The rain here is astounding. I can see it through my bedroom window, falling like heavy, heaven’s tears. Like, a gentle waterfall I am standing behind, glimpsing the world beyond the water. In the mornings sunlight blesses my room. I can see cracks of blue sky in the distance, and I am sure I could see rainbows were I on the otherside of the apartment. And I watch it bounce off the cement like jovial children jumping in puddles. The sound on the roof like amplified nothing. The nothing noise that a dead channel makes. I grew up in Alaska, where it rains more than the sun shines. I call myself a water baby. But the rain did not fall with such poetry as it does here. Coming on gently, and then falling with the authority of a symphonic peak. It does not let you ignore its presence.
Sofrito and Sausage Pasta
I love beef, and I particularly love beef stew. I had really only known of the bigger known stews from Ireland, and France. I began to think, surely there are delicious stews from other countries as well. I did some research and this is what I found.
Irish Beef Stew
Special ingredient: Guinness
French Beef Stew
Special Ingredient: Red Wine
Belgian Beef Stew
Carbonnade a la Flamande
Special Ingredients: Belgian Beer, Brown Sugar, Dijon Mustard
Chinese Beef Stew
Special Ingredients: Soy Sauce, Chinese Cooking Wine, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Ginger
Vietnamese Beef Stew
Special Ingredients: Lemongrass, Chinese 5 Spice, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Coconut Water
Argentine Beef Stew
Special Ingredients: Sweet Potato, Acorn Squash, Frozen Corn, Apricots
Moroccan Beef Stew
Special Ingredients: Cinnamon, Cumin, Ginger, Apricots
Jamaican Beef Stew
Special Ingredients: Soy Sauce, Allspice, Scotch Bonnet
Puerto Rican Beef Stew
Special Ingredients: Sofrito, Light Beer, Adobo Seasoning, Sazon, Green Olives
Ethiopian Beef Stew
Special Ingredients: Ghee, Ginger, Berbere
Then I decided to take it full circle.
Special Ingredients: Beef Sausage, Dark Beer, Bacon
I think a lot about prison, and our prison systems. This documentary series brings a lot of warmth to my heart. Presented by the renown Ken Burns, this is a look at college opportunities for inmates. It is an idea that a lot of people are against. One such mother expresses her feelings bluntly, these inmates commit crimes and go to prison and are getting a free education, while she is working and paying for her other children to get their education. She states they might as well commit crimes too. But how can you call it a “correctional facility” if you deny the opportunity to correct themselves. As well, not all inmates are cold-blooded killers. A teenager can be sent to prison via the three-strikes law for mere possession of marijuana. Battered women can be sent to prison for defending themselves from the battery. And once they enter those facilities, they are immediately shackled with the identity of “criminal” which will hold them back for the rest of their lives. Believe it or not, education is what decreases recidivism. Without this sort of opportunity, a prisoner merely serves their time, returns to the world, they face all the doors that are closed to them due to the label of “criminal,” job opportunities, housing assistance, etc, and they are forced back into a life of crime.
What this documentary highlighted was the mere act of giving these inmates something to live for, a goal, a reason to work to be better. And I am so astounded by how determined they were. You hear their stories and feel the hopelessness, and admire their will to keep going.
Da 5 Bloods. Not Chadwick Boseman’s most astounding performance, but it was his second to last film. A film about black Americans fighting in the Vietnam war. The film had deep messages, and seemed to emulate Muhammad Ali’s argument for refusing the draft, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam after so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?” It was a movie about the intense brotherhood that war creates between its soldiers. And it paid a great amount of respect to the Vietnam people, and what they suffered, and are still suffering today.
Although, it then becomes slightly less deep, political message, and more international treasure hunt, crime boss double cross, intense shoot out… with a dash of strained romance, and an emphasis on the importance of assistance for veterans and PTSD…
It was an action film with a political message about our nation, made after the election of our 45th president.