Everybody’s Looking for the Ladder

Very exciting day. I bought a ladder.

I’ve needed one, but I felt particularly motivated to do so today. All I have had in the apartment is a little stepladder. And a couple of light blubs went out in the kitchen. And so usually when I have to do that chore, I’m taking my life into my own hands. And I ain’t young anymore. So I went to Lowe’s and bought a six-foot ladder. It cost a bit more than I wanted to pay, it was about $75, but that’s peace of mind knowing I can change a light blub in here without being in danger of falling on my ass. I also made the run to Lori’s (sadly they were out of the pan loaf bread I like) and Palmer’s, where I got some pork chops and some ground beef.

My life is very exciting.

Am mostly in reading today and listening to the official 8WK Frank Zappa Spotify playlist. By the way, I’ve added a search term in profile links in the AITWK sidebar that a person could use to find me on that particular platform. I also just obsessively populated the “Music for Honkies” playlist, which is based on my Tumblr ( honkies.blog ).

Okay, back to my books.

But first

Merry Christmas 2020

It may be that I’m one of those stories where the person in Household A travels to Household B to visit for a while “just this once” on the holiday and ends up sending 75 people to the hospital, because this morning, I went and saw the family. There were waffles and bacon involved, and present-swapping, and getting to see DOD and Ellen, and getting to see my brother with his terrific novia*. It was a good visit.

It’s a weird drive over because everything is closed and there is barely any traffic. I pulled into the driveway and them dogs started jumping on the car. They like to see me because they know I always have dog treats. On the way in, I mentioned to Ellen that now I needed a car wash because the dogs had muddied up the driver-side door.

Ellen would later this morning give me a Royal Car Wash subscription card as one of my gifts.

So that worked out okay.

I have broken now into chapter 2 of one of my gifts, A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear. At the least, I can report that Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling is a proper wordsmith and storyteller, and I feel this book is leading me by my nose with a blindfold on, which is a good thing.

The family is doing Christmas dinner right now, but I’m too COVID-nervous to join. It’s probably safe. But Monroe County is at a 9.9 positivity rate at last count. That means that of all tests performed on Friday, nearly 10 percent were positive. This has been the rate consistently all of December. That’s not good.

If it’s at 10 or 15 percent, think of it like a heavy rain or thunderstorm. You need to be even more careful. Start limiting your activities. If the rate gets higher than that, think of it like a tornado. With a tornado you’d get in the basement and make sure your kids are safe. (William Haseltine, chair and president of the global health think tank ACCESS Health International)

(Quote via CNN.)

My take on to lock-down or not to lock-down: There are no right answers. Not really. Some pundit on the TV the other night characterized it like we’re all poker players now. We’re all weighing the risks. My conclusion today was that a several-hour visit over maple syrup and coffee was acceptable. But my Christmas meal will likely be noodles with meatballs rather than my Dad’s famous roast beast.

It’s Donald Trump’s idiocy and incompetence. We just live in it.

* “Novia” is Spanish for “girlfriend.” I’ve been fond of using it recently.

Zappadan 2020

Today is the last day of Zappadan, and it marks kind of a special number for its observers, as if Frank Zappa had continued refusing to die, he would have been 80 years old today. I didn’t do a lot of work here this year; the pandemic has kept me busy as I am one of the fortunate Americans who has continued to procure an income throughout. But there has been tweeting, there has been tumblring, and there has been Spotify playlist-making.

If there’s one tune I kept coming back to and often keep coming back to with Zappa, it’s “King Kong.” The best performance of this I have not found available on CD nor mp3 yet, it’s from this BBC show, 1968.

Among the fascinating stuff about this performance is that Bunk Gardner Ian Underwood seems to be plugged in, Eddie Harris style, something I’m not sure they ever did again. And of course, who gets the first big solo? Motorhead, who honks on a bari sax for several bars, though Underwood will use the amp to some effect later.

Then, boy oh boy does Don Preston freak out.

The tune, I feel, does what it says on the tin, as in, if King Kong were approaching you, say, walking across some river to shore, this is the theme song you’d hear.

Anyway, Merry Zappadan. And stay out of the ICU.

Aaron Make Soup

I had made a full jar of bone broth from ten spent drumsticks. This is easy with an Instant Pot. You put the bones in the pot with water up to the line, and you turn it on for 120 minutes, and it pulverizes the bones and mines all the good stuff from within. So this big jar of schmaltz was just there in my refrigerator, teasing me, I either gotta use it or freeze it. But it’s chicken noodle soup season so let’s go for it.

Three chicken breasts got seasoned and cooked in a slightly-greased cast iron skillet, three minutes a side on the stove top, then 7 minutes a side in a 400-degree oven. I’d go more like five minutes next time as the meat is still a little stringy.

Deglazed the pan with most of a can of store-bought chicken broth and some white wine, this gave me two more cups of flavorful liquid. Stuck the pan bqck in the oven to dry, then brought it out to cool and chopped five carrots and two celery stalks plus all the leaves, all chopping besides the leaves done on the bias. These went into a mixing bowl tossed with salt and rested for ten minutes, then tossed with a bit of oil and into the cast iron skillet, into the oven at 400 for 20 minutes to roast.

As many egg noodles and schmaltzy liquid that would go to the fill line went into the instant pot, and cooked for two minutes. A small amount of noodles did not fit. I just boiled those.

I like noodles via pressure-cook with some flavorful liquid. Rather than boiling with water, you are pressure cooking with salty yummy liquid, hopefully blasting that flavor into the noodles. Plus, it is quicker and there is no draining.

Now all ingredients into the pot. The noodles with the schmaltzy liquid, the roasted vegetables, the carved chicken breast, any other leftover liquidy yems, stir, and enjoy.