“It’s cherry season,” I was informed, “and I’d like to make a pie.”

When someone tells you that during the hottest June you’ve ever felt, you think “a trip to Publix for ingredients… the oven will be going… flour all over the kitchen” and you run out to the car as fast as you can because, after all, it IS cherry season. And you are asked to make a crust from scratch rather than buying one of those processed, plastic store-bought ready crusts– really, how insulting to one’s guests!– and you think: lattice-work top, with maybe some dough cutouts of cherries to dress the top with…

After searching through Barnes and Noble and Borders for a Serbo-Croatian grammar for cousin Nicola, he and I disappeared into the vast Publix near Winter Park Village; it used to be an Albertson’s, and I swear there’s a three ring circus somewhere in the store to entertain the kids while mommy or daddy does the shopping. It’s HUGE… and it was freezing. My cousin, who can’t abide by temperature fluctuations that range more than two degrees on either side of a balmy 75 (24 Celsius), went from the sultry night air into the frigid depths of Publix with me so that we could shop for pie ingredients, one of which was “a bottle of that cherry liqueur that they probably have in those little liquor stores that Publix has now.” Well, it was SO cold in there– Nicola’s hands were icy– that we sped up and down the familiar aisles looking for ingredients which were, I might add, not written aisle-by-aisle in the order that the store features them. Not that it would have helped in this case; this Publix is markedly different from the ones I am familiar with. But still… we raced up and down, trying to keep warm, stopping every now and then when we spied an ingredient. Cherries… eggs… lemon. Natural sugar… tapioca… and then some things we needed at the house: salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, and Sierra Mist, which is all that cousin Nicola drinks.

Of course there were two things that we didn’t have strength enough to find and, besides, our fingers were numb. Back home by ten PM, which is hardly the time to start making a pie. Anyway, that’s one of our cocktail hours.

Sunday was pie-making day; after cousin and I got back from downtown and lunch, I was pressed into crust service (see above), and Nicola was inveigled into pitting four cups of red cherries. For every one he pitted, he ate two; his system had something to do with the dollar-to-Euro exchange rate. Kirk composed and macerated the filling, which led to a protracted discussion in Italian and English as to what macerate meant, and cousin was relieved to discover that it isn’t something necessarily done in private. Actually, I jest, and to macerate is actually rendered amalgamare  in Italian, and soon my kitchen was amalgamated with flour. How can two and a half cups of flour end up coating every surface between here and Sanford? But, I clean as I go, and with the help of Narba and Sarba, our twin Kreplachian housekeepers, the mess was kept to a minimum. And of course the crust I rolled out was barely enough to just droop over the sides of the pie baker– hence the little red buttons I made to seal the lattice to the sides. Ingenious, I know.

It turned out very well and is setting as we speak. We’re all looking forward to a slice, but we won’t be indulging until cocktail hour is over.

Weiner Obsessed

Penis Hat courtesy of

Does anybody get it?

Our latest sexually-charged political scandal (if, one one hand, it can be referred to as so) features an elected politician sexting and texting and apparently flashing his more private parts over the ether, causing no end of consternation to the delicate sensibilities of the tender, vulnerable, easily-offended, soft-boiled denizens of the United States of America.

He’s been reviled from both sides of the aisle. (For my overseas reader, that’s a physical, yet also symbolic alley which separates Democrats from Republicans in both the Senate and the House; it is usually littered with candy wrappers, used diapers, and broken toys.

What gets me is that the ones doing the reviling come across as so blameless. Do they really lead such perfect lives? They would be loath to have anyone sifting through their computer files– that would be un-American, Socialist, Communist, and fascist– but yet they’re obsessed with Anthony Weiner’s hard drive. The self-professed “religious” elected are always the worst, their smarmy, vacant smiles always seeming to mask a life of muck.

Do you all realize what this leads to? It happened throughout history, and it’s going to happen again. Our younger generation doesn’t give a fig about Anthony Weiner and his hobby, mainly because these young kids realize that most adults live lives of double standards. These young adults are seeing that their private lives are in danger of being subject to 100% regulation, and that any action can be exposed and made to ruin one’s life simply at the whim of the media or the ignorant sheeple. They see that people are out of work in this country, that tens of thousands of people were ruined in the banking scandals, that we are spending in wars billions of dollars that should be going into education, and that the country has drifted off into a realm where stupidity and ignorance rule… yet their elected leaders seem solely concerned about penises. (And don’t even get me started about gay issues– how can such a minimal number of citizens cause so many millions of red-blooded, heterosexual men to stampede from fear?)

I think these younger people are on the verge of revolution. I certainly hope so. Don’t think that it’s not going to happen, because it’s happened plenty of times before… who are we to declare that our current society is the ne plus ultra of civilization? I would be ashamed to admit that.