Wednesday, January 26, 2022

"Collapse is just a series of ordinary days in between extraordinary bullshit, most of it happening to someone else."*

I keep having this awareness that we are living in, or about to be living in, a third world country, a banana republic short on bananas. 

A viral pandemic, hospitals overwhelmed, health care workers burned out, mass shootings, murders on the rise, guns everywhere, food shortages, breakdown of all kinds of infrastructure, fascism taking hold, the rich sucking the wealth out of the entire society, power hungry autocrats consolidating more and more power, alternative narratives diluting truth, global warming laughed at, melting permafrost and plant and animal species threatened or disappearing, collective amnesia of civility and respect...but there is TV and Jeopardy and Entertainment Tonight, and NFL Football and plenty of beer at the grocery store, and weekend dinner plans....I can go on.

"This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while you think about dinner."*

I came across this short article cited by a reader on J.M.G. (Joe.My.God. - the LGBT News Blog). It is worth a read:

*Title and quotes by Indi Samarajiva

Friday, January 21, 2022

Mastering the Art of La Pizza

 I have been making pizza (wrong) for like 33 years or more. Basically using my bread dough which is less hydrated than authentic Neopolitan pizza dough.

But just made my best pizza ever after watching this video several times.  (see below if you want to see an expert)

Despite the fact that my oven only goes to 500 F and I don't have a pizza stone (been there done that) and I was out of mozzarella because I put the last of it in my one-egg omelet for lunch!

It took 8+ minutes in the oven. Next time I will slip the pizza out onto the rack after 4 minutes to get the bottom crust more brown. 

I put three balls of dough into the freezer...I hope they will turn out as good. Thanks for the lesson, Ciao, Vito.

Granted, this is kind of an advertisement for a very expensive pizza oven, but Vito shows the proper technique. I am learning that hydration (ratio of water to flour) is the key. A 900 degree oven helps.

And if you want to see a REAL Pizza Oven being built you can watch this (in Italian, so you may want to turn off the sound). It looks like a real mess while he's building it, but the final result is ART.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Another Musician Gone Too Soon

I have to stop looking up nostalgic things and people from my past on the internet. 

I looked up "Smalltown Boy" on YouTube, only to find that Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat died just a month ago in December of 2021. I must admit that I was initially confusing Steve Bronski with Jimmy Somerville who is more well known as the singer with the falsetto voice on the album Age of Consent. None the less...

"Legendary Bronski Beat musician Steve Bronski died in a fire, friend confirms. Steve Bronski, co-founder and keyboard player of pop group Bronski Beat, died after a fire in his flat, according to a friend. The musician's passing at the age of 61 was announced last week, but no cause of death was given at the time." Dec 14, 2021, PinkNews, UK.

"Steve Bronski, part of the 1980s British synth-pop trio Bronski Beat, whose members were openly gay at a time when that was uncommon and whose early songs unabashedly addressed homophobia and other gay issues, died after a fire on Dec. 7 at his apartment building in the Soho section of London."  NYT Dec 22, 2021.

I have been nostalgic of late and focused on remembering the most joyous times of my life. One of those was Disco.

There was the period just after I came out, late bloomer that I was, in 1984 when I would go to the clubs (a lot). The beat of disco music and I could not help but to dance - man, I loved to dance. The music, the beat, and dancing and the sea of sweaty men would get me high. 

I would be thoroughly elated, energized and exhilarated. As they say, "Those were the days."

One of the tunes that had a hypnotic beat and great lyrics was "Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat. 

It was a gay anthem of sorts, a lament of sorts, the story of a kid who didn't fit in. It wasn't exactly my story, but I could relate. 

I have the tune in my iTunes library, on my iPhone, and on my Honda USBdrive along with most of the classic disco tunes of the era. I still love them all. I had been just listening to "Smalltown Boy" while riding my bicycle in the garage*.

Then I was curious to check out "Smalltown Boy" on YouTube. There were several videos and in the comment section I was seeing many people signing off with was the first I'd heard about Bronski's passing.

Here is an extended version of "Smalltown Boy" featuring Jimmy Somerville, in memory of Steve Bronski:

*doing my physical therapy routine for my bad left knee using a bike trainer stand; ten to fifteen minutes on a stationary bike is like an eternity in HELL; but music makes the medicine easier to tolerate.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Into Obscurity

 Watching Willie Geist interview an English singer I've never heard of despite his record-breaking world tours, I remarked to Leon: I bet there are a hundred other singers, much more talented than that guy, who will never see the light of day." I get philosophical about these very talented people  remain forever in obscurity and many others, some with questionable talent get fame and fortune.

I was immediately reminded of Jeff Krassner, a gay musician and songwriter whose music I have in my iTunes Library and which we played during our wedding ceremony in 2014. In particular the songs "Strong for You" and "I Hear the Angels Sing".

So I went to Google and found only two references: one was a 1998 article about Krassner getting the opening of Gay Games in NYC and the other was an obituary. It seems that he really had to put out extraordinary effort to see a glimmer of limelight and produce an album. 

I could find only a handful of references to him or his album, most of which were dead-ends and not much else. Even his obit was a mere three sentences. Too bad he came before social media and other outlets for artists.

Snippets of the songs on his album "Strong For You" can be found here

But I do find his album for sale on Amazon. I think he was a fine singer and songwriter and am sorry that his life and career was cut short. I join him in obscurity.

This was his only music video I could find on YouTube:

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year

 Our internet is down again. Seems to be a regular holiday occurrence. There was snow in the mountains where the transmitter is. Last time it was the wind. I don’t want to use up my phone data so this will be short. Happy New Year. 


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