And I'm behind on my observations. So, starting from last July, I took the Amtrak from NYC to Los Angeles.

(1) When I was traveling through the desert, a man tried to convince me that he had seen someone levitate 6 inches above the ground. Did he believe it? Why would you tell such a story as a grown man? What do you say to someone who is looking you in the eye and telling such a whopper? I mean, gravity. So real.

(2) California is dense and rural, which is the worst of both worlds. If I'm living this far from the grocery store, I don't want neighbors. Just sayin.

(3) New York City, or at least Manhattan, is a gated community compared to LA. Back in 2011 in Bushwick, there was ONE man who had a little outside encampment set up. He got chased away by the authorities after a couple months. Multiply him by a few thousands, and put them all a block away from Wall Street, and that's what downtown LA looks like.

(4) Also, in NYC if you were somehow forced to be on foot, you might have to walk 6-8 hours to get home. In LA, you could walk 28 hours, and still not even be in your own neighborhood.

D for Dinosaur

I was at Union Square yesterday practicing my set. Not busking, just sitting on the stone wall overlooking the street. A man with a clipboard came up to me as I was still warming up.

"Are you a registered democrat?" he asked.

"I'm an agnostic," I replied.

He kind of laughed, turned to walk away, then came back.

"Can you play some Bob Dylan for us?"

I said no. Then I asked if he would like to hear one of my original songs.

He almost ran away as he was saying no.

I said, "You're running because you're a democrat."

He said, "Good one. You're right."

D for Dylan. D for democrat. D for dinosaur.

The Tragic Downfall of the Sorcerer Queen

The Tragic Downfall of the Sorcerer Queen
by Aron Blue

Once upon a time a powerful Sorcerer Queen ruled a peaceful and prosperous queendom. The neighboring King was jealous of her power and greedy for her land. So he plotted to overthrow her, but oh so slowly. 

He sent the daughter of the most beautiful woman in his kingdom as a royal hostage to the Sorcerer Queen. And then waited. Because he knew quite well of the Queen’s magic truth-telling mirror and also of her weakness: vanity. Meanwhile, as the child grew into a teenager, he sent his own son, the Prince, over to visit her occasionally and strike up a pleasant friendship. “Because you’re going to marry her,” he said. 

The beautiful hostage turned sixteen, and the magic mirror reported the inevitable news. The Queen fell into a paroxysm of jealousy and began plotting horrific and transparent assassinations, much to the consternation of her people, who were mostly peaceful Dwarves and Humans, miners and hunters. Sure enough, “Snow White” became the heroine of the people through no attempt or effort of her own (other than a sweet personality) and went into hiding in the forest, fiercely protected by the locals.

This is when the Queen began to behave unpredictably. The King wasn’t fully aware of her abilities as a sorceress, and so hadn’t factored in her uncanny ability to change her appearance and to create extremely complicated and undetectable poisons. Perhaps, too, he did not understand what dark forces he had awakened in her. Instead of Snow White living in the forest and developing a cadre of local forces loyal to her (and eventually the Prince), she fell victim to the Queen’s superior intellect and twisted drive to see her dead.

The King heard the news almost immediately from his animal spies. Quickly he summoned his best alchemists and gave them every detail. They threw together an antidote and gave him no promises. Meanwhile, he ordered his servants to deliver a glass coffin to the forest and arrange a public funeral.

“Take this antidote to the funeral,” the King said to the Prince. “If it works, we have doubled our lands in a bloodless revolution. If it doesn’t, we’ve still created a martyr that we can manipulate to our advantage for generations.”   

He arrived just in time to slip the antidote to Snow White under the guise of a final kiss. Miraculously, it worked. The Queen, meanwhile, had been driven half-mad by her sudden blood-lust and foray into dark magic. When Snow White loyalists were sent to assassinate her, they could only watch in horror as she perched on the edge of a cliff daring the lightning to strike her, which it finally did. Unless she was the fairest, she could not live.

Oh Vanity! 

"You Could Feed An Army on That"

Vegan Mujadarrah Sort Of

This is a miracle food. It's vegan, it's beyond cheap, and it's easy. And it's a powerful fuel. The key is patience and water. Wait for it.



Cook lentils in water on medium-high 15-20 minutes  - make sure the water is about an inch above the lentils - if in doubt, add a little more - if the water cooks off, add a little more

Add the same amount of rice as you did lentils and more water and cook until the rice is done - about 20 minutes - add water as needed

Meanwhile slice onion into thin rings and slowcook in oil on LOW

Then stir onions into lentil/rice mixture, mash it up. Season to taste. Stir in some fresh spinach leaves while it's still hot and they'll get nice and wilted but still be really flavorful. Top individual bowls with sriracha. The original calls for yogurt or sour cream, and I'm not a vegan myself, but I'm less and less into dairy and with sriracha it is bangin.

Proust and the Dreyfusards in New York

This is my favorite New York Story. There was a new translation of Proust a few years back and someone had it at their house, and I got excited and started asking questions about it and the guy was really evasive.

On the way home, I said, "It seemed like he didn't even read the book."

My boyfriend, a native New Yorker, exploded at me. "OF COURSE HE DIDN'T READ THE BOOK!"

I didn't know people did that. Where I come from, you hide the fact that you read, you don't celebrate it. But you certainly don't fake it either. Which is worse, I don't know. I've certainly lived through both and I guess better a bunch of fake readers than people who consider too much reading at best a little eccentric and at worst dangerous and immoral. My cousin used to sneak romance novels to her best friend, a Pentecostal Holiness girl whose hair was down to her knees at 14 years old. She had to wear Little House on the Prairie dresses every day. The American Taliban is real.

Anyway, I've read In Search of Lost Time all the way through twice, because I am a well-read redneck, and I learned a great deal about people and fin de siecle French culture and history.

One of my favorite observations from him is in regard to the Dreyfus Affair. He basically says some people are Dreyfusards, some people are anti-Dreyfusards, and most people are idiots.

He says that we always think that the people on our side of a political argument came to their views through sound reasoning and an honest, seeking heart, and we think that the people on the other side are over-influenced by their family or tradition or have just never thought clearly enough about the issues to come to a thorough conclusion. But in truth, the people who do that are on both sides, not just one.

I think about that a lot.

Also, in the end, his character was a Dreyfusard and fought several duels about it.

I think about that a lot too.