Θυμάρι

So long, and thanks for all the fish !

(still) Reading The Papers

The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.)  

      by Oliver Sacks  07/13/2013

 sacks

       LAST night I dreamed about mercury — huge, shining globules of quicksilver rising and falling. Mercury is element number 80, and my dream is a reminder that on Tuesday, I will be 80 myself.

       Elements and birthdays have been intertwined for me since boyhood, when I learned about atomic numbers. At 11, I could say “I am sodium” (Element 11), and now at 79, I am gold. A few years ago, when I gave a friend a bottle of mercury for his 80th birthday — a special bottle that could neither leak nor break — he gave me a peculiar look, but later sent me a charming letter in which he joked, “I take a little every morning for my health.”

       Eighty! I can hardly believe it. I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over. My mother was the 16th of 18 children; I was the youngest of her four sons, and almost the youngest of the vast cousinhood on her side of the family. I was always the youngest boy in my class at high school. I have retained this feeling of being the youngest, even though now I am almost the oldest person I know.

Read the article
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I swear I was all out to find sth interesting for this page to-day and, well, – Syrian conflict, Euro crisis, Mars expedition and mass murdering in the US notwithstanding – I suppose I did:

Fabada

Fabada is adored throughout Spain, and it should be adored throughout the world. It’s an Asturian preparation of fabas (dried fava beans) of the granja (farm) variety and a whole slew of pork products.

Serves 10 to 12

  • 2 pounds dried fava beans (large white Asturian beans; or substitute other large white beans), soaked overnight in water to cover

pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oilPinch of saffron threads1 tablespoon hot

  • 1 head garlic, cut in half across the bulb
  • 1 smoked ham hoc
  • 1 pound slab bacon
  • 1 pound Spanish chorizo
  • 1 pound morcilla (blood sausage)
  • 1 onion, halved

Drain the beans. Put them in a large pot, add water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam, lower the heat to a simmer, and add the olive oil, saffron, pimentón, garlic, ham hock, and bacon. Simmer for 1 hour, adding more water as necessary to keep the beans covered.
Add the chorizo, morcilla, and onion and simmer for another 2 hours, or until the beans are very soft; add water as necessary to keep the beans and meats covered. Remove from the heat, remove the meats, and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the ham hock and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Cut the bacon into 1-inch chunks and cut the sausages into thick slices. Discard the garlic and onion, ladle the beans into bowls, and nestle the various meats in the beans.

Spain – On The Road Again

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Water gun fight in a park? Iran sees dark designs

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran is trying to put down a new wave of civil disobedience — flash mobs of young people who break into boisterous fights with water guns in public parks. A group of water fighters was arrested over the weekend, and a top judiciary official warned Monday that “counter-revolutionaries” were behind them.

Police swooped in to arrest a number of people who had gathered on Friday in a Tehran park to hold a water fight, the acting commander of Iran’s police Gen. Ahmad Radan said, quoted in newspapers on Monday.

Read the article here       (AP)

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My Grandmother                                                     by David Sedaris

remembering_my_grandmother

… there was so much to laugh at, particularly during the years that our Greek grandmother lived with us. Had we been older, it might have been different. “The poor thing has gas,” we might have said. For children, though, nothing beats a flatulent old lady. What made it all the crazier was that she wasn’t embarrassed by it—no more than our collie, Dutchess, was. Here it sounded like she was testing out a chainsaw, yet her face remained inexpressive and unchanging.

“Something funny?” our father would ask us, as if he hadn’t heard, as if his chair, too, had not vibrated in the aftershock. “You think something’s funny, do you?”

If keeping a straight face was difficult, saying “No” was so exacting that it caused pain.

“So you were laughing at nothing?”

“Yes,” we would say. “At nothing.”

Then would come another mighty rip, and what was once difficult would now be impossible. My father kept a heavy serving spoon next to his plate, and I can’t remember how many times he brought it down on my head.

“You still think there’s something to laugh about?”

Strange that being walloped with a heavy spoon made everything seem funnier, but there you have it. My sisters and I would be helpless, doubled over, milk spraying out of our mouths and noses, the force all the stronger for having been bottled up. There were nights when the spoon got blood on it—nights when hairs would stick to the blood—but still our grandmother farted, and still we laughed until the walls shook.

taken from ..

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Waves of Disinformation and Confusion Swamp the Truth in Libya

by David D. Kirkpatrick and Rod Norland

TRIPOLI, Libya — Truth was first a casualty in Libya well before this war began, and the war has not improved matters at all, on any side.

Libya has long been a republic of lies or, in the words of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, “the only democracy in the world.” Colonel Qaddafi was the absolute dictator who claimed years ago to have stepped down from all public posts. He said he was more of a sage, or guide, to Libya’s six million citizens.

In Libya, as with authoritarian governments generally, leaders are accustomed to dictating how people should think; no matter how outrageous the lie or how obviously bizarre (as was often the case in Libya), it is often received as reality by a public numbed by isolation and oppression. So it may not be surprising that the rebels now challenging Colonel Qaddafi sometimes sound like him, because he is the only leader they ever knew. Many of the rebels’ leaders were in Colonel Qaddafi’s top echelons, helping defend and promote his vision, and version, of reality.

Read the rest of the article in the

International Herald Tribune

(David D. Kirkpatrick reports from Tripoli, and Rod Nordland from Kabul, Afghanistan)

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The Good Short Life

by Dudley Clendinen

I HAVE wonderful friends. In this last year, one took me to Istanbul. One gave me a box of hand-crafted chocolates. Fifteen of them held two rousing, pre-posthumous wakes for me. Several wrote large checks. Two sent me a boxed set of all the Bach sacred cantatas. And one, from Texas, put a hand on my thinning shoulder, and appeared to study the ground where we were standing. He had flown in to see me.

“We need to go buy you a pistol, don’t we?” he asked quietly. He meant to shoot myself with.

“Yes, Sweet Thing,” I said, with a smile. “We do.”

I loved him for that.

I love them all. I am acutely lucky in my family and friends, and in my daughter, my work and my life. But I have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S., more kindly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, for the great Yankee hitter and first baseman who was told he had it in 1939, accepted the verdict with such famous grace, and died less than two years later. He was almost 38.

*****

Read this amazing letter to all.

Fabada

Fabada is adored throughout Spain, and it should be adored throughout the world. It’s an Asturian preparation of fabas (dried fava beans) of the granja (farm) variety and a whole slew of pork products.

Serves 10 to 12

    • 2 pounds dried fava beans (large white Asturian beans; or substitute other large white beans), soaked overnight in water to cover

Buy Here!

    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Buy Here!

    • Pinch of saffron threads

Buy Here!

    • 1 tablespoon hot pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)

Buy Here!

    • 1 head garlic, cut in half across the bulb
    • 1 smoked ham hock

Buy Here!

    • 1 pound slab bacon
    • 1 pound Spanish chorizo

Buy Here!

    • 1 pound morcilla (blood sausage)

Buy Here!

  • 1 onion, halved

Drain the beans. Put them in a large pot, add water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam, lower the heat to a simmer, and add the olive oil, saffron, pimentón, garlic, ham hock, and bacon. Simmer for 1 hour, adding more water as necessary to keep the beans covered.

Add the chorizo, morcilla, and onion and simmer for another 2 hours, or until the beans are very soft; add water as necessary to keep the beans and meats covered. Remove from the heat, remove the meats, and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the ham hock and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Cut the bacon into 1-inch chunks and cut the sausages into thick slices. Discard the garlic and onion, ladle the beans into bowls, and nestle the various meats in the beans.

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