Thursday, February 22

What I've learned in 50 years.

If you have a partner, being kind is the most important thing.
It is impossible to be kind every day, so also be forgiving.

Regularly drinking to excess is bad for you.
Drinking at all is bad for a lot of people.

You can get a decent electric bass sound from any reasonably in-tune instrument.
Practice, and roll the highs off.
It helps to get a good drummer.

Family is who and what you make it.

DC makes better comic books.
Marvel makes better movies.

Music is the best.
Sometimes it's not enough.

Kids are awesome.

There are three reasons to take a gig: you are getting paid, you are learning, or it's a fun hang.

Listen more than you speak.

Being smart is overrated.
Maintain don't-know mind.

Learn to cook.

No one reads the New Yorker.

Saturday, February 10

Meditation Parable

Master, the new temple is beautiful, but there's a train that passes by and disturbs my meditation.

         Tell, me, is this train inside or outside your mind?

Outside, of course.


        Picture a grey, round rock, a boulder larger than your self.


        Tell me, does this rock exist inside or outside your mind?

Inside, of course.


        Are you sure? There are many rocks just like it in this world.

But this one exists only in my mind.

        Tell me, how much does this rock weigh?

I have no idea. A lot.

        Then why are you carrying it around with you? If you carry this boulder around, you will only hurt your back. You can put it down. You can let it simply dissolve.


Thank you, master.

Thursday, September 8

How to Bake Bread

  • 20 oz baking flour (about 2.5 cups, but use a kitchen scale)
  • 12 oz water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp yeast

Blend in counter-top mixer on 1 with paddle to combine, maybe a minute
Switch to hook for 10 minutes on 2 -- though kneading for 5, resting for 5, and then kneading for 5 more may or may not do something.
Put in a covered bowl to rise for about 2.5 hrs, till it doubles in size
Knead out the air, let rest for 15 min under dish towel
Shape into a boulle, let it rise again for an hour in a 5-7 quart Dutch oven
Preheat oven to 450
After an hour, coat loaf with olive oil and a light sprinkling of coarse salt
Cut an x into the top, cover Dutch oven and bake.
After half an hour take lid off Dutch oven and bake until brown and crisp.
It's possible you may want to turn the heat down a bit at some point, as the bottom tends to get a bit toastier then the top.
The advantage of the Dutch oven is you don't have to worry about spraying the loaf with water or getting the oven humid with a pan of water.
I added a tablespoon of rosemary garlic infused olive oil to one of the loaves last night and it was awesome, but it makes the dough a bit wobbly.

Wednesday, March 16

Brooklyn-Style Spaghetti Sauce (aka Gravy)

Note: Recipe serves 20-something people, so plan on leftovers (feezes well). I suppose you could halve the quantities, but no Italian has ever done that.

  • 2 large cans tomatoes – peeled or diced
  • 1-2 8oz cans tomato pastetomato paste,
  • 2 lbs ground meat – I like to mix beef and bison or lamb
  • 1 brown onion
  • half head of peeled garlic
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • half a bottle of red wine, not too sharp or sweet
  • oregano (fresh/dried)
  • basil (fresh/dried)
  • maybe a bay leaf or two
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

Mix meats together in bowl, and season it with salt pepper, and dried herbs if you are using them.

Chop the onion in a medium or coarse dice. Use enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large stock pot a couple-three millimeters deep. Sautee the onion over medium-low heat until translucent, tennish minutes. Maybe throw a few diced garlic cloves in there about five minutes in, but don’t let it brown.

Add ground meat, sautee until thoroughly browned, stirring every couple of minutes. Once browned, add the tomatoes and one can of tomato paste. It’s ok to add a bit of water if you use that to get residual tomato product out of the can. Add the rest of the garlic, either pressed or finely diced. Add the sugar (or honey) and wine. If you have bay leaves, throw 1 or 2 in there as well.

Cook for an hour before bothering to taste it, stirring occasionally. Putting the lid on will help things cook down faster, though later you will want to at least crack the lid so the sauce can cook down.

Adjust seasoning as you continue to cook it, though be careful not to over-salt. Best if you have time to let the sauce cook for 4 hours or so, but if you don’t have that much time, you can use the additional tomato paste to thicken the sauce. Finely chop the fresh oregano and chop or shred into strips the basil, if using. Add the fresh oregano to sauce in the last 20 minutes or so. Either add the basil directly to sauce just before serving, or serve in a bowl as a condiment if you have picky eaters (children).

Remember to fish out the bay leaves – you don’t want to hear the screams of children with a bay leaf on their plate.

Wednesday, December 2

O Pistachios

O pistachios
You are delicious but so difficult at times
As you serrate my fingernails sans mercy
Not to mention the guilt incurred
Putting the fully-closed nuts back in the bag
For someone else to deal with.

Wednesday, November 11

Lovely Things

Veterans Day

Then she turned to me, let me see how angry she was, and that the anger was for me. She had been talking to herself, so what she said was part of a much larger conversation. "You were just BABIES then!" she said.

"What?" I said.

"You were just babies in the war -- like the ones upstairs!"

I nodded that this was true. We HAD been foolish virgins in the war, right at the end of childhood.

"But you're not going to write it that way, are you." This wasn't a question. It was an accusation.

"I -- I don't know," I said.

"Well I know. You'll pretend you were men instead of babies, and you'll be played in the movies by Frank Sinatra and John Wayne or some of those other glamorous, war-loving, dirty old men. And war will look just wonderful, so we'll have a lot more of them. And they'll be fought by babies like the babies upstairs."

So then I understood. It was war that made her so angry. She didn't want her babies or anybody else's babies killed in wars.

--Kurt Vonnegut, veteran war baby, from Ch. 1 of The Children's Crusade, aka Slaughterhouse Five

Friday, September 4

That's Entertainment

"Feeding ducks in a park and wishing you were far away." Deep line for a 20-year old. (Cow-orkers are gone, so I am kicking out the Jam at work today.)

Wednesday, August 26

Bittersweet Thievery

If you're interested in hearing the Andrew Oldham record of the Stones' Last Time that the Verve sampled for Bittersweet Symphony, here you go:

I think Allen Klein was a bit of  a louse to extort 100% of the publishing, but that was kind of his schtick.

Monday, June 15

Hah hah hah crap. is really funny until I realize this is the internet my 5-year-old daughter will be inheriting.

Thursday, June 11

For Mingus

Upright bass is such a physically difficult instrument to play.
You civilians will never understand.
And I probably make it harder on myself than it needs to be,
But it just feels like if you are not really digging into that box until it hurts,
It's like telling Mingus, "Fuck you."
Tone is eighty per cent.
Groove is seventy per cent.
Note selection is like ten per cent.
Anyone can play the right note.
Play the wrong note and make it groove? That's
A fucking musician.

Wednesday, May 27


Being a musician in LA is hard. On the plus side, it's one of the few opportunities for a white male to understand what it's like to be part of an oppressed minority. Seriously, people talk down to musicians like we're all stupid, when it's really just the drummers who have to watch YouTube videos to remember how to tie their shoes in the mornings. I play jazz mostly. Everyone knows a handful of facts or stories about jazz. And they always want to share these anecdotes with me, like I might not know Miles played with Charlie Parker. Who was nicknamed Bird. And did a bunch of heroin. I get it, you watched the Ken Burns thing on PBS, good for you. I just finished paying off $20,000 of music school student loans, asshole.

Monday, March 9

Enough with the smiling, already.

It is a popular feminist trope that men have daughters and then have their "Road to Damascus" moment where they are suddenly (sort of) feminists. And I get that it is shitty that someone wouldn't be a feminist before having a daughter -- I have never NOT considered myself a feminist, though I'm certainly not an activist, or probably doing close to enough. But I love strong women, support equal salaries, try to be a good partner to my wife, etc. I am not clueless about male privilege.

But I think it is a legitimate thing that men with daughters get exposed to sexist dynamics they might never have had to consider before, especially if (like me) they grew up without sisters. In a recent two-week span, I had a female colleague at work complain to me about one of her superiors telling her to smile more -- classic workplace sexist bullshit that you pretty much expect will happen at some point. I was sympathetic and supportive of my friend (who told the guy off, as an awesome-sauce gal would), but assumed this was just a symptom of a dying breed of horrible douche-baggery.

But then this weekend, we went to our local diner, which our daughter has gone to since she was an infant. But this time she was wearing a crown because she was pretending to be a queen all Saturday. Suddenly, the staff was treating her like a little princess, and even calling her that. And our incredibly sweet server, who we've known for over a decade, who has a college-age daughter of his own, who he is very proud of and has work with him one day a week or so, asks Mila to smile.

The penny dropped for me. No one asks little boys to smile. No one asks grown-ass men in a work environment to smile. It is an infantilizing behavior, and it starts when women are three and four years old. I had never seen this before. No one has ever asked me to smile. I would never ask a growed-ass woman to smile. And I saw that our server's intention was not patronizing in the way that my coworker's superior was. But it was equally thoughtless, and pigeonholing, and sexist. And it wasn't even something that I could respond to -- it wasn't a malicious kind of sexism, just the clueless sort. The sort our daughter is going to encounter and internalize throughout her entire life. And that sucks.

A woman's smile is not for you. Perhaps you just want to spread happiness wherever you go. One sure way not to do that is to implore women and young girls to smile.

Monday, March 2

Anarchy in the USA

Interesting backstory behind the Anarchist Cookbook.