Sunday, January 31, 2010
Cooking day, recipe development. Trying out two new ones: curried cauliflower soup with aged gouda, and asparagus salad with avocado, oranges and tarragon in a honey-Dijon vinaigrette. The soup made with fresh stock. Soup and salad, simple. Maybe some cornbread.
The February issue will also go online. I'll continue on some ongoing writing - the King and Starting articles. Then I'll kick back and rest up for a big week.
Image ... Staircase at the African Meetinghouse, Boston.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
We're going to try an experiment and publish our writer's notebooks for their works in progress. If they want to, that is. I'll lead off with the notes for Dr. King in Boston. Please feel free to comment and offer corrections, criticism or useful information. -- Steve.
- Shopper's World opens in Waltham. One of the first suburban shopping malls in the US.
- October 24 – U.S. President Harry Truman declares an official end to war with Germany.
- Nuclear testing begins in Nevada and the Marshall Islands.
- The first military exercises for nuclear war, with infantry troops included, are held in the Nevada desert.
- First nucleaur power plant.
- Rosenbergs tried and executed.
- The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger published.
- The movie adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire premieres.
- Other movies ... An American in Paris, The African Queen.
- Ninth Street Show.
- Chinese invade Tibet.
- The transistor, the fundamental building block of all electronic devices, introduced bt Bells Labs.
- The King and I opens on Broadway.
- In Joplin, Missouri, the George Washington Carver National Monument becomes the first United States National Monument to honor an African American.
- Oral contraceptives developed.
- October 20 – The Johnny Bright Incident occurs in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
- Marshall Plan expires.
- September 8: * Treaty of San Francisco: In San Francisco, California, 48 nations sign a peace treaty with Japan to formally end the Pacific War. * Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which allows United States Armed Forces being stationed in Japan after the occupation of Japan, is signed by Japan and the United States.
From a summary of the country at the time, we go to a snapshot of Boston at that time.
Image ... Geese flying over the Fenway, Boston.
Frost is the new Screenscape for the February 1 issue.
Screenscapes are images especially selected from Roofscape Magazine to decorate your computer desktop.
They are available for download in a 1024 x 768 format and will usually resize gracefully to fit most screens.
The image is of frost on a window just outside Roofscape's office in Boston. By West Adams, 2009.
Mary Mary took us out of last week's Sunday Gospel Set with Get Up and this week they're leading us into church with Shackles (Praise You). Along with Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary is one of the pioneers of contemporary urban gospel music - and huge hit makers.
Sunday - January 31, 2010 ... We're taking it to church for some gospel.
Mary Mary - Shackles (Praise You)
The Canton Spirituals - I Recommend Jesus
Bob Dylan - Knocking on Heaven's Door (live)
Mary J. Blige & U2 - One
Prince - The Cross
Johnny Cash - Why Me Lord (live)
Aretha Franklin - Say a Little Prayer for You (remix)
The Jordanaires - Swing Down, Sweet Chariot
Black Jesus - Black Jesus is Here
You'll notice that this week we've invited a lot of singers who aren't actually gospel artists. That's OK, it's a big church with room for all.
And a big shout out to 過年 in China who commented 很好啊, very good, about last Sunday's gospel set.
An urban survivalist started following us on Twitter, or more exactly, an entrepreneur of urban survivalism, the libertarian wing. And after some thought we started following back. After all the urban world is our beat. People who describe themselves as a god and live in California are a little bit worrisome, however. But he's got spelling, syntax, makes some sense and advocates baking bread (but not if zombies might be lurking), so we'll check him out.
Cold. Single digits cold with wind chill in the double negative numbers. Saturn burning bright in the middle of the night. A full moon tonight. Full Wolf Moon. Raccoons mate now, the The Old Farmer's Almanac helpfully notes. I wonder what our coons are up to in this cold. OFA also says that Mark Twain loved to write in bed. I agree with that, an astronaut-style workplace is by far the best; flanked by books, files, camera, tape recorder, headphones, notebooks, magazines, radio, seed packets, lamp over the right shoulder - with laptop canted up in lap and hot tea at hand.
Today I'm working on the Screenscape section of the magazine. These are images for decorating computer desktops. They are sometimes, but not always, the current image on the cover of the magazine. The cover images don't always make good desktops. It takes something sort of abstract, that works as an unobtrusive background and can scale well to different screen sizes. I think I'll go with the frosted window image. That's certainly timely. I'm trying to upgrade a department a day - new page color, navBar, ads, content and department blurbs.
Image ... Mural. Roxbury, Mass.
Friday, January 29, 2010
A preview of Roofscape Magazine's next cover, with background.
Some time in the snows of dreary February the witch-hazel blooms. Here's the story, according to science and Wikipedia.
They are deciduous shrubs or (rarely) small trees growing to 3-8 m tall, rarely to 12 m tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, oval, 4-16 cm long and 3-11 cm broad, with a smooth or wavy margin. The horticultural name means 'together with fruit;' its fruit, flowers, and next year's leaf buds all appear on the branch simultaneously, a rarity among trees. The flowers are sometimes produced on the leafless stems in winter, thus one alternative name for the plant, "Winterbloom". Each flower has four slender strap-shaped petals 1-2 cm long, pale to dark yellow, orange, or red. The fruit is a two-part capsule 1 cm long, containing a single 5 mm glossy black seed in each of the two parts; the capsule splits explosively at maturity in the autumn about 8 months after flowering, ejecting the seeds with sufficient force to fly for distances of up to 10 m, thus another alternative name "Snapping Hazel".
The name Witch has its origins in Middle English wiche, from the Old English wice, meaning "pliant" or "bendable". Hazel is derived from the use of the twigs as divining rods, just as hazel twigs were used in England.
The witch-hazel in the photograph, shown under a mantle of fresh snow, flanks the main entrance to the Fenway Victory Gardens off Park Drive in Boston. I went by there yesterday and it's not yet in bloom. When it is it's stunning and the scent is powerful.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Biked to Coolidge Corner, Brookline yesterday - from Uphams Corner, Dorchester. Nearly died. Looked over a project then went to this place to warm up with some tea. The place was freezing, the tea got cold in two seconds. I didn't get warm, so when we left I was chilled and shivering. I knew I wouldn't make it home. I'd have to stop somewhere warm. So by chilly circumstance I got to do something I've wanted to for years. Eat at the Busy Bee and chat up the waitresses about the Winter Hill Gang (Whitey Bulger's crew).
Sat in the book furthest back, as far away from the door as possible, next to the warmth of the kitchen. The waitress let me because the place wasn't busy. Ordered spaghetti and meatballs. Found out they obviously didn't eat here for the food.
So I was wondering - where did they sit? They were gangsters. Creatures of habit. Probably always sat in the same spot and had their table. Thought to myself, right here, down back, out of the middle of things, keep eyes on the whole place.
So when I was done, having hardly touched the horrid strings, asked the waitress, "This is where the Winter Hill Gang used to hang out isn't it?" She affirmed and I asked, "Where did they sit?" She said that was before her time but called over a senior staffer and asked her.
"Always right up front. First two booths," she said. Of course. Stupid me, although I got the always part right. They were gangsters. To watch the door and get out fast if need be.
Waitress #1 filled me in on the story she'd heard. The FBI bugged the napkin dispensers at those two tables to record the gang's Busy Bee business meetings. And no one ever knew, not even the owner (she said gesturing to the guy in a Busy Bee cap sitting at the counter watching the lottery on TV) until the whole Bulger story came spilling out when Whitey skipped. "He's dead," she said. And waitresses often know whatever needs to be known.
On the way home stopped by the garden. No criminal activity. Everything intact and in place but for a few things blown around a bit. Brought back a book and some packets of seeds to start. Coming wasn't as bad as going, but it wasn't easy. Walked parts of the way in scattered snow showers.
Driveway Shrine. Dorchester, Mass.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The hot peppers, planted January 19, just germinated (2/5), in 10 days. There were no signs of them yesterday when I checked several times, but when I got up at 2:00 AM this morning to work - my favorite time of day - there they were, two of them curled up under the container cap. And now they're unfolding. I'm literally watching them grow, glancing sideways from time to time at the seed starting table as I type. Growth always seems to happen in the dark. We may glow best in the light but we seem to grow best in the dark.
The photo above was made a block from our office at the now abandoned Seven50 Grill. That's their sign, to the left. The image, looking in through the windows of the conservatory or greenhouse dining area is a combination of interior and exterior views mediated by the reflections off the glass walls. The tables and chairs inside are melded with the seating outside on the patio.
What happened to this place is hard to fathom. Someone ran it right into the ground and out of business. A clear case for chef Gordon Ramsey. Physically it's got everything going for it - more advantages than anyone could possibly demand - but it implodes and collapses. Leaving us with crappy Hick-spanic, lame Chinese and the usual pizza/sub suspect. Nothing to not encourage home cooking anyway. Troubled karma or possibly the Mafia? Of course sheer serial ineptitude should never be ruled out. I have a tale to tell, but not now.
Is blogging a boon or bane for writers? It's hard to say in the balance. As so many things are. It so seductively cures (or curses) the need of actually having to write. On the other hand it beats scrubbing the kitchen sink and all the other writing avoidance strategies that writers regularly deploy with apparent impunity. Call it mere journal-ism, as Dr. Johnson might say. Boswell would second. I have no opinion.
Image ... Seven50. Dorchester, Mass.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
An acquaintance of ours started an online magazine, Muddy Water. The second sentence in his email inviting me to check it out starts this way, and my reply after looking his shit over follows.
I've working on it some time ...
Really? That's an insult to your readers. If any were left after the second sentence of the email.
Where to begin? OK, I'll be kind and leave it at this. Visually - it's one of the ugliest and most amateur-looking things that I've seen on the Web. Close to the worst. And that's saying something.
I might have been kinder, gentler and graded on a curve, but that ludicrous, self-indulgent 'mission statement' and slurred syntax, as noted above, forced the gloves off.
You might have something to offer. It's hard to say from what I've seen. But if so, you'll have to work a helluva lot harder - and smarter.
Ooh. Was that nasty or was that nasty? But if you stick your head (or rear) up, expect to get fired at. Anyway it might just be a mercy killing.
Now, nasty is not my nature. But I think you have to level with people. If not you're doing them a dis-service. Moreover, the consumer needs to know. A little of the nasty, not snarky but nasty, might pick up everyone's game. Mark Twain certainly thought so. It's not as bad as it sounds, he said of Wagner. See, such a generous soul after all.
Just returned to the Sunday Gospel Set video for a dose of inspiration with Mary Mary jamming Get Up. 過年 had left this comment - 很好啊. Went to WorldLingo, the free online translater (500 word limit). Translation - Very good. His name translated as - New year's celebration. The Chinese New Year starts on February 14 this year, our Valentine's Day. Glad we got your party going early.
Image ... Pebbles. St. Botolph Street, Boston.
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The tomatoes (Mexican Wild, seeds saved from the garden the year before last, 4/5) and eggplant (Burpee Garden Blend, 3/5), planted on 1/19, just germinated over night, 8 days from planting. The hot peppers and kale remain. I'm surprised the kale isn't up by now. Moved the seedlings into the big bright office window and bottom watered.
The weather continues warm, a welcome respite after all the wickedly (or wicked, if you're from Boston) cold days we've had.
Checked later in the morning and the kale (Specialty Toscano, Johnny's, 1/5) had sprouted.
Pete and I wrapped the job on Isabella Street. I did PR in the lower South End. Visited client on Beacon Hill to arrange projects for next week. Biking here and there, walking around. Low 40's with a sometimes stiff west wind.
Chinese takeout from New Garden on Dudley. My experience with restaurants is that for each of them there are a few things that they do well, most with mediocrity and another few awfully. It's just the unavoidable bell curve shape of things. The question, therefore, is - what can they do well? And that's not always easy or obvious.
Image ... Procession over mountain pass. Japanese wood block print.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Worked on Starting from Seed, describing, with words and pictures, our special seed starting method. Next we'll cover potting up. Our own seeds - basil and lettuce - continue to emerge. Nothing else yet though.
Worked on business. Designed the new SEHM RSM navBar ad. The table is 160 pixles wide with padding at 4 and images of 150 pixels wide. It fits and fills the navBar without bumping out the magazine borders.
Lashing rain, 52°, tossing trees, flat gray skies, water-streaked windows like late winter tears down eyes. Listening to historian Gary Wills with Terry Gross on Fresh Air talking about his book Bomb Power.
Image ... Installation at a church on Berkeley Street, Boston.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Finished the Sausage article for Cookout, the version we'll test with.
Frederike and I made the sausages. Actually, Freddie did the sausages while I made the rest of the dinner. Everyone liked them. I wasn't so sure. The texture and appearance were amazing, really meat-like, but I wasn't sold on the flavor. It needs more, well, something, or a different something. They're very easy to make and customize, however. What is the flavor in Greek sausages? I've always liked those and they're hard to find. We served them with mashed turnip and potato, red bean gravy and a chopped salad with honey-Dijon vinaigrette.
Image ... Frost. Monadnock Street, Dorchester.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Last night at 11:00 Saturn was burning big and bright, situated due south, just sailing over the trees. I turned out the lights to watch in, turned on Stellarium to ID it and turned to Wikipedia to learn more. Followed its journey westward.
Stellarium is a wonderful program, if you don't know about it, a planetarium of the stars.
Another great resource is Tonight's Sky, hosted by HubbleSite, the website for the Hubble Space Telescope. It's a ten minute video tour around the night skies for the current month, complete with spacey music. It covers constellations, planets and celestial events.
As you can see, I'm experimenting with various image sizes and placement. That's something we do all the time in the magazine, utilizing an array of visual strategies, but not yet tried with the Blogger platform. Mainly because we don't want to be devoting too much time to GJ, which takes from RSM time. When it comes to handling images in Blogger you're on your own, you just have to experiment and figure it out.
Hints: 1 -- Every image loads at the top of the post, you have to move it by hand to where you want it. 2 -- The text should begin immediately, without a space, after the image anchor, whether the image is to be on the right or left side of the text. 3 -- Images are auto-sized to fit the 400 pixel width. This saves extra work.
Programmed a totally rocking Sunday gospel set for Radio Roofscape. The theme is get up! and the music is all contemporary gospel. I haven't done this before, usually I mix new and old schools, or old old school, even old old old school stuff. Kirk Franklin up with the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Disciples of Christ next to The Blind Boys of Alabama, etc. This was all new and it sweeps you away on a powerful current of sound. Here's the playlist.
Kirk Franklin - Looking for You (Live)
Yolanda Adams - Never Give Up
Tonex - Rocks Out @ the Upper Room
Kierra 'Kiki' Sheard - Snap
Disciples of Christ - Deeper
Mary Mary - Get Up (what a great tune and video!)
Donnie McClurkin - We Fall Down
The first seeds of the season germinated - lettuce (1/5) and basil (4/5), both planted on 1/19, sprouted in 5 days. Setting them by the heat register really speeds them along.
Image ... Snow Train. Haverhill. Mass.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Programmed the following late night / early morning indie pop set ...
Pernice Brothers - Working Girls... to immediate responses: U.S., Brazil, France, Germany, Thailand. Gained 3 listeners after the great Beethoven disaster. That Nico song is gorgeous. Just noticed that over half of these are by Boston bands. Not intended.
Dinosaur Jr. - Green Mind
Lemonheads - Luka
Buffalo Tom - Never Noticed
Gin Blossoms - Follow You Down
Gigolo Aunts - Where I Find My Heaven
Juliana Hatfield - Law of Nature
Pixies - Ana
Shins - Phantom Limb
Nico - Roses in the Snow
West Indian Girl - Miles from Monterey
Watched Kurt and Courtney last night, being tired with an utterly idle mind. Good for the tired with utterly idle minds. Did he trip or was he pushed? Qui gives a shit? Nirvana was among the most boring of bands - and Hole, oh please.
Peter and I are working on a job in Bay Village. Had lunch at Mike and Patty's before we began yesterday, our new favorite spot. Mike asked if we could do a job for him. Of course. We were working in The Village (as I've never heard it refered to) again today. Brisk biking there and back again - 36°, hell, a heatwave compared to last week.
Image ... Mission Hill Mural, Boston.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Updated pages for Beans Q&A's, Garden Girl TV and Thought for the Week. This is the sort of housekeeping I do when I don't feel like actually writing, that or edit photos.
Speaking of which. Fellow writers, front and center! ... Roofscape, the online magazine of outdoor urban living, seeks writers, photographers and artists with a passion for the urban outdoors. Not much money just now, but you will have fun and be published in a beautiful magazine.
Flowers, shadows, wood, refractions. White, green, brown and tan. A certain slant of light. Strong, clear late winter sun and tulips.
Image ... White Tulips. The Starlight Room, Boston.
Working on the cover of the February 1 issue. It's got a spectacular seasonal image, which we'll soon offer a sneak peek at.
Researching and writing Starting from Seed, a chart of indoor crop starting dates in relation to local last frost dates (in Boston between April 1 - 30). The vegetables and herbs started yesterday are staying comfortably warm in front of the office heat register.
Programmed a Radio Roofscape set drawn from Beethoven's late string quartets. Lost 5 listeners overnight! That's never happened, not even close. Occasionally 1 leaves, but another soon arrives. Not now, no new listeners despite a reggae set with lots of props. But the ratio - 1 listener per 5 programmed tracks (now 2691/522) - remains remarkably consistent. We hit 500 exactly on 12/31/09, so we're continuikng to add more than 1 per day. Roll over Beethoven, the big old dog is movin' in.
Visitor tonight for dinner. Charles made kugel with sides of Brussel sprouts and broccoli, lashings of sour cream and apple sauce, bottles of beer. The first kugel came out of the oven early apparently, but I dug it. I like most things done rare - not raw, no stinkin' sushi please - but rare (restored body heat) or medium rare (fevered body heat).
Our office enjoyed a clean sweep today. Boy was that badly needed. Dust bunnies the size of tumbleweeds were collected in the corners.
Haiti and yesterday's Mass. senate election bumming us out. Exchange heard while waiting in line ... "How's your family (in Haiti)?" "Dead." Boston has the third largest Haitian population in the US, and many other peoples from The Yard. You're in our thoughts. I can't imagine the chaos, an entire country shaken to its very core, collapsed. The extent of personal suffering, the extremity of shared suffering, in an already suffering land. There but ...
Image ... Garden Patio in Snow. Fenway Victory Gardens, Boston.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Snowing again, just showers, a light sifting of powdered sugar from a sugar bowl sky.
Working on Starting from Seed, an article on seed starting for Garden Gates. Finished the first page and started the second. Getting ready to plant seeds and photograph the how-to.
Started the following ... Basil, Burpee Sweet. Eggplant, Burpee's Garden Mix. Kale, Johhn's Specialty Toscano. Peppers, Burpee Hot Mix. Tomatoes, Mexican Wild (from saved seed).
Photographed all the steps using window light and flash for some setups, as the images looked dark in the preview window.
Image ... Frederick Douglass heads north following his star to freedom. Mural in Boston's South End, Tremont Street by Mass. Avenue.
The seed catalogs, like late presents packed with promises, begin arriving soon after Christmas then, as winter finally surrenders to spring, the garden season gets under way. One of the gardener's many pleasant seasonal rituals, the first of the new year, is indoor seed starting.
Some seeds are started indoors for later transplanting out into the garden as seedlings or young plants. This technique allows the cultivation of the boys of summer, the warm weather lovers - tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. - in the northerly latitudes. It's also useful for getting a jump on the growing season with many of the plants that prefer cooler temperatures - lettuces, kale and mustard for example. Some plants can be treated either way, others dislike transplanting and must be direct seeded or sown directly into the outdoor garden beds they will grow in. Spinach, peas, beets and beans are among these finicky vegetables.
Image ... Jimmy with Tomatoes. By Lois Johnson. They look like Mortgage Lifters for sure. Fenway Victory Gardens, Boston.
Personally, meanwhile, King was waging a concerted campaign to marry. Having decided upon a career in the ministry as a Baptist pastor, at least temporarily, he need to get married. In the black church of the time, and even today, an unmarried pastor was unacceptable. Marriage was a must. The pastor's wife was considered a pillar of the church and a gurantee of the pastor's stability and good character. Ministry without marriage, and marriage without children, was unheard of.
Imperious Daddy King, intent on ML joining him after graduation and eventually succeeding him at Ebenezer, had been forcefully pressing the marriage issue for some time. His plan had been to match Martin with a suitable member of elite Negro society in Atlanta, but the many attempts had all gone awry.
King, although often in conflict with his father, felt a deep connection with his family. He frequently called home, collect, to chat for two or three hours, mostly with his mother, describing every detail of his days - his dates. The pressure was on to find a wife, both from within and without.
Coretta Scott King - in a 2003 telephone interview with a Boston Globe reporter - described meeting an eager Martin - over the phone - after her number was slipped to him by a mutual friend.
The truth is, Martin and I met on the telephone.
He said, 'I like the way you talk, and I'd like to meet you.' We agreed to meet for lunch the next day at Sharaf's on Massachusetts Avenue, and he said, 'I usually make it in 10 minutes, but tomorrow, I'll make it in 7.'
On our first date he deliberately asked a question that had to do with capitalism versus communism. ... I remember I made an intelligent comment, and he said, 'Oh, I see you know something other than music.' I thought, of course I did. I was a graduate of Antioch College. I had thoughts of my own.
He said, You know, you have everything I ever wanted in a wife: intelligence, beauty, character, and personality. When can I see you again? I said I really didn't know because I had a tight schedule.
... he ways always trying to convince me I was it ... but I kept struggling with my own ambitions for a long time. I knew getting married would lead me away from performing and the direction I'd hoped to go.
We got married in 1953, and the rest is history. When I finally opened myself up to the relationship, I knew this was my direction.
... Continued from January 14, 2010. Note: the title has changed to Dr. King in Boston from Dr. King's Time in Boston. Happy MLK day!
Woke to a blustery nor'easter with sleet, rain, snow, fog and very high winds. A wintery mix. A perfect day to go nowhere - write, start seeds, do chores. Took a brief walk as dawn slipped in, the sky a grayed-out orange.
MLK Day. Got back to work on his article. Editing to date from the top, then continuing to write. Today: Boston at the time, King's personal life, Martin and Coretta meeting. See the Boston Globe today - John Kerry is bravely trying to get the King FBI and other government files finally realeased under FOIA.
Started Starting from Seed, a seasonal, or soon to be seasonal, article that's been in the works for a long time about seed starting.
Walked and photographed, looking for snow scenes, to take a break from the laptop screen. Worked wonders. Got few photos, but came back ready to write.
Image ... Village in snow at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Japanese wood block print. Artist unknown.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Finished updating Beans About Boston. I had a hunch it was going to kick me and it obliged. This fun little feature's some work. Still couldn't get the anchors to work. They link back and forth between the question and answer pages but not to the specific ones on the pages. What does it all mean. I throw up my hands. Net mysteries.
Still working on Dr. King in Boston. Now writing about how ML and Coretta met. I'm maybe 1/2 to 2/3 way through the article.
Sunday is Cookout recipe development day. Today's is Caldo Verde, Green Soup, similar to the Cajun Gumbo z'Herbes, Green Gumbo, which we've made many times before. Actually, I've made Caldo many times too, but not knowing its real name just called it Portugese Kale Stew. I've often made a really hearty version with both chorizo and cod fish. This version will be vegetarian.
Made the soup. I ran all the potatoes and onions through the blender and the result was really thick, almost gelatinous as Peter commented. Fairly good, with a subtle smokey taste from the smoked parika, liquid hickory smoke and the smokey/meaty aged gouda. Probably could have done without the hickory. That stuff's powerful. I've finally learned my lesson.
The kitchen was nuts this morning. But fun. Four people all cooking at once at one point. A big party. Everybody eating and reading the Sunday papers. Freddie and I are going to make sausages - vegetarian, of course - next Sunday. We put in our request for the various exotica required to the week's designated shopper who left manfully with our odd list.
The new cover finished I'm back on the Dr. King in Boston article. Charles made an excellent suggestion that immediately made a huge improvement, and he has a few others awaiting in my inbox.
Image ... The Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in the Boston Public Garden.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Patti Moreno, The Garden Girl, and Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening, discuss planning a new vegetable garden for the upcoming year.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Mike and Patty's is probably the smallest restaurant in Boston, located in the smallest and possibly least known neighborhood of Boston, consisting of maybe a dozen blocks, Bay Village. Hidden away between the South End and Theatre District, Park Square and the Mass. Pike, Bay Village is filled with small, quaint brick townhouses inhabited by 2,100 souls, most of average stature.
M&P seats ten, at a pinch, elbow by elbow, toe to toe. So it's small, but the food is BIG.
Mike and Patty's
12 Church Street, Bay Village - corner of Church and Fayette Streets
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
Tuesday - Friday, 7:30 am - 3:00 pm
Saturday, 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sunday, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Programmed a Teddy P. set late last night. I was amazed at the huge number of great hits he had. Then did research for the Sunday gospel set. There's going to be lots of great new music, mixed in with the favorites.
Finished the 1/15/10 magazine cover, updating Beans About Boston. Now working on bringing the Beans pages (questions-answers) up to new standards and editing text.
Photographed in Bay Village (see below) and the South End yesterday. Started a small article about Bay Village - or Mike and Patty's, I can't decide which.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Continuing working on Dr. King's Time in Boston, writing about Martin and Coretta meeting. Latest installment just below.
Peter Tosh joined Radio Roofscape last night as a listener. Welcome Peter! Legalize it, indeed. We're adding 1 or 2 new listeners daily.
Making up the new issue of Roofscape to drop tomorrow, 1/15, on Dr. King's birthday.
Strong sun slanting through the bare trees. Passing snow squall earlier. The harsh grasping claws of winter cold eased. It's almost up to freezing after being in the frigid teens all week. In which I've been biking. Calls of crows. A sky of nude blue pearl, as Lawrence Durrell describes the sky over Alexandria. Muffled sounds of the world at work, distant machinery softer than the sound of gentle surf heard behind high dunes. The mantle of snow tired and worn but stubbornly persistent. A day to start seeds for an upcoming seed starting article.
But lazy, I really knocked myself out yesterday, spending most of the day biking and walking out in the cold. It was 19° when I left the house by bike at 8:00 AM yesterday, so Charles told said. I nearly collapsed after I hit Back Bay a half hour later.
The devastation in Haiti caused by the earthquake is just, well, shocking. Houses and whole buildings crumpled like they were made out of cards or bad construction paper, but they're concrete with real people trapped under the rubble. That such a total disaster should strike one of the poorest nations in the Americas - an average Haitian scrapes by on only $2.00 USD or less per day - is just heartbreaking. What's heartening is that Obama junped into the fray immediately, unlike W. after Katrina - which happened on our own little island. CNN reported his response as follows.
President Obama on Thursday announced $100 million in aid, saying, "This is one of those moments that calls for American leadership."
"I can report that the first waves of our rescue and relief workers are on the ground and are at work," Obama said, calling the relief effort one of the largest in recent U.S. history.
"To the people of Haiti, we say clearly and with conviction, you will not be forsaken," he said. "You will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. The world stands with you."
Touching on the obstacles facing search and rescue units, Obama said, "Even as we move as quickly as possible, it will take hours and in many cases days, to get all of our people and resources on the ground. Right now in Haiti, roads are impassable, the main port is badly damaged, communications are just beginning to come online and aftershocks continue."
We make fewer jet fighters, one less destroyer, abort several cruise missles, ax an aircraft carrier - and we'll be able to swing this thing. Boston has the third largest Haitian population (Miami and New York leading) in the U.S. Our hearts go out - and our wallets open up - to your families back home.
Image ... Beacon Hill rooftops and chimneys in the snow. From the roof of Charles Street Supply at 54 Charles Street.
Personalism posits that the person is central, both the starting and end point, for understanding the world, indeed the universe. It believes that all moral truth begins with the absolute value of the person, the sacredness of the individual's being, consciousness and personality. Personalism is a philosophy which, applied to theology as it is in the Boston school, strongly affirms the existence and importance of the soul in each human and sentient being and reaffirms the existence and essense of God in a rather complex, nuanced and unique relationship with each person. It also is quite critical of impersonalistic theories and thought - social Darwinism, Communism, etc. Martin explained Personalism this way.
I studied philosophy and theology at Boston University under Edgar S. Brightman and L. Harold DeWolf. ... It was mainly under these teachers that I studied Personalistic philosophy - the theory that the clue to the meaning of ultimate reality is found in personality. This personal idealism remains today my basic philosophical position. Personalism's insistence that only personality - finite and infinite - is ultimately real strengthened me in two convictions: it gave me metaphysical and philosophical grounding for the idea of a personal God, and it gave me a metaphysical basis for the dignity and worth of all human personality.
A key to understanding King is that he was a philosopher, by far the most important of the 20th century, a philosopher who shook society to its core and changed the world. Dr. King's was professionaly trained, over many years, in philosophy. As a child he was immersed in the Baptist fundamentalism of his father's church. But he developed deep doubts and began studying philosophy as an undergraduate at Morehouse College, then continued at Crozer, University of Pennsylvania, Boston University and Harvard. His life and actions were animated by a deep love, understanding and use of philosophy. King's six books mention many philosophers and philosophical concepts. In fact his first book, Stride Toward Freedom (1958) sites 18 different philosophers just in telling the story of the 381 day Montgomery bus boycott sparked by Rosa Parks.
... Continued from January 12, 2010.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Martin had explained his choice of Boston University (not his first, but the Yale Divinity School had rejected him despite being at the top of his class at Crozier) this way in his application to the School of Theology.
For a number of years I have been desirous of teaching in a college or a school of religion. Realizing the necessity for scholastic attainment in the teaching profession, I feel that graduate work would give me a better grasp of my field. At present I have a general knowledge of my field, but I have not done the adequate research to meet the scholarly issues with which I will be confronted in thie area. It is my candid opinion that the teaching of theology should be as scientific, as thorough, and as realistic as any other discipline. In a word, scholarship is my goal. For this reason I am desirous of doing graduate work. I feel that a few years of intensified study in a graduate school will give me a thorough grasp of knowledge in my field.
My particular interest in Boston University can be summed up in two statements. First my thinking in philosophical areas has been greatly influenced by some of the faculty members there, particularly Dr. Brightman. For this reason I have longed for the possibility of studying under him. Secondly, one of my present professors is a graduate of Boston University, and his great influence over me has turned my eyes toward his former school. From him I have gotten some valuable information about Boston University, and I have been convinced that there are definite advantages there for me.
Edgar S. Brightman was an influential philosopher and Christian theologian who had many followers among the Crozier faculty including King's adviser at the seminary. For decades while teaching at B.U., from 1919 to 1953, Brightman was a leader of the theological movement called Personalism or more particularly since he, B.U. and other Boston intellectuals were such a force in the development and spread of this school of thought, Boston Personalism.
Wrote the third installment of Dr. King's Time in Boston, just above, getting into the thought he encountered at B.U. and the movement known as Personalism.
Biked downtown with Fred and Pete. Fredereke is a fast Autobahn speed queen. She held back for us slow pokes, but I was still pushed faster than I ever go and beat when we arrived. She still had twice the distance to go and disappeared like a streak.
Pete and I started a new job on St. Botolph Street and finished another on Marlborough. The bike back was at our pokey leisurely pace.
Filled some seed starting containers with medium and got ready to plant. Starting basil, eggplant, hot peppers, Mexican Wild tomatoes. This is way too early, of course, but I need plants in various stages of growth for a late winter/early spring article on starting transplants from seed.
Image ... Elliot Bridge over the Charles River. Mural (in snow) at Trader Joe's on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Mass.
Monday, January 11, 2010
La Notte by Oana Lauric. Acrylic on canvas, 30"x30", $5900. New Members Show at the Copley Society of Art, 158 Newbury Street - through February 12.
Researching and writing Dr. King's Time in Boston, from which preview #2 appears just below.
In early Seeptember 1951 ML, as his father called him, packed his bachelor belongings into a shiny new green Chevrolet and headed north for the thousand mile drive to Boston. The Chevy, equipped with the recently introduced Powerglide automatic transmission that he'd admired in a friend's car, was a gift from Daddy King as his father, Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., was often called by his family and flock. It was his reward for graduating at the top of his class after two years at Crozier Theological Seminary outside of Philadelphia.
Upon his arrival King, from the apartheid Jim Crow South, soon encountered the harsh reality of the segregated North.
I remember very well trying to find a place to live upon arrival in the fall of 1951 [in Boston]. I went into place after place where there were signs that rooms were for rent. They were until they found out I was a Negro and suddenly they had just been rented.
After some searching he and Phillip Lenud, a friend from Morehouse College where King did his undergraduate work, found an apartment at 397 Massachusetts Avenue across from the Savoy Ballroom. The Savoy has long ceased stomping (replaced by an apartment complex at 400 Mass. Ave.), but King's digs still stand, a few doors down from the Orange Line T station and marked with a small bronze plaque.
... Continued from January 8, 2010.
The Pernice Brothers are kicking off their It Feels So Good When I Stop world tour at the Lizard Lounge, 1776 Massachusetts Avenue, on January 14 at 7:00 PM.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Discovered Songza Radio. See yesterday's Journal entry for details. It's nuts. We'll be reviewing it soon.
Sat on my precious Maxell headphones - again - with predictable results. Sutured with masking tape. Don't sound the same though. Boogers. I think I like them more than my Koss, which sounded great but were bulkier, started falling apart 5 seconds after I bought them and crapped out on their own. Occupational hazard. Headphones are the only thing for close, detailed listening and mixing. The music is inside your head rather than out there. Which is where nusic begins anyway. It's all in your head. With some sympathetic strings.
Biked downtown yesterday to meet a new client. Stepping outdoors into the strong sunshine it felt fine. On the road - 22 degrees of freeze and a sharp breeze. Baby it was brisk, but not bad. Bad is snow, rain and ice. Cold itself is cool.
Photographed MLK's bachelor digs on Mass. Ave. with freezing fingers and failing batteries. See below - although I've just dropped a huge hint. So what, as Miles says in modes. In the end nothing matters. Nothing does. Nothing finally matters. Nothing does. Nothing.
Rose early. Started prepping for today's dinner, a recipe which I've made before but I'm going to try to finally nail - Shepherd's Pie, a vegetarian version anyway (hold the little lamb).
I cook in stages on Sundays, over the course of the whole day, while I'm doing other stuff. If you're lucky this will give you the illusion that you never did any work. The first step is simply the 'mis en place' - getting all the ingredients scrubbed and in place, ready for the knife. Oh, and before that - cleaning up the kitchen and breakfast, eaten while breaking down the Sunday papers. To be a free spirit you have to follow strict routines. So be it, for some reason.
Image ... Northeast windows, third floor landing outside the office.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Martin Luther King, Jr. moved to Boston in September 1951 to pursue his doctorate at the Boston University School of Theology. Where were his bachelor quarters before he married Coretta Scott in 1953?
A - B.U. campus housing.
B - Back Bay.
C - The Fenway.
D - The South End.
E - Kenmore Square.
F - Beacon Hill.
The infamous art heist at the Gardner Museum - the largest in history with an estimated current worth of a half-billion dollars and now approaching its 20th anniversary - was cleverly carried out by thieves posing as what?
A - Mimes.
B - Undertakers.
C - Policemen.
D - Plumbers.
E - Exterminators.
Researching Dr. King's Time in Boston.
Discovered Songza Radio via Blip.fm. This is totally nuts. It put together the following four stations for me - Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Charlie Parker and Juliana Hatfield. The Alban Berg station, well it didn't know Berg directly, but it cleverly led off with Arnold Schoenberg. Tomorrow it no doubt will. Here are the playlists.
Sun Ra ....
Sun Ra - Stratosphere Blues
John Coltrane - Cousin Mary
Dizzy Gillespie - Manteca
Eric Dolphy - April Fool
Thelonius Monk - Straight, No Chaser
Thelonius Monk - Ruby, My Dear
Dizzy Gillespie - Birk's Work
Albert Ayler ...
Ghosts (First Variation)
Sun Ra (Thither and Yon
Eric Dolphy - April Fool
Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda
Yusef Lateef - Raymond Winchester
Charles Mingus - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
Charlie Parker - Bloomdido
Charlie Parker ...
Charlie Parker - Constellation
Thelonius Monk - Blue Monk
Charles Mingus - Jelly Roll
Art BLakey and the Jazz Messengers - Come Rain or Come Shine
Art Blakey - Lee's Tune
Stan Getz - Body and Soul
Duke Ellington - Mood Indigo
Juliana Hatfield ...
Elastica - Car Song
Luscious Jackson - Roses Fade (Mojo Mix)
The Breeders - Iris
Veruca Salt - Volcano Girls
Buffalo Tom - Taillights Fade
Belly - Star
Friday, January 8, 2010
Dr. Martin Luther King's time in Boston had a profound influence on him. Malcom X's life and work was forged in Boston.
Here, Martin did his doctoral studies in Christian theology at Boston University. Malcolm learned to read and created his own education while imprisoned for burglary in Charlestown and other state penitentiaries.
Both sons of Baptists ministers preached and ministered here, Martin in Baptist churches, Malcolm at Nation of Islam temples.
Both left to blaze on the worldwide stage, but both returned back to Boston again and again and always acknowledged the inluence the city had upon them.
Martin arrived in Boston in the fall of 1951 to enroll at B.U. for graduate studies just as Malcolm was finishing his intense prison self-education, receiving parole in 1952.
Martin, born on January 15, 1929, would be 81 this year. Malcolm, born May 19, 1929, would be 85. Both could be alive today and serving as important American elder statesmen of the stature of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, who's 92 this year. But both lives were brutally cut short by assasins bullets, Martin in 1965 at age 39 and Malcolm in 1965 at 40.
We'll talk about Dr. King's time in Boston in the January 15th issue of Roofscape, the date of his birthday. In the May 15th issue we'll look at Malcolm's, around the time of his.
Image ... Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Courtesy of MLK Online.
This is a hearty and elegant soup perfect for a winter evening. The key to this recipe is fresh homemade vegetable stock. To hold up to the rather robust flavor of broccoli we're using a roasted vegetable stock, but two recipes are given on the stock page and you could substitute the plain stock. A ham bone or hock couldn't hurt in either of them.
5 pounds broccoli
16 cups (1 gallon) fresh roasted vegetable stock
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
3 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Cut the stems off the heads of brocolli, trim and chop coarsely. Divide the heads into small florets between the size of a nickel and a quarter. Make two equal piles - one of all florets, the other of stems and florets.
Steam the pile of stems and florets in a pot with a steamer insert until barely tender. Working in batches, puree the cooked broccoli in a blender with a cup or so of stock. Add the puree, stock and tarragon to a large cooking pot.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil over a medium-high flame. Add the broccoli florets, lower the flame and simmer until the florets are tender, about 15 minutes. Swirl in the cheese and stir until melted.
The Emerald Necklace consists of a dozen linked green 'jewels', its parks and parkways, which are almost contiguous. The first three - Boston Common (1634, 50 acres), the Boston Public Garden (1837, 24 acres) and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall (1865, 8.7 acres) - already existed when Olmsted was first consulted in 1875 by the Boston Parks commissioners about possible public park sites within the city. But it was his idea to link the existing and proposed parks together into one continuous greenway or Green Ribbon.
The Necklace currently comprises half of Boston's park acreage and half of the city's population of over a half million live within its watershed. But, although few people know it, a major part of it is missing. Looking at a map of the Emerald Necklace as it now exists, you'll notice that its shape is a lot more like a dogleg than a dog collar. The missing link that would have completed the Necklace was what Olmsted called the Dorchesterway in his master plan.
The Dorchesterway was to be a linear park, similar to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, running from Franklin Park down Columbia Road in Dorchester to the Dorchester Marine Park, then continuing along the harbor via the Strandway (now William J. Day Boulevard) to Castle Island at Pleasure Bay in South Boston. This part of the plan was never implemented because Columbia Road was already very densely developed by the late 1800's. Some form of this plan may eventually come into being, which might additionally include a link from Castle Island back to Boston Common to truly complete the Necklace.
Wrote / rewrote the opening of Dr. King in Boston. Finished writing Broccoli and Cheddar Soup. Added the third installment of Olmsted's Green Ribbon. All three articles are previewed above.
Started the cover for the 1/15/10 issue. Changed the cover image, which was going to be a seasonal, Snow Train, to a great picture of Dr. Martin Luther King. I edited it and it's the best image of MLK you will ever see, stunning and moving.
Moved all research materials back into the office - books and files. Organized, somewhat.
Finished setting up the plant starting area. Good to go. Need seed starting medium and a garden soil/compost mix for potting up.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Writing an article on Martin Luther King's time in Boston for the 1/15/10 issue, his 81st birthday. He might still be alive today. What a different world we'd live in. What a different world we do live in thanks to his brief presence.
Working on Beans About Boston, pulling the page together, collecting and editing all the questions, answers and background info. The next issue's will be on MLK, of course, related to Boston.
Peter and I did some PR in the South End for our new (since Seotember 1) design/build business. Sunny, maybe up to 40°, just slight breezes now and then. Perfect for walking around, did four hours or so of flyering.
Broke for lunch at Francesca's. They had a crab soup that was superb. I didn't get any, but tried some of Peter's. We both got the mini of the day - a small sandwich on a split, lightly toasted English muffin - ham, cheese, lettuce and mustard with tortilla chips on the side, for $4. These are always great, change daily and are often inventive.
I'm going to review Francesca's for Boston's Best, because it is. Great people watching from the counters along the windows overlooking a very hip stretch of Tremont Street - across from the BCA, St. Cloud, Boston Ballet and surrounded by easily a dozen of the South End's top restaurants. Not to mention the hotties inside the spot. We have a new fave pit stop, well worth a slight detour. Charlie's has worn out its welcome. Is there no loyalty left? No ... I mean yes. Absinthe maketh the heart grow fonder. We're both hopeless foodie snobs.
At lunch I was telling Pete about the MLK article I'm working on. We had to divert to Dudley to pick some printing, so there and back again we did a little tour - the People's Baptist Church, MLK's apartment building at 397 Mass. Ave., the Hi-Hat jazz club location at 400 Mass. Ave. across the street, the jazz mecca around the corners of Mass. and Columbus, the Savoy where the Christian Science Plaza now is, St. Botolph St. where MLK also roomed.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
This is a sneak peek from the upcoming January 15 issue of Roofscape.
Croutons are one of life's large little pleasures. They make soups and salads sing, but sometimes they step out from the chorus and become stars. Without them, for example, a Caeser salad would be just a bowl of lettuce.
The key to croutons is crispness. How crisp? Can you hear everyone around the table crunching quite clearly. That crisp.
Crispy croutons starts with great bread - simple unbleached white country bread with a chewy crust. Iggy's Francese (shown above) is the gold standard for making croutons - and just about everything else that can be done with bread.
Iggy's breads are available in stores and farmer's markets around the greater Boston area, but they will UPS or FedEx worldwide. Francese and three other varieties are specially baked for shipping as 4-pound round basket loaves. To place an order call: 617-491-7600.
If the loaf on hand is day-old, dry and hard, so much the better, but around my house Francese never lasts long enough to get stale. I just take a fresh loaf from the freezer (it freezes well) and let it thaw until it can be cut with a bread knife.
The secret to the crispiest croutons is to bake them twice - both before and after buttering them. If you have an old gas stove with a pilot light, the first baking can be done by simply leaving them in the oven for a long time.
1 large loaf of country white bread, such as Iggy's Francese
1 stick butter, melted
8 garlic cloves, pressed or minced and mashed with salt
1 teaspoon (or 1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped) each dried basil, oregano, parsley, thyme; crumbled
1/2 teaspoon (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped) dried tarragon; crumbled
Pre-heat the oven to 325° F.
Cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes with a bread knife. Place in a single layer on a large raised-rim baking sheet (s). Bake for 15 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and place n a large mixing bowl.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the garlic.
Gradually drizzle the melted butter over the croutons as you toss them with two wooden spoons. When the croutons are all evenly coated, crumble the herbs over them, continuing to toss.
Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool before using.
Image ... Iggy's Francese bread. Courtesy of Iggy's.
Posted by Tales of a Seaside Inn at 8:07 AM
Imaged Olmsted's Green Ribbon . 1 & 2 for Garden Journal.
Added the current Beans About Boston (Malcolm X - Gardner Heist) puzzler, Thought for the Week (Thoreau) and On the Cover . 9 (Snow Train) - a Sneak Peek feature that runs only in the Journal until the next issue of Roofscape (January 15).
Labeled all Journal posts back to the beginning of the year, after discovering the incredible power of labels.
Finished the Croutons article (directly above) for Cookout. Released it as a Sneak Peek.
Set up the seed starting table by the big window in the office. It's too early for Yankees to be starting seeds - you'll notice all the snow covering the ground and planter out on the fire escape - but we need to start well ahead of time to photograph the seed starting how-to article in time for people to DIY. We'll start the actual plants for Roofscape's demonstration garden at their proper times in late winter.
The table's about 5-feet wide by 18" deep, holding dozens of transplant pots and seed starting containers. It's at the height of the window sill, which holds a dozen or so more, and supported on two saw horses we built in Roofscape's woodworking shop. A shelf below stores the planted seed starting containers before they germinate. On the floor the starting containers, pots, seed starting medium, potting soil and other tools of the trade are stored.
Finished editing and uploaded Olmsted's Green Ribbon - 2. It will continue to be serialized daily in the Journal.
On the Cover is a sneak peek at Roofscape Magazine's next cover (January 15), with the story behind making the image.
Snow Train was made in Haverhill, Massachusetts as the commuter train from Boston pulled into the station early one morning in a snow squall. By: Stephen Bastide. Camera: Olympus D-620L.
1/10/10 ... Actually, this was to be the cover, but it got bumped in favor of an undeniable photograph of Martin Luther King to lead the article Dr. King's Time in Boston, previewed above.
... a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau. Walden, Where I Lived and What I Lived For.
So you think you know beans about Boston? We'll see. Take our progressive trivia test. Every week a question, carefully crafted by our crack trivia team, is posed about Boston history, culture, customs, driving directions or whatever.
Email your answer (on the back of a $20 PayPal draft) to email@example.com. Contestants with the correct answer will be acknowledged and losers admonished.
Now the 'progressive' part of the test is this. When we post the answer to the previous week's question (Old Beans) it will be followed by a related background briefing. Recall that information in the future to help solve some New Beans.
Old Beans ...
Malcolm X moved to Boston in the early 1940's, a troubled teenager with a tumultuous past, to live with his aunt Ella on Dale Street in Roxbury. Soon after his arrival, his aunt offered him a piece of advice that Malcolm later recalled as being one of the most important he was ever given. What was it?
1. Go see Boston.
2. Get a job!
3. Go to church.
4. Get some sharp threads.
5. Join the Nation of Islam.
Correct answer ... 1. Go see Boston.
Aunt Ella told Malcolm to go see Boston before he became busy with a job and schooling and had no time to wander around the city. He took her advice and was amazed by all the history on view wherever he went, including the Boston Massacre monument featuring Crispus Attucks, the black martyr who helped spark the American Revolution.
Amazingly, no one got this right. 100% of respondents chose 5. Join the Nation of Islam. Malcolm joined the Nation after being introduced to it by fellow prisoners while serving time in Concord and Walpole.
New Beans ...
The infamous art heist at the Gardner Museum - the largest in history with an estimated current worth of a half-billion dollars and now approaching its 20th anniversary - was cleverly carried out by thieves posing as what?
Olmsted moved with his family to Boston from Manhattan in 1883 specifically to design and manage the building of this massive civic project. To do this he established the world's first professional landscape architecture firm at Fairsted in the leafy Brookline hills.
Boston without the Emerald Necklace would be as unimaginable as New York City without Central Park - and amazingly Olmsted designed and built both of them. Central Park, his first commission, launched his career as a landscape architect in 1857 and the Emerald Necklace concluded it upon its completion in 1896, after almost 20 years of tireless work. In between he also designed and built many other parks, park systems, parkways, landscapes and planned communities around the country and in Canada.
We take as a given the parks and park systems within the cities of this country, but it wasn't always so. Boston Common, for example, was established in 1634 by the Puritans, primarily to graze cattle and hang criminals and Quakers. For 200 years the Common was the only public park within the booming city of Boston, until the creation of the Public Garden in 1837. Public parks are an invention of the modern mind, and most especially of Olmsted's.
As we see daily, Boston is a city always under construction, a work in progress, constantly reinventing, tearing down and rebuilding itself. One fairly changeless constant over the past century, however, has been the Emerald Necklace. It looks somewhat different from Olmsted's original designs, but it's still intact and if he returned today for a visit he would find its main features quite recognizable. In short, it has stood the test of time, when time has swept away so much of the American urban landscape.
... Continued from yesterday, 1/5/10. Olmsted's Green Ribbon continues tomorrow, 1/7/10.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Get your rooftop, backyard or house party started with Radio Roofscape. Our sole mission, should you accept it, is simply to shake your thing. R&B, jazz, rock, house, hip-hop, soul, reggae, blues and gospel are all in the mix. Whatever it takes to rock your body or power up your workout and the party.
Here's a favorite video from the current playlist, Koffee Brown's After Party, a tune that always fills the floor.
Frederick Law Olmsted arguably did more to shape this country than any other American in our history. And shape we also mean in the literal and physical sense - by sculpting the landscape of the United States. A contemporary described his work this way.
An artist, he paints with lakes and wooded slopes; with lawns and banks and forest covered hills; with mountain sides and ocean views.
Boston especially has been shaped by Olmsted's visionary painting. One of his last and most important projects was the Emerald Necklace, which he referred to as the Green Ribbon. The Necklace, as it's now known, is an interconnected park system stretching for 7 miles and over 1,100 acres throughout the city from bustling Boston Common out to bucolic Franklin Park in Roxbury.
... Olmsted's Green Ribbon continues tomorrow, 1/6/10.
Stock is the basic building block for many good things constructed in the kitchen. Soups, stews and sauces all often rise or fall by their stock.
Now there's store bought stuff called 'stock' that comes in cans or cartons, or god forbid cubes and powders. Maybe it's better than nothing but nothing beats freshly homemade stock.
Stock isn't too difficult or ime-consuming to make. Chopping vegetables and boiling water are the necessary skills and most of the time involves unattended cooking whose duration is flexible.
Other good news. You don't need to peel or seed anything, in fact the peels and seeds add flavor. Simply wash and chop the vegetables, cutting out any bad spots. An unmistakable scent will soon fill your house - and you will be sampling.
There are two types of stock, light and dark. To make a light stock the vegetables are simply simmered together for a few hours. For a dark stock they're roasted together in the oven for an hour or so before simmering. This produces a richer, darker stock. In general, light stocks pair well in dishes using ingredients with lighter tastes - potatoes, say. Dark stocks complement ingredients with more assertive flavors - broccoli, perhaps.
2 pounds turnips, chopped
2 pounds carrots, sliced
1 pound potatoes, chopped
2 pounds onions, chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
1/2 pound celery, sliced
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
1 - 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 apple, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (if making dark stock)
3 whole cloves
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups dry white wine
1 gallon (16 cups) water
PREPARATION - Dark Stock
Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
Wash and prepare the first seven vegetables. Toss in a large bowl with the oil. Place in a large roasting pan with the tomatoes.
Roast for an hour in the middle of the oven, turning several times with a spatula.
Transfer the vegetables to a large stock pot. Deglaze the roasting pan with some of the wine. Add the remnants, remaining ingredients and water to the pot.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, lower the flame and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Strain the stock, pressing the vegetables in the strainer with a large spoon to extract all the juices. Allow the stock to cool and settle. Skim any froth off the top. Take the spent vegetables to the compost bin.
PREPARATION - Light Stock
Wash and prepare the vegetables.
Place the vegetables and all other ingredients in a large stock pot.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, lower the flame and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Strain the stock, pressing the vegetables in the strainer with a spoon to extract all the juices. Allow the stock to cool and settle. Skim any froth off the top. Take the spent vegetables to the compost bin.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Researching and writing The Height of Summer in the Depths of Winter.
Broke off to start Broccoli and Cheddar Soup before I'd forgotten the various details of the recipe. These always hover outside the kitchen notes. The best writing, like cooking, is done with fresh ingredients and experiences - although soups often improve with age over several days.
The soup had one essential - Stock - and another side - Croutons - element. I split them off into two other separate recipes. If you view them now you'll soon see how down and dirty things all get behind the scene before debut.
Snow stopped, sun peeked out, temperature rose to freezing, clouds closed in. A good day to be cooped up indoors wrestling with words. Maybe walk and wander to photograph towards dusk in the falling light.
The mushrooms I photographed above appear from time to time in Roofscape's garden in the Fenway. They are quite magical and mysterious. Somehow, I'd never bothered to ID them, but always enjoyed their elusive appearances.
Peter, our mushroom (and bee) man had never seen them and didn't recognize them from the photo. But he went online, googled translucent mushroom, and in seconds found photos, a description and an (tentative) ID ... Coprinus lagopus.
A few days ago I noticed some of these on a pile of wood-chips in the woods between Farnborough North and Frimley stations. I also noticed that they seemed to change form between the mornings and the afternoons. I have tentatively identified them as Coprinus lagopus, a type of ink-cap mushroom.
In the mornings their stems are straight (up to 12cm long) and their caps neat little inverted translucent grey umbrellas (up to 5cm across), as shown above. By the late afternoon, the stems have drooped and the caps are ragged, shrivelled and blackened, as shown below. However, by the afternoon, the next day's mushrooms are already thrusting their heads up.
Tristram Brelstaff, Reading, UK. Photo: Stephen Bastide.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Still snowing, temps in the teens, windy, the trees tossing. Sky orange-ish before dawn, windows rimed with ice, plastered with snow. The office tropicaly warm as always thanks to the new heating system programmed (I guess) with over-caring logic. T-shirt weather, watching the storm rage through the big office windows. Snowbound. Lovely feeling that.
Working on The Height of Summer in the Depths of Winter, which is certainly where we're at now. This is the new article I'm focusing on.
Radio Roofscape Sunday Gospel Show ...
Kirk Franklin - Brighter Day
Blind Boys of Alabama - Run On
Mighty Clouds of Joy - Heavy Load, live at the Apollo
Aretha Franklin - The Lord Will Make a Way
Joseph Spence - Coming In On a Wing and a Prayer
Johnny Cash - Help Me
Albert Ayler - Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Kierra Kiki Sheard - You Don't Know
Disciples of Christ - Do Your Part
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Mel Bartholomew and Patti Moreno talk about eco friendly gifts from and for the garden! From Pine Cone bird feeders to decorating your garden for the holidays!
Up late night working and wondering. Programmed a cool trip-hop set (list below) on Radio Roofscape after watching Embedded, a great new show on Hulu. Amanda Palmer was one of the acts on. She gigged with the Boston Pops New Year's Eve. Who would I pay less to see? I mean she's OK, I program her peculiar brand of ear torture sometimes.
Telepathe - So Fine
Stereolab - Infinity Girl
Moby - Porcelain
Tegan and Sara - Walking With a Ghost
Portishead - Nefisa
Madita - Ceylon
Thievery Corporation - Lebanese Blond
Researching The Height of Summer in the Depths of Winter. Assembling the planting list and seed order, mainly using Johnny's and Burpee.
Garden Girl TV, devoted to urban sustainable living, has joined the magazine. The first espisode is just above.
Bussed downtown through the swirling snow to see two clients. Solved their problems, made money. Bussed back. Had my camera, I was watching, but not fully. Saw no pictures as a result. Although I was paying attention to the view through the dirty windows on the bus plastered with melting snow.
Programmed the weekly Sunday gospel set.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Happy 20-10! I think that's how we'll name the years from now on, getting away from this 2000-X anomaly back to 10-66 and all that.
Started work on a new article yesterday about Roofscapes 2010 gaarden. You can follow The Height of Summer in the Depths of Winter as a work in progress if you like. Below is a drawing of the garden that I made this morning using our new drawing program EazyDraw.
Charles and I went food shopping in Cambridge yesterday after lunch at his favorite burger joint in Central Square. Snow was falling. We got a few merely scenic inches.
Fireworks at midnight over Boston Common. A clear back row seat with sound-FX in Dot from the top floor. Sandy watched out the other hallway window.