t closed and resolved in Major Crimes–they are–but there’s a lot more going on than stereotypical criminal behavior.

There’s a great deal more attention paid to serious issues like sexually abused children. “These boys aren’t runaways. They’re throw-aways.” So says a man running a shelter for teenage boys living on the streets of LA.  Now for a society in which the mainstream jabbers constantly about family values and loving children so much this is a brutally honest statement of factual reality.  Its consequences for boys like the Rusty Beck–and other characters–holds up a mirror that reflects our society as all truly great dramas of the stage and screen do.  Clearly there are not enough Sharon Raydors willing to step up and care in our real world.  In most drama storylines children are summarily deposited with the Department of Family Services  and conveniently disappear from the script. In the first two seasons of Major Crimes, Rusty Beck didn’t disappear–and the writers used his character to full advantage.  I can’t tell from the promos or website if the very talented Graham Patrick Martin will continue in this role–but for the sake of abandoned children trying to survive in a hostile world I hope so. Being saved  is not the end of anyone’s story.

Oh and by the way, Rusty Beck loves playing chess.

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Personally I think the fans on YouTube have made better promos for Major Crimes than TNT has dreamed up so far. Here’s a fun meet and greet video to get acquainted.

scorey5001

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A short and to the point promo. ) I get it, this is probably for short promo time slots.

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Mary McDonnell interview on The Travis Smiley Show. Yeah you want to watch. I think Smiley was very smitten. Oh yeah, he likes her shoes. Ah ha.

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This particular choice of song and images conveys a great deal about the relationship between Rusty and Sharon.  Clearly this matters to viewers as there are many music videos on the tubes regarding this relationship.

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Major Crimes Cookbook for the Sunshine Kids

Major CrimesTV

For more information or to order the Major Crimes Cookbook, click here: http://majorcrimestv.net/support-the-…

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For cast profiles and more information visit  Major Crimes online: http://majorcrimestv.net/

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I think I’m going to post more fan videos for Major Crimes on the sidebar. Yeah, I think I will. It’ll be fun–for me anyway.  I’ll make sure to find one with the scene where Sharon Raydor shoots a guy between the eyes with a red bean bag. Hey, he asks for it–literally.

UPDATE–the Beanbag scene is the headliner on the sidebar. Several of my favorite scenes follow along with some fan made videos featuring music. Charlie’s Angels is a hoot.

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As for The Bridge–it’s all dark and dreadful in America and Mexico.  In Sweden there’s darkness and light–plus resolution. I recommend watching both versions.

Breakfast Special, #41, Beez-wax

“Beez-wax”

Lily dropped spoonfuls of pork filling onto the masa while Rosa folded corn husks around the mixture.  She caught Rosa looking at her intently. “What is it, Rosa?”

“None of my beez-wax.” Rosa shrugged her delicate shoulders. “Priest’s old record player break? You and Sarge tired of dancing?”

Warning alarms went off in Lily’s intellect while her home people vibes perked up from their nap. “The record player is working fine.” Lily thought of the little “Do Not Disturb” sign in Anton’s distinct handwriting she’d found taped to the outside of her apartment door when she’d left to come upstairs to make tamales with Rosa. “We danced yesterday, just not as much as usual. Sarge’s feet needed a rest after all the time he spent in Mrs. Ling’s cold basement that’s all.”

“Hmm, his feet, si.” Rosa adjusted her arrangement of tamales in the steamer. “You weren’t in Ling basement. Why Lily look like she need a rest big time? Some other dance start-up?”

Lily scraped the last of the pork filling from the bowl for the last two tamales. After depositing the pork, she set the large spoon in the bowl and closed her eyes. “Why is everyone so interested  in if we’re having sex or not?”

Rosa gave a little laugh. “Oh funny one, Lily. You know why. Everyone wants know when you break cold shoulder streak. Hombres wait and see if Sarge stay or go. Mujeres wait and see if Sarge stay or go. Men watching Lily. Women watching Sarge.  They play wait and see game. Maybe they get some chicken soup and some bread. That simple. No sex means odds better chance for them.”  Rosa put the cover on the steam pot of tamales then turned to where Lily was still standing with her eyes closed. She put the empty bowl in the sink then pushed a chair against the back of Lily’s knees as an invitation to sit down. Taking another chair for herself, she glanced at the children in the other room before giving Lily her full attention. “Rosa got one tough question. No more for Lily today. Okay?”

Lily nodded and opened her eyes. “Just one. Promise.”

“Deal. Here we go. Lily holding back with Big Man because of what John do?”

Taken off guard by Rosa’s unexpected reference to John, Lily turned to face her. “Fuck John’s shit.”

Rosa’s eyebrows shot up with the force of Lily’s quiet reply. “Bueno John plan. Why Lily hold back?”

“That makes two questions.”

Not to be put off by what she considered a language technicality, Rosa held her ground. “No. Same question. You know what I mean.”

Lily sat listening to her home people vibes for several moments. “I’m not holding back. Not like your question means. I’m waiting. That’s different.”

Tapping her fingers lightly on the table, Rosa watched the children in the other room while she considered Lily’s response. “What for? Never know how much time we have with people, Lily. Don’t waste too much waiting.  Maybe Sarge right for Lily, maybe not. One way find out. Make a leap.”

Lily rubbed her eyes then scratched her scalp. “It’s not me who needs to make a leap, Rosa. It’s him. He’s a little stuck.”

“Oh? How about a push? Little push for little stuck. Like record player sometimes need to get to the next song. Nothing hard.  Tiny tap.” Rosa illustrated her notion with a very small movement of her fingers.

Lily looked away from her widowed friend and started thinking about last night’s hours’ long conversation with Sarge.  Closing her eyes again she focused inward on her now wide awake home people vibes.  She could feel Rosa watching her with concern. “Nope. No little tapping. No little pushing.”

“How about a big shove? Hm?” Again Rosa illustrated with her hands.

Lily shook her head. “No shoving. Sarge has been pushed and shoved a lot regarding his personal life, Rosa. That’s why he’s stuck right now. He wants to get unstuck.”

Rosa gave a two thumbs up sign. “Bueno. Let’s unstuck him. What need for that? Hmm? What the recipe?”

“Recipe?” Lily cocked her head to one side and stared at Rosa. “Recipe, hhhm, good idea, Rosa, let’s stir something up.” Lily drummed on the table with the heels of her palms. “Where’s the photo-copy you made of that little grey book?”

“What Lily thinking?” Rosa pulled her chair over to the cabinets.  Standing on it she took  the stack of photocopies from the top shelf. She climbed down as Lily brought the yellow and white pages to the table. “What we doing, Lily?”

Lily put a hand on the telephone books. “You ready to do some serious shoving and pushing, Rosa? You ready to play what Anton calls ‘mind fuck hard ball’?”

Rosa glanced at the photocopied book pages in her hands then at the telephone books. She held up the stack of photocopied pages. “Why? Lily got clue why Sarge got pimp book?”

“Ha.” Lily pointed at the pages in Rosa’s hands. “That book is the glue that’s got Sarge stuck. I’m damn sure it’s messing with his mind, Rosa. I think that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do. Lily thinks it’s about time that shit went right back to where it came from, his family.”

Rosa set the stack of photocopies on the table and stood thinking. She looked at the telephone books then at Lily and nodded. “Si, Rosa play ‘mind fuck hard ball’.” She smiled. “Like old times with Juan.” Her hips swayed as she did a little two step dance. She picked up the yellow pages and turned to the construction advertisements. Finding the pages Lily and Esther had shown her after she’d made the photocopy of the pimp book, Rosa laid it open on the table. “Rosa got ideas.” She and Lily looked at each other. “Lily got ideas.” Rosa flipped a corner edge of the stack of photocopies. “Mrs. Ling got lot mind game ideas. Let’s play.”

“Mrs. Ling? Really?”

Rosa laughed. “Mrs. Ling’s funny bones very wicked. Mind mess game her kind of game.” She went to her large oversized recipe book and turned to the inside back cover. She showed Lily the cartoon taped there. Lily whistled and her eyes opened wide with comprehension of the meanings of the images and the words.

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One way to make tamales –> http://whatscookingamerica.net/CynthiaPineda/Tamales.htm

Another way to make tamales 🙂

Making Tamales In Oaxaca Mexico

paradox398

In a Mexican village located on the coast of Oaxaca local women traditionally prepare tamales for a birthday celebration
The woman whose birthday it is works with her daughter in law and her sister in law. In the background you can hear the radio intermixed with “sounds of the campo” including children doing their English class homework.
When new banana leaf is needed, one woman steps from the shelter to harvest some leaves from a banana tree.
The chickens to be future tamales scurry the ground.
As the birthday woman continues to assemble what will be 500 tamales, her grandson plays mañanitas, the traditional Mexican birthday song on the instrument he is learning in school.

Fast Food = Romaine Lettuce Boats

Who says fast food has to be bad? I’m here to tell you it can be fresh, crisp, and tasty with sweet crunchy omega-3 tuna-fishing delightfulness.

Got some romaine lettuce loitering in your fridge? Red or green leaf lettuce, even large spinach leaves will also do in a pinch.

How about a can of tuna? My tinned tuna of choice comes by way of the Genova brand. It has nothing but tuna, olive oil and sea salt inside the metal container. It also comes with water sans olive oil. There is none of that mysterious “vegetable broth” of unknown origins soaking into shredded tuna strands with obnoxious filler soy on the side. Pry open a can of Genova tuna and discover solid hunks of tuna, the likes of which is generally an unknown ingredient in what often passes itself off in cans of tuna processed by American food companies. If anyone knows of another brand offering a similar or better quality of affordable tuna-fish, I am all eyes and ears for that intel.

Instead of mayo haul out some plain or vanilla flavored yogurt. I generally spoon and spread some of Dannon’s All Natural Vanilla across the lettuce leaves. I like this yogurt because it has ONLY four ingredients–milk, sugar, vanilla and pectin. I know what those things are. I can pronounce each and every one of them. None of them pose an allergy threat to my physical health and well-being. My sincere thanks to Dannon for a non-soy, non artificially sweetened yogurt product.

After you’ve painted the romaine with a thick coat of creamy fresh yogurt, fork some tuna down along the center. The quantities are entirely up to you. I’m just here sharing my ingredients of choice.

Last, but not least, toss several sweet pickle midgets along the center line.  If you’re not in a rush you might dice them up and mix them with the tuna and yogurt. But this is not a necessary step for your taste-buds’ happy happy joy joy meal time. The beauty of these lettuce boats is the quickness with which you can sling the yogurt, tuna and pickles into the crisp green boats, fold them in half or roll them if you’re so inclined. If all the ingredients are at home and at hand, you’ve got a meal in five minutes or less. It all depends on how fast your hands make way.

YUM!

bon appetit

 

Enjoy the Absolutely Delicious Beauty of All Things Pie via The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen are sisters, pie-makers, and authors of a pie making book that tempts you to indulge hedonistically in the art of pie on multiple levels. Indulge in eating and making to your heart’s content with their help via their very beautifully rendered ‘cookbook’: The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, Uncommon Recipes From the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop.  This pie making cook-book does double time as a coffee table art book thanks to the photography of Gentl & Hyers.  Indeed, their lens work should get you searching out the Elsen sisters’ pie shop if you’re anywhere in NYC ever. If you’re not in walking, taxi, or bus range of this pie shop then you’ll have to rely on their sumptuous pie making book to create pies all on your own. Don’t fret though, the photographs do more than make your salivary glands work overtime–there are excellent photos and illustrations of everything from mixing crusts, to how to do lattice-work pie top crusts to up close portraits of finished–and eaten pies. There are recipes for Apple Rose Pie, Lavender Honey Custard Pie, Gooseberry Galette, White Nectarine & Red Currant Pie, Plum Fig Pie, Concord Grape Pie, Green Chili Chocolate Pie, and Grapefruit Custard Pie. There are eleven different crusts –yeah, they’re not limited to the old standby of lard, flour and water, though that is presented for those not quite ready for Pistachio Coconut or Pecan Biscotti Crusts. The text is clear-cut, well written, thoughtful about not assuming the reader knows all the Elsen sisters know about making pies to swoon for. They’ll give you an informed by experience heads up about tools and ingredients so that even a beginner can take a run at creating decadent tummy yum yums. It’s ALL VERY VERY GOOD.

So you can see all for yourself here’s the link to Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ delightful website –> http://www.birdsblack.com/

Make a cyber visit now–if you love pie, you won’t regret it. Oh and if you are looking for a book gift for someone you adore, I highly suggest procuring two copies. Yeah, if you’re IN to pie, you are going to want one of these beauties for yourself.  Oh how I love my public library where I, far far from NYC,  discovered this gorgeous book of devilish pie delights.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds

439 3rd Avenue (at 8th Street) Brooklyn, NY 11215 

MONDAY TO FRIDAY: 8am–7pm
SATURDAY: 9am–7pm
SUNDAY: 10am–6pm

If you’re in Brooklyn, then what the hell are you waiting for? Go get some great pie! Eat a slice or two for me while you’re at it.

The Last Trapper ~ Le Dernier Trappeur ~ ~ “The Art of Living in Harmony With Nature”

I viewed a very compelling trailer for this film some time back. Today I came across the full film on YouTube and decided it was worth sharing here for other interested parties to also discover. Keep in mind that nothing is perfect and enjoy. Your thoughts are kindly requested.

The Last Trapper  ~ Le Dernier Trappeur

Carlos Porto

Published on May 26, 2013

The art of living in harmony with nature.
For over 20 years, Nicolas Vanier, an untiring voyager in the coldest of climes, a veritable Jack London of modern times, has criss-crossed the wildest regions of the far northern lands. His travels include major expeditions in Siberia, Lapland, Alaska and of course Canada, where he recently undertook an incredible White Odyssey: 8600 kilometres covered with a team of sledge dogs, from Alaska all the way to Quebec. It was during that crossing, on the floor of a sumptuous and inaccessible valley in the Rocky Mountains, that Nicolas met the man who inspired him to make this film, a film that has lived within the man…
He’s a 50-year-old trapper named Norman Winter, and he lives with a Nahanni woman, Nebaska. Norman has always been a trapper, with no need of the things that civilisation has to offer. He and his dogs live simply on what they produce from hunting and fishing. Norman made his sledge, snowshoes, cabin and canoe with wood and leather that he took from the forest and that Nebaska tanned, in the traditional style, just like the Sekani did in early times, using the tannin in animal brains, then by smoking the skin. To move around, Norman uses his dogs. They’re quiet, and with them he’s ready for action at the slightest sign of life, but all the while attentive to the majestic grandeur of the territories he passes through. That’s why Norman Winter is a trapper. The Great North is inside him and Nebaska carries it within her, in her blood, for the taiga is the mother of its people…
Norman and Nebaska know that a land only lives through its intimate links with the animals, plants, rivers, winds and even colours. Their wisdom comes from the deep and special relationship they enjoy with nature. When Norman Winter follows an animal’s trail, he studies it for a long time, to understand the animal’s exact perception of its environment. He knows how to free himself from the immobile image that a land evokes, then to “enter” it by comprehending what it is. To understand that is to sense the unmistakable breathing of the earth, it’s to understand why Norman Winter is the last trapper and why he turned his back on modern life, that he compares to a slope we slip down blindly. Norman is a sort of philosopher convinced that the notion of sharing and exchange with nature is essential to the equilibrium of that odd animal at the top of the food chain: Man.
That’s what this film, made over 12 months, will present, overlaying treks on horseback during the Indian summer and by sledge in the depths of winter, a canoe ride down a raging river at the bottom of a majestic canyon and attacks by grizzly bears and wolves…

Note: The closed captions option works when viewing on YouTube.

Breakfast Special, #36, Szechuan Shrimp Lo Mein

“Szechuan Shrimp Lo Mein”

“Hey, Sarge.”  Lily leaned against the fridge wondering how to tell him he was welcome to stay without it coming across as if she was expecting a great deal more than either of them was ready for at the moment. She asked herself just what exactly she was really ready for, but before she could reply to herself, Sarge was in the kitchen holding a large round hot pink Tupperware container and grinning like a little kid who’d just found the best prize ever inside a box of cracker jack.

“Guess what this is, Lily.” He repeatedly flipped the container over and over showing his complete confidence in its ability to remain fully sealed while in motion.

Lily looked at his happy-as-all-get-out-hazel eyes and sighed. She grabbed hold of the container to stop its motion and peered at the milky white bowl. “Hmm. Looks like lo mein noodles.” She looked closer. “Is that shrimp I see? Open it! Open it!”  Sarge set the container on the table and obliged her. Lily leaned in close and sniffed. “Oh hot damn, Sarge. Is this Mrs. Ling’s Szechuan shrimp lo mein?!”

“Indeed it is, Lily. Guess what’s for dinner, unless you were planning on poaching some eggs, of course.” He winked at her, stood with his hands behind his back, rocking from one foot to the other clearly excited with having brought this delicious dish home.

Lily shook her head hard enough to send her hair flying. “No. Oh no. Mrs. Ling’s Szechuan shrimp trumps everything including eggs. How did you get this?”

“Unscheduled basement flood emergency complete with blown fuse box. Yeah. It was worth wading around in that damn cold water for this.” He held up the Tupperware lid. “And this too: her coconut cookie recipe.  Is this a major score or what, Lily?”

Lily took the lid from him and read the recipe. “O yeah, you scored big time, Sarge. No one makes better coconut cookies than Mrs. Ling.  I’ve never had any better even in that fancy bakery in M- or anywhere else for that matter.  Wow.”

Sarge sniffed the air. “Is that dinner I smell?”

“Yes, I think dinner is set. You hungry?”

“Starving.  If you’ll warm it up, I’ll get cleaned up. “

“Go! Go! Go! Hurry up! I’m dying for some spicy shrimp.”

Walking backwards towards the bathroom, he said, “You have chopsticks, right? Eating lo mein with forks is just plain wrong in my book.”

“Do you really have to ask?”  Lily laughed as she pulled out a pan for gently warming up the shrimp lo mein.

Five minutes later they were spearing shrimp and twirling noodles and playing with their food on the way to their mouths.  “Is everything Mrs. Ling makes this good?”

Lily nodded. “Everything she’s brought to a potluck has always been good, but this and the coconut cookies are her best as far as my taste buds are concerned. I think she’s got some secret with the shrimp.  Anton has been trying to figure it out, but so far he can’t pin it down. Mrs. Ling likes having her food mysteries, so she’s not saying.”

“When I tried this at that first potluck, I couldn’t get enough. It disappeared really fast too.  Oh hell this is so good.” Sarge ate a shrimp and rolled his eyes. “Yeah, she’s doing something with these little beasties all her own. I wonder what else needs fixing in that building.”

Lily laughed and pointed at the list on the fridge. “It’ll be interesting to see what other top choice meal deals you bring home as you work through those repairs requests.”

“Mmm. I wonder if I could work out some regular meal trades for bread. What do you think?”

Lily stuffed a bunch of lo mein into her mouth and nodded as she chewed. “Worth a try. Everyone seems to like one kind of bread or another.” She speared a shrimp and offered it to him. Sarge promptly accepted it. “Yeah, bread deals for sczechy shrimpies, oh Gloria’s pierogies, maybe some of Harold’s buffalo sausages. Hmm. O yeah, Sarge, there are plenty of primo meal choices around the Flats for trading bread.”

“Mrs. Ranoli’s turkey cherry lasagna.”

“O yeah.” Lily laughed and they both dug into their bowls. She looked over at the list on the fridge again then back at the man enjoying his shrimp lo mien score.

Sarge caught her eye action and leaned back in his chair. He waited to speak until he’d swallowed and had a sip of tea. “What’s on your mind, Lily? Hmm?”

She sucked on the ends of her chopsticks for a moment and looked at the list then back at Sarge.  With a little shrug she said, “There’s a lot of work on that list of yours. More on the main one that you’ve written your name by. That one on the fridge alone must be about thirty hours of full-time work all by itself.”

Sarge looked at the list and nodded. “Yeah, more or less depending on what I find when I actually get into seeing what’s messed up.  A lot of that needs some serious attention as soon as possible. That’s why I took them. If there’s something electrical I can’t handle then Ricardo probably can. Anything like that at least I’ll save him the time and trouble of finding the problems.”

Lily set her chopsticks across the top of her bowl then pushed her hair behind her ears and mentally jumped. “Sounds like a good working plan. But how are you going to do all that and work full-time dock hours too?”

“I have that worked out with Oscar already. Starting from whenever he can open up the docks for freight as usual I’m taking two weeks vacation. That should let me get through the really bad stuff and anything else that decides to blow in that time.” Sarge suddenly realized he hadn’t discussed any of this with Lily. “Um, that is if it’s okay with you that I’m still hanging around here, of course.” He held his breath while watching her intently and bracing for negative impact verbally and/or physically for his oversight.

Lightly tapping her fingertips on the sides of her bowl she nodded. “Yes, it’s okay with me, as long as you still want to be hanging around here. That vacation time plan sounds good. Though it’s not much of a vacation for you, is it? Not exactly a trip to the Caribbean to get away from the snow and cold for a fun time.” Lily watched for any reaction from him regarding the indirect reference to the travel receipt in his coat pocket. He offered none that she could discern via direct observation nor her home people vibes and a certain small tight knot eased in her stomach.

“Oh I beg to differ, Lily. I’m having great fun with the whole shebang.” Unconsciously he lowered his head enough so that he was looking at her through the hair covering his eyes like a sheepdog who thought he’d narrowly escaped permanent banishment from its chosen human’s company forever. “Nasty garbarge disposal tricks aside, of course. But even those have their upsides, like baths and Lily swirlies.”

“Are you really enjoying everything, Sarge?” she said softly while glancing down into her bowl then at him then into the bowl again. “Even pushy Lily swirlies?”

Realizing she was talking about more than the work concerning the repair list, Sarge leaned slightly forward over the table. Wondering if a solid chance with Lily was now coming his way, he said, “Yes, I really am, Lily. I’m having a great time with you here in the Flats.” Seeing her sharp cheekbones suddenly flush brightly, he pushed his hair away from his eyes to keep from reaching out and touching her red streaked cheeks and said softly, “Lily, I don’t want any of it to stop: not the sharing breakfasts; not the dancing with you; not the bread baking; not the crazy repair work or minding Marianna on a tough day.”

Lily nervously twisted her fingers in her hair and smiled. “That’s good, because I’ve been having a great time having you here with me in the Flats. I don’t want any of it to stop either, Sarge.” She glanced at the list on the fridge again. “Since everything is working for both of us, then it doesn’t seem to make any sense to change things that don’t need changing, at least not to me.”

“Not to me either.” Hoping she couldn’t hear how hard his heart was pounding as he waited for her to share the rest of her thoughts, Sarge moved his hands under the table and tightly gripped his knees. “This is your home so it’s entirely your call when I stay or go.”

“You’re very welcome to keep staying here as long as we’re both agreeing with each other.” She shrugged a little and listened to her home people vibes murmuring softly. “Or whatever combination of here and your place makes sense when your vacation is over.”

“Okay, thanks, that sounds good to me.” Feeling awkward in spite of their mutual agreement, Sarge tried to find a way to create a more concrete and literal balance in the scenario.  “My place isn’t nearly as . . .  comfortable . .  as yours.  But it is a lot closer to the college. Maybe it could be useful to you somehow. There’s plenty of room for a study space all your own. Usually it’s pretty damn quiet too, even when Kozy is working on something downstairs. He won’t mind at all if you wolf howl your lungs out. Might rattle some of the guys on the docks, but hey, it would give them something different to talk about.” Sarge thought for a moment, searching for something else to offer her very practical sensibilities, he added, “There’s a bus stop close by for the long route that goes from the west end of Falls direct to M- and back. It’s easy to make a transfer connection to and from the Flats in several places.”

Understanding the balance Sarge was trying to create with the sharing of their individual spaces that he was offering her, Lily hummed with internal excitement while managing to respond calmly with quickly growing real interest. “Your place is near a bus stop for the long West-East route on the south side? That is very handy.” She tried, and uncharacteristically failed, to pin-point the stop location-based on her knowledge of the city bus system.

Encouraged by her tone and the gleam of genuine interest in her black eyes, Sarge did what he’d never dared to do in the five years he’d lived in the freight district on the second floor of Walter  Kozy’s warehouse, he invited another person, this particular woman, directly into what amounted to as his personally sacred for its highly prized privacy, living space. “When the bus routes are back on track, how about we take a ride to the freight district so you can have a look around my place? We could brainstorm some other ideas. Let’s see what works for both of us.”

Feeling suddenly oddly shy and disconcerted about this development regarding sharing his living space, Lily’s voice was hardly above a whisper when she said, “I’d like that. It’ll be like figuring out how to pool our resources with our different locations in the city.”

“Exactly.” Trying to contain his own nervous excitement, Sarge took a deep breath. “We can work things out as we go along. Switch it up until we find out what suits us both.” He waited for her to make eye contact again. “I’m game for keeping things working for both of us, if you are, Lily.”

“I am too. I’m in, Sarge.” She partly hid her smile with her hand for a few moments while quickly considering the doors that had unexpectedly opened between them. “I guess that’s settled then.”

Picking up on the fact that her voice had become quiet and soft and correctly interpreting it as an indicator of her excited yet very nervous state of mind regarding the content of their conversation and its implications for each of them, Sarge tried to put her, and himself, at ease before one or both of them began back pedaling for any number of rational reasons. “If you say it’s settled, Lily, then it is as far as I’m concerned. I meant what I said about it all working for me. Truly it is. If something isn’t working for you, just say the word and I’ll do my best to set it right.”

“Same here, Sarge. Two way street.” She walked the fingers of each hand in opposite directions towards and past each other across the table.

Sarge watched her finger action and laughed. “A two way street, eh? Do we need a stop sign or a traffic light for getting from one side to the other? I doubt either would stop you from jaywalking at will.”

Feigning innocence, Lily pointed at herself. “Me jaywalking? Never. Ah ha. You’re a very funny man, Sarge.” She pointed to the teapot nearer him for a refill of her cup.

“Apparently I have my moments according to your sense of humor.” He grinned while pouring more tea into her cup and then his own and caught sight of Mrs. Ling’s cookie recipe. “Do you think Rosa has any coconut stashed somewhere so we can try out these cookies tonight?”

“Probably. But we don’t need hers, not yet anyway, when we’ve got coconut aplenty right here, Sarge.” She pointed backwards towards the storage cabinets.

Sarge glanced at the cabinet then at the recipe. “What are we waiting for then, Lily? Let’s make some cookies.”

She got up, opened a cabinet, pulled out a large bag of shredded coconut and tossed it to him. “How about some Benny Goodman on the side? That work for you?”

“That definitely works for me, Lily.” He watched her leave the kitchen for the record player in the bookroom. When she was out of his sight, he stood up and spun around on the balls of his feet in a quick silent celebration of their agreement to continue living together and working on their evolving relationship.  Hearing static from the other room signifying the record player was now in action, Sarge froze with the realization that at this point in time he was already far beyond netting his former goal of getting to see Lily for a third or fourth time. He’d passed that goal weeks ago after the snow had first begun falling in earnest. Music came from the bookroom, but Sarge paid it no mind as Lily sauntered back into the kitchen with a preoccupied little smile on her lips. Catching his more than slightly stunned facial expression, she cocked her head to one side and came to a halt in front of him.

“You look like you’ve been hit with a dozen snowballs all at once, Sarge. What’s the matter? Shrimp lo mein, coconut cookies, Benny, and Lily more than you can handle at one time?”

sifat302sq

Sarge looked down at the black eyes shining up at him and gave her a wicked grin. “Careful, Missy, or you’ll find out real fast just how much I can handle all at one time.”

“Ooooo that sounds like a dare.” Lily grabbed the bag of coconut from the table and tossed it at him then followed it up with the empty Tupperware container. She was reaching for the cookie tin when he gently stayed her hand with his. Lily turned towards him and he quickly stole a light brush of a kiss on the lips then shyly backed away like a skittish deer retreating from the bright lights on a road at night. Tempted as she was to hedge him in between the kitchen window, table and sink counter with a chair to stand on in order to soundly return the favor of his affection, she paid heed to the sudden warning turn of her home people vibes and refrained from taking such an approach. Instead she smiled and blew him a kiss. “I like you too, Funny Man.” She winked and began dancing to the music while gathering the ingredients for Mrs. Ling’s cookies. A moment later he joined her efforts.

Lily smiled to herself happy in knowing that she’d read him well enough that, in spite of his verbal daring and spontaneous kiss theft, he clearly couldn’t handle more at the moment. Backing off from physically returning the kiss and letting him return from his retreat on his own was plainly the right plan of action as his quick, unhesitant jump into the cookie making preparations signified. As they moved into sync for baking and dancing, her home people vibes humming along with the music, she felt him edge a little closer physically like a wary stray cat getting comfortable with the notion of proximity to a human setting out clean water and food for it. Treating him as if he were indeed such a cat, she kept to the program with which they were both familiar and comfortable and refrained from making any sudden movements of her own, tempting as that was considering their new mutual agreement to keep doing what was working for both of them, namely living together, and expanding their domain by venturing into his living space on the other side of the city.

As she gradually added coconut to the dough Sarge was steadily mixing with a wooden spoon, Lily reflected on the information he’d shared piecemeal about his home on the second floor of the warehouse in the freight district. The main thing that came to mind was a sense of it being far enough off the city’s well beaten paths to offer privacy and peace, trains aside, yet close enough for easy access with some foresight regarding public transportation schedules. She considered the comparative lack of both privacy and peace here in the Flats and gave him credit for adapting as well he had without complaint to the local environment. Having done more than her fair share of adapting, which seemed never-ending for her, she knew how the stress of it could manifest in unexpected ways. It wouldn’t surprise her at all if that alone was responsible for his starts and stops when it came to physical closeness when they weren’t dancing or sharing a task. She factored in the intense and focused way he read, as if his mental space was his most prized possession, and thought she had a fairly good explanation for his behavior. If they ventured into deeper emotional and physical waters now, and if they had a falling out, his as well as her options for literal private physical escape from the situation in the current context were practically nil. He might sleep in the front room occupied by the back-up generator and Ricardo’s in-home warehouse of food and other supplies deemed necessary for survival in the winter months in this climate, but it was no place for him or anyone else to spend their days waiting for the city to return to enough normalcy to enable a return home. The ready rooms over at “sun rise” didn’t offer any better solution all things people context considered.

Unconsciously they leaned into and against each other while together carefully reading Mrs. Ling’s surprisingly fluent English translation of the instructions for the next steps in the recipe. After placing the cookie dough in the fridge then setting the timer, they gave their full attention to the music and put the waiting time to good use dancing.

Ray Adams

Lily gave herself up to the music Priest had shared with her in an effort to create for her a potential social bridge into another culture. Gran and her aging friends had joined in the music and dance efforts in order to encourage Lily and to get some sense of what Priest was trying to convey to her granddaughter. Now her home people vibes hummed with glee as Sarge, who held nothing back as a dance partner, twirled, whirled and spun her around the apartment as if this was the very best thing in the world to be doing right here and now.

Only after the coconut cookies had been baked and deemed satisfactory for first efforts with a new recipe, after they’d cleaned the kitchen, after they’d danced to the last song on the record and Sarge laid claim to the bathroom for a shower while Lily sprawled over the red velvet couch enjoying the view of the winter sky, only then did either of them take more than a moment to pause in order to reflect on their conversation over Mrs. Ling’s shrimp lo mien.

~~~

Breakfast Special, #1  ->  https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/breakfast-special/

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