Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
So Chris Thomas King's "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou has always been one of my favorites.
But today I decided to finally research it and see when it was actually written. I've never done it before, I guess because I was afraid I would find it only a convincing, but modern song made for the movie.
I was pleasantly surprised, however! It was written by Skip James, the gentleman preforming the song in the first video, in 1931. I was pleased to see that Mr. King's version did full justice to the original. I must admit I like the guitar better in the modern version, but I think the less distinct, crackly, dog-eared quality of the older recording adds to its charm.
Doing an Internet search on Skip James is definitely worth it--he lived an interesting life, and was beginning to gain public attention when the Great Depression came along and cut his career short.
However, he experienced a return to the public attention towards the end of his life, in the 1960s.
So. . .compare the two, see which you like best.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
So here I am, bored and in pain, and what better way to make it better than to think on coffee??
Coffee, according to the women of Denmark, is to the body what the Word of the Lord is to the soul. ~Isak Dinesen
Nancy Astor: "If I were your wife, I would put poison in your coffee.
Sir Winston Churchill: "And if I were your husband, I would drink it."
(Possibly the funniest exchange of wit EVER!)
The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks.
~Sir James Mackintosh
Schlendrian: You wicked child, you disobedient girl, oh! when will I get my way; give up coffee!Lieschen: Father, don't be so severe! If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat.
Lieschen: Mm! how sweet the coffee tastes, more delicious than a thousand kisses, mellower than muscatel wine. Coffee, coffee I must have,and if someone wishes to give me a treat, ah, then pour me out some coffee!
~J.S. Bach, "Coffee Cantata"
I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte (Ah, yes--how well I understand him, in my present situation!)
And the next quote, from my dear friend Mark Twain, which fills me with continuous doubt when I think about travelling to Europe (despite the reassurance of others who have been there since the illustrious Mr. Twain):
After a few months' acquaintance with European 'coffee' one's mind weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich beverage of home, with it's clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it, is not a mere dream after all, and a thing which never existed. ~ Mark Twain
Ah, yes. The Women's Petition Against Coffee.Now, if you're like me, you're probably thinking: what the heck was wrong with those sharp-tongued crabby 17'th-century women? Now, what could have made them so spiteful and bitter?
I say, it wasn't the demoralizing effect of the plague, the destruction and havoc wreaked by the Great Fire of London, or their lack of legal rights--no! It take a different view.
It is common knowledge that women were not allowed in coffee-houses in those days. Well, they were clever women, and knew exactly what they were missing out on. What's a girl to do when deprived of something? Well, if it isn't possible to gain access to it yourself, the only other option is to see that nobody else gets any, either!
That being said, I will now share some recipes that are so wonderfully delicious they would have even melted the hearts of our scathing Londoner ancestors, the anonymous coffee-haters.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes enough for two generous servings
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla (yes, the recipe says tablespoons!)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (OR 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and pinch of ginger)
1/2 cup brewed espresso (OR 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee)
whipped cream for garnish, if desired
Combine all ingredients and cook over low heat until flavors are combined. Pour into large coffee mugs, garnish with whipped cream (optional), and serve with ginger snaps. Think FALL!
"The discovery of coffee has enlarged the realm of illusion and given more promise to hope."
~ Isidore Bourdon
Sweetened condensed milk!
1-2 cups of chilled strong coffee
4-6 tbsp of sweetened condensed milk
Mix these together in a nice glass (if it's a clear one you can try and make designs) and add ice cubes. Whatever happens, don't skimp on the condensed milk, or it will just be disgusting. Add until your coffee is a pleasing, creamy caramel shade, which is the best indicator for the proper amount of condensed milk. And don't be ashamed to, like Winnie-the-Pooh, taste the condensed milk liberally to make sure it hasn't gone bad while you're mixing the coffee. ;-)
If possible, make some unsweetened coffee ice cubes. But if, like me, you've somehow managed to lose your circa-1990 ice cube trays, and have subsequently decided you don't want any other trays in the world, you can use regular ice--it will just dilute the coffee as it melts. Most people don't care, but this deeply disturbs me.
Also, I find that drinking iced coffee with a straw makes it taste so much better.
"No coffee can be good in the mouth that does not first send a sweet offering of odor to the nostrils."
~Henry Ward Beecher
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
1 oz of fresh espresso (I just us strong coffee)
1 oz of mint syrup
1 tbsp chocolate powder
1 cup steamed milk
Fresh mint leaf
Blend coffee, syrup, and chocolate powder in preheated cups. Add the steamed milk. Garnish with chocolate powder and a fresh mint leaf.
You can easily make your own mint syrup (I did) by adding about a cup or more of mint leaves to a simmering simple syrup, which is made by simmering equal amounts of sugar and water. Or you can add the mint after taking the syrup from the heat, it doesn't matter. And of course you'll have to strain it.
I increased the amount of coffee that I used in mine, because 1 oz just isn't enough. Besides, I think equal parts syrup and coffee would just be too sweet.
"No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness."
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
and Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. I've watched both movie trailers about five times.
Also, I've watched Into the West. Wonderful series! Very realistic and historically accurate, as far as I could tell. Of course I have a thing or two to say about their erratic character follow-up. Advice to Steven Spielberg: if you're going to put your name on something, make sure their plot development is flawless! Really, we've come to expect better from you!
But other than that, it was wonderful. ;-)
And also, I'm reading Jane Austen and vintage science fiction simultaneously; an activity I highly recommend to everybody.
So, there you have it.