sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-03-07 12:39 am

It makes you wonder why you're here and why you feel so strangely weird

I did not know that cube steak is called chicken-fried or country-fried when you dredge it in beaten egg and seasoned flour and fry it in a skillet, but that's what we made for dinner tonight. I'm not disputing the name: it's exactly the preparation my family uses for chicken breasts pounded thin, although those tend to get served with lemon. I had just never encountered it in the wild, which I suspect just means I have never eaten a meal in Texas. [ profile] derspatchel made cheese grits to go on the side and his family's pepper gravy to go on top and I confirmed for myself that our apartment's fire alarm works. Autolycus confirmed that he will attempt to eat anything that contains milk, even if it also contains cayenne.

I am very glad that we made it to the town hall with Attorney General Maura Healey. Much of what she was doing was reassuring her constituency that her office is both responding to the daily onslaught of national-level horror coming out of the White House ("You name it, day after day, it's been disheartening and distressing") and keeping on track with its own state agenda (opioid crisis, student debt, healthcare, gun safety, consumer protection, the environment), but she was an entertaining and responsive speaker and I did find myself reassured, so I would say she's good at the public-facing part of her job as well as the part that involves getting sued twice by the NRA and most recently—and unsuccessfully—by Exxon. She was in Logan Airport the night of the first travel ban and she finds the revised version no less unconstitutional, disingenuous, and dangerous. She called 45 a "chaos president" and reminded the audience that she did not believe that his election reflected the true American majority: "And I'm not even going to get into the popular vote." She stressed the efficacy of small daily actions as well as big crowd rallies, the kind of steady pressure on elected officials that has already produced results like the Arizona legislature backing down on its bill to criminalize nonviolent protest; she spoke multiple times of the importance of reaching out to the people who are already being hurt, who are marginalized or marginalized differently from you, the importance of showing love, compassion, and solidarity. The state hotline to report hate crimes or bias incidents—experienced or witnessed—is (800) 994-3228. Topics from the audience included the legal status of sanctuary cities, gun violence, affordable housing and minimum wage, the urgency of Massachusetts' opioid epidemic, clean energy and climate change, the best ways to combat potential ICE action in Somerville and Cambridge, trans rights and Healey's disappointment in Jeff Sessions, the importance of not forgetting people actually using drugs in the focus on prevention and recovery, and the closing big-picture question of what the attorneys general across different states are doing to fight a presidential administration that seems bent on exploiting and exhausting its citizens, for which Healey's answer was "Take your vitamins, drink a lot of water, get up, and go!" and the encouragement that, indeed, state AGs wake up every morning, read the news, and immediately ask themselves "Do we have grounds to sue?" Earlier she had taken a question from an audience member concerned about Baker's budget cuts and her office's ability to handle so many different issues; now she closed with a verbal air-punch, "We got this!" I had not heard her speak before; I am not surprised that she has a huge popular following. She gave the impression of tenacity, energy, and humor without naiveté; she never offered a slick answer to a complicated question without qualifying it, which I appreciated especially given her flair for pithy lines. The thing where she is an out and proud queer woman in politics is also pretty sweet. It was slightly startling and wonderful that the thin silvery man who asked about climate change was Fred Small, beloved folksinger of my childhood, these days Minister for Climate Justice at the Arlington Street Church. [ profile] teenybuffalo sat in front of us and almost certainly took better notes than I did.

I am also pleased that my hunt for a birthday book for my mother in the basement of the Harvard Book Store bore fruit, but I am taking it as a wholly undeserved reward from the universe that their mystery section contained a remaindered paperback of Elliott Chaze's obscure pulp classic Black Wings Has My Angel (1953) and New Orleans Noir (2007) edited by Julie Smith, complete with Benjamin January story. It opens with a perfectly reasonable incredulous question: "Kentucky Williams owns a Bible?" Hannibal is referencing autochthonous Athenian kings by the bottom of the page, so I expect to enjoy it.

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