Ham Hocks

So I did the Green Beans with Ham Hock and New Potatoes recipe from Food Network last night. This is what fresh green beans are for. The picture was taken after I’d devoured a bunch of it already.

The recipe is really perfect. You simmer two ham hocks for 45 minutes, which gets a bunch of yummy out of those knuckles. Then you throw in the beans with some sugar, and I think the sugar does more than add a bit of sweetness; I think it helps to break down that tough cellulose. I only had a pound of beans, so I used 1/4 cup of sugar. After they simmer a while, in go the potatoes and salt. The result is beans that are nicely seasoned, easy to gobble, and that still offer that somewhat resistant mouthfeel. The potatoes give up some starch to the beans at just the right time, I think.

Another observation: I have only worked with ham hocks once before, and I did not bother at the time to go hunting for meat. I did with these, and I was surprised how much good pork one can find from this hard-working part. To throw on some color, I threw these hocks into my air fryer for five minutes. Once I removed the fatty layer, but I was able to find maybe a quarter pound of really nice meat. Next time, though, I’ll save this step for later because it is a good bit of work, and the potatoes and beans do not need the meat. Why add another step while you have a delicious steaming bowl of beans and taters to serve? Save the carving for later; the meat will serve another purpose. I’m thinking spaghetti sauce or tacos.

Monday Already?

It was a good weekend I reckon, though not as productive as one might have liked. This seems common. I mean, sometimes, you just have to nap, I guess.

Dad came over for lunch Saturday, and we gave Joker another try. He brought ribs and sides from Sticky lips, and I had beer. I was pleased he finally got to enjoy the brilliance of this film.

Dude also brought me a cornucopia:

Believe me, half those tomatoes are already eaten and will probably be gone by day’s end. This morning will include a trip to Palmer’s for bacon and ham-hock and to Lori’s for pan loaf and ogrets. I think a B-T sandwich is in order, and the ham-hock will be used in the stewed beans recipe below. And yes, there was a bag of basil as well, so there will have to be pesto.

Later that day, I took delivery of my Ooma, two days early. So now that big red phone actually has a dial tone.

Unfortunately, the first test—my weekly marathon call with my Mother—was not necessarily a success. I dropped her call twice. I am thinking it is because I used the 2.4 GHz rather than the 5 GHz on my home network. I was using the Ooma app so I could still access my airpods, and it just dropped the call. We’ll test it again next week.

The idea of this is to re-establish a “home phone” line in my abode. Too often, someone calls, and I flat-out miss the call because my iPhone is on a desk over there, or the ringer is off, or it requires a charge. A good old-fashioned analog phone won’t lead to the same problem. I mean, it actually rings and everything, which just tickles me way too much.

There is more testing to be done before I disseminate the new number widely. I think we’ll get there.


One of the great discoveries that came out of my move to Rochester in 2011 was the great local radio station here, Different Radio WRUR and, specifically, a show that airs 6 – 9 p.m. Friday nights called “Rejuvination.”

Deejay Scott Wallace spins up a sublime collection every Friday of some of the most soulful soul music that exists. We’re talkin’ Soul Children, Tower of Power, Isley Brothers, Kool and the Gang, James Brown, Minnie Riperton, Sam Cooke, Solomon Burke, Junior Walker, King Curtis, and on, and on, and on.

And Wallace won’t shy away from good soul music from white artists, either. He’ll crack out a Laura Nyro tune from time to time, for instance, and this always furrows my brow a bit. But it fits. Nyro is, at heart, a soul singer. Says it right there in her most famous song. Stoned. Soul. Picnic.

And sometimes, he’ll play a little Jimi. I’m telling you, the man’s appreciation runs broad and deep.

I’ve been saving Wallace’s playlists for a couple of years now, and when I have time, I try to find those songs in Spotify, and I add them to my own playlist called, what else, “Rejuvination.” But Wallace’s own collection must be so deep because from time to time, I cannot find the track. Occasionally, Spotify errors out: “We’re sorry. The only person who owns this track is Scott Wallace of Rochester, New York.”

Okay. I exaggerate. A bit. But I’m telling you, the man’s collection is deep.

With the Trump Plague, we lost “Rejuvination” for a while. WRUR replaced it with some campy show featuring New Orleans music in the “shuckin’ and jivin'” genre. It was not what I was in the mood for. Each Friday night at 6, I’ve asked my trusty Amazon device to queue up WRUR, and every time since mid-March has been a letdown.

I mean, obviously, I’d rather the man stay at home through this as we all have had to do. But man, that Friday night jolt of gettin’ on the good foot sure would have made this easier.

Now, I work at home, and I work nights. So had my meetup mic had been open at 6 p.m. last night, my co-workers would have heard a 52-year-old man jump and holler.

Because Scott Wallace is back.

I drank in yesterday’s show like I’d been lost in the desert and someone just brought me a tray of margaritas. What a cap to the week.

Nobody Likes Him

So — you know, it’s interesting: [Dr. Fauci]’s got a very good approval rating, and I like that. It’s good. Because remember, he’s working for this administration. He’s working with us, John. We could have gotten other people. We could have gotten somebody else. It didn’t have to be Dr. Fauci. He’s working with our administration. And, for the most part, we’ve done pretty much what he and others — Dr. Birx and others, who are terrific — recommended.

And he’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect — and the administration, with respect to the virus? We should have a very high, because what we’ve done in terms of — we’re just reading off about the masks and the gowns and the ventilators and numbers that nobody has seen, and the testing at 55 million tests; we tested more than anybody in the world. I have a graph that I’d love to show you — perhaps you’ve seen it — where we’re up here and the rest of the world is down at a level that’s just a tiny fraction of what we’ve done, in terms of testing.

So it sort of is curious: A man works for us — with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Birx also highly thought of. And yet, they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That’s all.

Or because you’re doing a shitty job.

I mean, can you imagine a more pathetic, whiny statement from any other preznit? Gravity crush, that is astonishing.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert (Asshole Party, Texas), who has spent as much time as possible marching around without a preventive face covering, was diagnosed with the COVID. And, he decided it was best to inform his staff in person.

The schadenfreude needs to not be so out of control. I HOPE HE HAS RESPIRATORY ISSUES FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE shhhhh….

Top Five

I wonder if Chris Rock has a t-shirt that says “I Made One Of The Best Movies of 2014* and All I Got Was Three Critics’ Choice Nominations.”

I’ve been talking up Rock’s Top Five to my Dad for a while now after having re-watched it recently. We finally sat down to watch it today, and I could probably put it back on again now and enjoy it just as much.

Top Five features Rock playing fictional comedian and actor Andre Allen, who is tasked to give a-day-in-the-life press availability to “Times” reporter Chelsea Brown, played by Rosario Dawson. Allen, best known for a cop-buddy franchise called Hammy the Bear, is trying to swim out of that current with a serious film about the Hatian slave revolt of 1791. But all anyone wants him to be is Hammy.

Chelsea Brown proves to be an intrepid reporter, chipping away at Allen’s shell until she finds the cracks. This setup launches a movie that is 80 percent dialog and story over action, a difficult presentation to make riveting. But we’re talking about Chris Rock here. Top Five never stops being funny, entertaining, surprising, and utterly smart, even when it’s being a little gross.

Top Five may well be in my top five. It is a good, solid comedy.

And, oh, here’s mine: M.C. Serch, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Chubb Rock, Missy Elliott. If I get a sixth, it’s Earl Sweatshirt.

*Yes, 2014. The same year that Birdman won the Best Picture Oscar. Disgrazia.