In spite of everything, it was a pretty awesome weekend

There’s nothing specific that I want to write about today, so I’m just going to ramble for a bit. I told my son, I’d watch It Came from Outer Space with him before bed tonight, and I figure I’ve got about an hour. We’ll see how much I can cover in that time.

This was a good weekend for us. As a former vegan, I have some shame in saying this, but I ordered a lot of meat last week, and it showed up just in time for dinner on Friday. I ordered country ham from a place in Kentucky near to where my people are from, and I ordered a brisket and some ribs from the Salt Lick, which is an historic BBQ place about 20 miles outside of Austin that I have positive associations with. [My friend Dave took me there once, about 20-some years ago, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.] Buying meat by mail-order isn’t something that I’d done before, and I guess I must have triggered some kind of fraud alert at the bank. They called Linette, who had to come and find me, and ask whether or not it was true that I’d spent our weekly food allowance on smoked and cured means. I wasn’t going to keep it a secret. I’d just wanted to find the right time to tell her. But the bank foiled my plans. And now everyone in my house thinks that I was planning to keep the meat to myself… Here’s the country ham and biscuits that I made.

I’d been trying to stay away from gluten, but my 15 year old daughter, who we’ve let handle out online food ordering for us, decided for some reason to get us a 25 pound bag of flour. And, after staring at it for a few weeks, I finally broke down, found my grandmother’s old rolling pin, and got to work. [Tonight we’re having yeast rolls.] I suspect it was the big bag of flour, sitting on the kitchen counter, that got me thinking about country ham. I have really happy memories of waking up at my grandmother’s house in Liberty, Kentucky, to the smell of her and my great grandmother cooking country ham and biscuits. And I guess it’s just a smell that I wanted to experience again… It’s funny the kinds of things that come to the surface in stressful times like these, isn’t it?

So, yeah, I ate an inordinate amount of meat this weekend. We also broke down and drank our last bottle of wine. It was nice. The whole weekend was nice. The weather was perfect, and, for the most part, I just hung out in the yard with the kids. It was, I believe, the first weekend since all of this started that I didn’t just work straight through. [I’m not going to complain, as I know a lot of other people, especially those in the health care field, have it worse, but my work has become quite a bit more taxing as a result of the pandemic, and it’s been keeping me busy pretty much every waking hour.] And it felt really good being off the computer, not just not working, but also not reading the news. I’m sure terrible things happened this weekend, as terrible things are always happening right now, but, for the most part, I stopped paying attention last week, when the Michigan Militia stormed the capitol with guns to demand that they have the “freedom” to get haircuts, ride jet skis, and die alone on ventilators. And, this morning, I noticed that the white parts of my eyes had turned white again.

I wasn’t completely screen free, as we watched Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford in George Cukor’s 1939 film The Women, but, for the most part, I was just reading books with the kids, working in the garden, and cooking. Oh, because I tend to go down popular culture rabbit holes, I also watched Shearer in 1924’s troubling silent film He Who Gets Slapped with Lon Cheney, which, by the way, was the first feature film produced MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). [Here, if you’ve never seen the film, is a link to a clip of Shearer and Cheney. And, here, for good measure, is a clip of Shearer and Crawford from The Women.]

He Who Gets Slapped is about a scientist who, after having both his career-defining discovery, and wife, stolen by a member of the academy, chooses to become a clown… a clown whose act involves his constantly being slapped… a clown who eventually takes the lives of his tormentors by way of a lion.

OK, I don’t have much more to say. I had a good weekend. The best one in a while. I finished a Three Investigators book with my son in the yard. My kale crop is coming in nicely. And I’ve started building a strange kind of structure in my back yard out of harvested tree limbs and sections of harvested grapevine. I’m not yet sure what it’s going to be, but it’s been fun to have a small creative project that I can work on with my son. [My daughter says she doesn’t have the time to help me, but I was able to coax her outside for a half hour of badminton today, so I was happy.]

Well, I just broke down, checked the news, and saw that Donald Trump, appearing on Fox News, said that he’d been treated worse than Lincoln. [Abraham Lincoln, for those of you who are new to America, was shot through the head in 1865.] I’m proud of myself for staying away as long as I did.

There was more that I wanted to say, but that’ll have to be in for now. I hope you are all well, happy, etc.

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  1. iRobert
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    The important questions right now are; Where are we going to put the Trump Monument? How much bigger than the other monuments should it be? And Why wait another moment before beginning construction?

    Which face or faces should we remove from Mount Rushmore, to make room for the Trump addition?

  2. iRobert
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The inscription on the Trump Monument should include, “He endured so many nasty questions from the fake news, and yet he continued to tweet as a hero.”

    “The phone call was perfect. It was beautiful.”

  3. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink


  4. John Brown
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I found that post vicariously relaxing. Thanks. Except now I have a phantom salty ham taste in my mouth. I recommend nearly raw venison for that Paleo meat fix.

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The title here reminded me of this John Prine tune. Lots of things about lazy days and calamity and getting on with it all remind me of John Prine.

  6. Sad
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    HW and I were just rocking out to this on a loop.

    True leadership is priceless and pure Michigan .

  7. Demetrius
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    The whole weekend was absolute heaven – especially Sunday. The blazing, cloudless blue sky, the grass that shade of green that only comes in early spring, all the trees beginning to leaf-out and bloom, and the sound of tree-frogs … for me, it was really kind of balm for my somewhat tired and cranky soul on the heels of a long, wet, pandemic-tainted winter.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I walked to downtown Ann Arbor from my place (about 4 miles) and saw some residual U of M seniors with cap and gown taking pictures with their friends. Hard to believe it would have been graduation weekend if not for the pandemic.

    Everybody’s routine at home is off and because they’ve spread into different spaces around the house during the week while I’m at work, it’s become difficult to accommodate my presence on the weekend, as sooner or later, I’m in somebody’s newly claimed territory, depending on what they are up to. Irritating to all parties involved. I’ll be happier when they can decamp from the corona fortress and visit with friends in person. I’m sure they will be as well.

  9. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, if not for the pandemic I would be flying back to the states from the Bahamas to continue organizing my move—-All shot to hell now. Year of planning flushed away.
    Loved the weekend. Went mushroom hunting out at Pinkney Rec. Since I am stuck here, started working on garden also.

    Blame China is now in full swing. I see where the Trumpers are demanding that the “intelligence” fit the policy. So now we get open source google searches passing for “5 eyes” intelligence assessments.
    “We lie, we cheat, we steal” Pompeo is just the right kinda a man for Trump. Anything to distract from the rising death count. I see where they are figuring on 3000 a day by June.

  10. Elviscostello
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    The last time I drove south, on my return trip, I saw a sign for Country ham off I-75. Not ashamed to say I bought about $80.00 wirth and brought it home. I love the saltyness and kinda of funky flavor great country ham brings!
    It’s excellent in 24 hour slow cooked green beans and new potatoes.
    Country ham makes me think of an Alabama fast food chain called Jack’s. They carry country ham biscuit sandwiches and biscuits and gravy. Wish we had one here.

  11. Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I love all of your nice comments, but I can’t believe that no one wanted to talk about He Who Gets Slapped.

  12. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Aloha also loved doing the silly walk on Pleasant Dr

  13. Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    I hadn’t realized that the rights to the “Three Investigators” books were once owned by the University of Michigan. Is that what led you to them?

    I’m sorry no one wants to talk ab0ut the clown movie. Life’s like that sometimes.

  14. Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    That sounds like a nice weekend! I had a nice weekend too. No news for me either. In the interest of social isolation, I camped out in isolated spots on my way back from California. I am so glad I did that campsite research before I left. It was really nice to be out in nature all alone! No internet except the slowest one bar thing at the site in Nebraska. I spent Friday night next to the Humbolt River in Carlin, Nevada. Saturday night was next to the North Platte River near Rawlins, Wyoming. Finally, this weird little Nebraska park by a small pond and dam. All free! Lots of nature. The Wyoming site was shared with a herd of cattle! (Cattle btw, are loud and seem to argue with one another)

  15. Andrea
    Posted September 2, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I love the Three Investigators and am thrilled that someone else remembers that series!

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