I am nowhere near any circle Arctic or Antarctic. I'm at 30°20' north latitude. I'm roughly 350 miles from Brownsville, and Brownsville is only 170 miles from the Tropic of Cancer—520 miles from the tropics where the sun passes overhead twice a year to reach into the heart of every soul below. Even at Texas latitude the sun beats down with mad intent to boil the air until it thins to Venusian weather—an ocean of humidity about to be boiled away by the sun—an effect that, I'm convinced, leaves survivors with a syndrome of self-righteous good old boys, cold pissy-thin beer, and a firm belief in guns, pick-ups, cunts, glorious war, and the life imprisonment of all sexual deviants wherever possible—and, basically, they suspect anyone who doesn't agree with them of deviance. Monolithic Baptists.
At 3:30 p.m. when I started writing this, we should have been at the peak of the day's brightness, but it was twilight dim. Now it's a quarter to six and looks like those seconds of fleeting daylight after the sun has gone completely down but night hesitates—in a way that our great star never does—in fear and honor of the sun before taking hold of time. But Google says that sunset won't be until 8:28 tonight—nearly 2½ hours away.
All right, don't let me mislead you with this obsession with the dim day and the early night. I like this for a season. I just find it strange and interesting, so I describe it. The clouds have brought lots of rain, and it has rained on and off all day. The neighbors who do whatever it takes to get their kids to and from the school a few blocks away escorted them back this afternoon beneath umbrellas. In the nights we often have symphonies in percussion as storms rage in the night—thunder that sneaks up to scare you and make you jump—but that many people sleep through: they ask the next day, "Oh, did it rain last night?"
Last night, a storm underway, and my blog finally well defined and needing only a final pass, I rinsed some pinto beans in a colander and put them in the slow cooker. Ten minutes later I covered them with boiling hot water to let the beans soak until I got up at noon today. In my morning I chopped an onion, sliced two links of sausage with the kitchen scissors, and spiced the beans with (too much) ground cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
Those links of sausage create the exciting point about this particular batch of beans's fatty flavoring. Most of the time I cook vegetarian beans and use only olive oil for the fat in the beans—nearly all cooking, if you haven't noticed yet, is either ceremonially or actually a suspension of carbohydrates in oil. Even a salad of spring greens has to be anointed with olive oil or it tastes just too raw. The grand tradition of Texas cooking as handed down to me comprises three recipes: beans, cornbread, and barbecue chicken, and I don't have a grill. So. Two.
|Cat Stevens, 1978.|
Image in public domain.
Hardliners in Iran have continued to reaffirm the death sentence. In early 2005, Khomeini's fatwā was reaffirmed by Iran's current spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a message to Muslim pilgrims making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Additionally, the Revolutionary Guards declared that the death sentence on him is still valid. Iran rejected requests to withdraw the fatwā on the basis that only the person who issued it may withdraw it, and the person who issued it – Ayatollah Khomeini – has been dead since 1989 (Wikipedia).
|The Ayatollah Khomeini.|
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