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Remember Remember

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It’s Guy Fawkes day.  I can’t for the life of me ever seem to actually remember why he tried to blow up Parliament.  Most everything I know about this holiday I learned from V for Vendetta, which I doubt is a rich source of historical accuracy.  But I’ve been seeing Mr. Fawkes’s pointy beard everywhere these days.  Apparently he’s become the mascot for OWS or something.  I’m so behind on the news.  You’d think I’d get my TV working or something, but I really have no interest.

Let me say, I’m not a fan of blowing up buildings, even if they’re unoccupied.  The number of times I’ve seen Fight Club doesn’t change the fact that I don’t condone real life violence.  I am hugely in favor of people using their voice, however.  Outsiders are often puzzled and disapproving of the amount of bickering that seems to go on in our culture.  They get a skewed view of America from their media because they only hear the people with the loudest voices, a lot of whom appear on Fox News.  Yet, even though it’s annoying, I believe there’s something special about our freedom of speech that allows people to say even the craziest of things.  Whatever you believe, you have the right to tell people about it whether others agree with you or not.

This freedom, though, gives us a much greater responsibility to educate ourselves and think before we react.  This is a responsibility I feel too many people neglect.  Anybody can say anything they want, but that doesn’t mean you should believe them.  This is the most important lesson I tried to teach my students.  Evaluate what you hear in the media.  Search for biases.  Analyze the validity.  A lesson I fear so many people have forgotten.

See, now I’m just rambling again.

So, on this bonfire day, I will eat treacle toffee, watch a great film with an elf and a swan, and be grateful for my freedom.  There are still too many people around the world living under tyrannical rule.  The Arab spring proved that humanity’s urge for freedom from oppression cannot be denied.  There are a lot of things that are seriously messed up in this country.  Greed and irresponsibility are rampant.  And yet, essentially, I am free and happy.  So set something on fire tonight, and remember remember the fifth of November because really, what else is there to do?



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Today Americans celebrate freedom.  For all our flaws, this concept is the thing that makes us so special.  Though we may have different definitions for it, freedom is something that I think all Americans cherish fiercely.  But I’m not here to get all patriotic on you or to wax philosophical.  I’m much too full and contented to expend the mental energy on developing my thesis about the central role of the concept of freedom in American culture.  Maybe some other day.

I celebrated my freedom today by staying inside as much as possible during daylight hours.  I read books, watched Nip/Tuck and thoroughly enjoyed having another day off.  This was the first day when I didn’t feel too stressed or too exhausted to appreciate my short break from work.

I eventually did have to venture out in the evening because I pulled a major airhead move Friday night and left my helmet at the nail shop.  I had to wear Geoff’s dorky tripod helmet and ride over there to claim it.  After that, I ventured over to Jason’s and made a miraculous discovery.  Lemons!!!  I absolutely adore lemons in both savory and sweet foods, but they are extremely rare here.  Most Taiwanese people don’t even know what lemons are.  I bought three big gorgeous lemons.  What should I do with them?  I’m thinking I might have to really go over the top and do something that involves lemon curd.  I’ve never made it before, but I’ve read about it, and I think I can conquer it.

But remember how I said I was so full right now?  That’s because I made these ridiculous Southwest burgers.  They were super easy.  You should make some too.  To a pound of ground beef I added about three tablespoons of taco seasoning and an eighth of a cup of pace picante hot salsa, mixed it up, and formed it into patties.  I don’t have a grill so I cooked them under the broiler for about eight minutes a side.  Then I topped them with some cheese.  Mine had cheddar, but Geoff’s had pepper jack, which I think would be amazing if you actually liked that kind of cheese.  I also decided to put some mayonnaise mixed with chili sauce on my toasted sesame seed bun before I ate mine.  It was outrageously delicious.  Just a little bit spicy and oh so juicy.

Geoff was especially pleased with his burger.  I think this might have been the first time he’s had an actual homemade burger.  I think he’s used to eating those prefab patties where the meat is packed like a brick and there’s no seasoning inside the actual burger patty.  Those things leave no room for the meat juices and there’s nothing to impart an extra punch of flavor.  I’ve always prided myself on making pretty great burgers.  I learned it from my dad.  I would have preferred to grill these so that the fat could drip away instead of forming a pool around the burger as it cooked, but you work with what you got.  It was so delicious I wasn’t thinking about my arteries.

I hope you had a great fourth of July and did something fantastic to celebrate your freedom.  There are a lot of people in the world who would die, have died, and are dying for the kind of freedom we have.  I hope that for at least one day we can put aside our petty differences and realize what truly makes America such a great country.  Oh, and blow some stuff up, will ya.