Monday, 29 October 2012

Swindlers' List


Our Masters in Brussels have friends in Greece. They are the same corrupt, venal, wasteful, nepotistic and incompetent politicians that plunged Greece into gargantuan trouble, through their thefts and dishonesty. The EU expects these fine people to solve those problems by squeezing up to the last penny out of the poor, the sick, the elderly and the young.

The fine Greek politicians also have friends. They are the rich, big business, banking, sharkish tax-evading plutocrats, each of which has removed undreamed-of millions of Euros from Greece and put them in secret Swiss bank accounts. There are about 2,059 mayor ones of these. Their names are known to the Greek government, for they were contained in a document, the so-called Lagarde List, which the now President of the IMF discretely handed over about two years ago. Absolutely nothing was done with this information by the various honest Greek governments; for one thing, because the list ‘was lost’ (or perhaps it was shot in the back on trying to escape…?); for another because it contains names of honest Greek politicians from all the pro-European parties.

Finally, these fine Greek tax-evaders have enemies. Apart from roughly 99 % of the Greek population, the worst enemy of all is a journalist called Kostas Vaxevanis. He managed to do what the whole Greek government was unable to pull off: he located the Lagarde List. And he published it on October 27th in a periodical called by the amusing name of ‘Hot Doc’.

It was a sensation, and immediate, efficient action was taken by the Greek judiciary. The very next day Kostas Vaxevanis was arrested, for a crime called ‘Breach of Privilege’. You see: the rights of the corrupt must be strictly protected. They are our friends, and ‘Honourable Men’. The Honest (and the rest of the filthy population) are our Enemies.

Where, I wonder, is Ms Lagarde now? When it came to Greek children going to school hungry, she knew so well that it was only the fault of their tax-evading parents (as I explained in this here post). Honour where it is due! Hence my compliments to the lady for drawing up that list in the first place; but I dare say a bit more ‘outspokenness’ is now called for if she truly means the best.

Stop punishing people for being Greek!
Start punishing people for being crooks!

UPDATE October 30: Look at this here article, and see how tremendously efficient and fast the Greek judiciary can be... if you dare touch their buddies, that is...!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The World of Mayonnaise!

From the World of Mayo Gallery

Lo and behold!!! There are kindred souls in this universe! 

Or rather: there used to be. For this marvellous site, called The World of Mayo no longer seems to be alive and kicking. Some SWAT team from the Comité du Salut Public probably got them (you know these folks: they’re the ones that stop you from smoking a cigarette in an airport, eating a sandwich in the streets of Rome, giving your kid something sweet to nibble at school, and drinking a beer in the 1920s…)

Even so, the site itself can still be visited, and it makes good sense to do so. It has recipes, it has a most respectable label collection, it has an hilarious section of Mayonnaise in the Arts (see their ‘Gallery’) and a list of useful Mayonnaise sites (a few of which are still working).

And another one!

So all you gourmets of taste and sophistication, do spend some quality time at that site today! What else is Sunday for?

Oh, and if anybody knows where these people and their laudable organisation have gone to, Alfred B Mittington would be most grateful to be told!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Take a stiff drink and then read this

Do not take my word for anything. But if you wish to see some confirmation that the effects – intended or unintended, it does not matter – of enforced EU austerity is the complete  Americanisation of the former European welfare states, with all its un-European harshness, sharkishness and cold-heartedness, then just take a fleeting look at this truly awful article on what Troika policy does to Greeks who fall sick. (But before you read it: take a stiff drink first!)

Although I could now easily scold the Brussels’ Eurogues and their elected lackeys for another 50,000 words, I have nothing more to add. Shame on you! Shame!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Spanish Denial

Whenever people go into desperate, self-serving denial, we are often in for some good, mirthful, dry, wry humour. Yesterday it was the turn of Mr Cristobal Montoro, Spain’s Minister of Finance, a gentleman who – with his appearance of a bookkeeper awfully worried that his boss doesn’t grasp the figures at all - really looks his part. As he presented and defended the national budget for 2013 in parliament, Mr Montoro made two immortally funny remarks.

The first one was that ‘this is the most social budget ever in the history of our democracy’. Once you manage to stifle your hilarious laughter over such a sheer absurdity, you can only shake your head in total disbelief. A social budget? Which cuts jobs, unemployment benefits, health care, education and a string of other advantages from the poorer part of the nation, as it tosses billions to the banks, spares the coffers of the Church, and pardons – nay: REWARDS! - big time tax evaders? You really gottabe kiddin’ me! Nobody believes that. Not even Mr Montoro himself, I trust.

The other hilarious remark was that ‘2013 will be the last year of recession in Spain’. Now, Mr Montoro is not a stupid man, and I usually do appreciate his calm style and his matter-of-fact technocracy. But this one really is too rich, because, you see, I’ve been hearing that things will have improved in 9 months time for four years now! Time and time again, as another round of middle class bashing or poor folk squeezing is being announced (to create jobs and generate growth, of course!), it turns out that Spain is in happy expectation of a full recovery! Alas, so far, it has always turned out to be a false pregnancy. And I fear that this lovechild which Mr Montoro begot with his beloved Troika Austerity will also turn out to be a sorry pseudocyesis.

Which leads us to the real question: Will this crisis ever end? Well, yes, dear reader, of course it will. Nothing lasts forever, not even wars, or epidemics, or the worst mismanaged crisis since the South Sea Bubble. And as in wars and epidemics, the question is not: will it ever end, but ‘what will be left standing once it does?’ And that’s another matter altogether.

In the long run, dear reader, this crisis will subside and pass. Yet Europe will not be the better for it. Once the industrial powerhouse of the world, the continent will play Second Best to happier lands, tottering on with €uro balls chained to its aching ankles. Over this land of forlorn glory, the winners to come out of this crisis will lord it supreme. They are three: the banks, which have seen their scandalous losses socialized, while their CEO’s were ‘fired’ each with one, two or ten 10 million euro ‘compensation’ bonuses; the apparatchiks of the EU who will wield dictatorial, unchecked and unbalanced power; and – strange to say - the die-hard neo-cons and Reaganites in every land, who will have pulled off what they could never manage to sell to the electorate through the ballot box: the definite annihilation of the welfare state.

Talking of jokes: that last one is rather funny too. For it does make you wonder what Lady Thatcher – she of the famous anti-EEG NO, NO, NO!!! – thinks of the European Union now…? After all, bien etonnés de se trouver ensemble, I suppose: those fellows whom she hated with such a vengeance, are now realizing the political program she was dreaming of, to the very last letter!

 By the way, here is one more of those Agitprop editorials from the known Eurosceptic Red Commie Fascist newspaper The New York Times, written once again by a blockhead who does not understand how Peace and Prosperity, or Growth and Employment, are best reached.

(Oh, and DO note that even the chilly-hearted boys and girls of the IMF suddenly seem to have discovered that slash-and-burn austerity (which, by the by, they invented, slapped onto Africa for 5 decades and then applied to European nations…) is not the miracle cure that they always said it was! Are they perhaps afraid they might be held responsible for the results? And are now making ready to blame it all on those horrible devils, the Germans? The rats, it seems, are leaving the sinking ship. Sauve qui peut!)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cookbook: Stew of Evil Rabbit

Of late, while I was gone in La Douce France, I was asked by my good old friend Nick Shay Deutsch, gourmet oboist from Leipzig, to post my recipe for stewed rabbit. Now usually I would not readily do so, since I prefer to keep my cook blog low on meat, as I explained in the post on Chicken Alfredo Landa of June 24 last. In this case, however, I will gladly oblige, because… I know rabbits. And therefore I do not mind eating them at all.

Rabbits, dear reader, are not the friendly fuzzy cuddly little things that you think they are. Forget about Watership Down and Beatrix Potter and Bambi’s Stamper. Rabbits are nasty brutes with a bad attitude and a worse character. They are rats in angora clothing, pests who turn lush green valleys into arid waste lands and fertile soil into a Gruyère cheese paved with turds. A world without rabbits would be a better world. Unfortunately the oversexed buggers reproduce at such tremendous speeds that this must forever remain but a dream of the righteous. Just go ask the poor Australians…

I learned all this the hard way when many eons ago, me and Sabine, my Belgian girlfriend from Malines, bought ourselves a Dwarf Lop Eared Rabbit as a pet. Ah, yes, the apocalyptical things young lovers do! But how do these things work? We were head-over-heels in love (and I confess some other parts of our mutual anatomies were likewise involved…). The whole world belonged to us, and it was a beautiful world, full of happiness, and promise, and butterflies, and spring flowers! Nothing in our lives could ever go wrong again! We would conquer the universe and become immortal!

Until that one day when we passed a pet shop, and perceived, in the shop window, a litter of friendly, fussy, cuddly little cottontails advertised as Dwarf Lop Ear Rabbits. I guess I ought to have known something was not altogether kosher when I saw the ludicrously low price the shop asked for these charming little animals. But a man very much in love acts on his instincts and impulses… Sabine looked into my eyes, I into hers… There were tears of joy in all four of them… And tiny pictures of soft bunnies floated around in those tears. And so we went in and bought a cute little Dwarf Lop Ear Rabbit, to keep in the house as a pet.

What can be wrong with that? you may ask. A nice little dwarf rabbit that you can hold in the hollow of your hand, that may sleep in an old woollen hat the size of a bird’s nest, that you may carry anywhere in your coat pocket feeding it tiny lettuce leaves and miniature carrots… Is that not marvellous?

Well, what was wrong with it, is that I had not paid enough attention in biology class when young (yes, reader, the ominous words must be spoken: there are indeed some subjects of which Alfred B. Mittington knows less than one would expect from a homo universalis such as he…) Consequently, I was unaware that ‘dwarf’ in ‘Dwarf Lop Eared Rabbit’ is only a relative term. Nor did I know that the average ‘normal sized’ Lop Eared Rabbit is a giant, a monster, a behemoth of Brobdingnag proportions! These awful beasts grow to over a foot and a half, and often weight over 20 pounds. Just look at this here picture of a gentleman who proudly grew a prize winning specimen!

Consequently my ‘dwarf’ rabbit turned out to be no dwarf at all, but merely dwarfish in comparison with Goliath. The bugger grew, and grew, and grew until it was bigger than your average sized hare. Needless to say, his ego was of corresponding monstrosity. He ate like a garbage can, but if you reached into his den to get the saucer, he would bite the hand that fed him. Whenever he saw a chance, he’d escape from the pen, drop sticky turds all over the carpet, ravish our plants, and wet our bed (yes, it was this that triggered the gradual disillusion in our pristine love life, which in the long run made Sabine leave me for a wholesale Frites merchant from Louvain…). If you let anything linger on the floor, the cleptocreep would make off with it and carry it to his liar. Spoons, shoehorns, slide rules, why: even the silver fountain pen which Winston gave me for my 30th birthday! Soon nothing in the house was safe no more. Havoc was wrecked on electrical wire. Precious and expensive grammars of Hindi and the Indus Script were shredded by incisors and digging nails. We once found a wounded and traumatised brown rat, hiding inside the liquor cabinet, and had to spend some 30,000 Belgian Franks to nurse it back to health again…

The Dwarf Lop of Malines
Note the terrified look in the eyes of that poor dog!

Then true tragedy struck. For Sinterklaas (the Dutch and Flemish version of Christmas) the daughter of our across-the-hall neighbour asked for, and unfortunately received, a small rabbit. A tiny doe of immaculate innocence. A week later, a door was left open. A shadow rushing through was not perceived. A shriek of ravished innocence was only recognized too late. Yes: with the speed of light, the horrid lop eared male pig chauvinist had raped the tiny little doe! Three times is ten seconds. She became pregnant. And died three weeks later because the fruits of his crime were too big for her frail little body…

It was then, as Christmas approached, that I bought a pot of mustard, a pack of apricots, and a hatchet, and invented the present recipe, dear reader. For ever since I have been of the opinion that the only good rabbit is a dead rabbit. Ever since I have eaten them with gusto, and I will gladly help my dear readers of taste and sophistication to do the same. Perhaps we may still liberate the world of this flaw in Creation by means of the frying pan. After all: we succeeded with the Dodo, didn’t we? And those were sturdy buggers too.

So here goes for the recipe:

The only good rabbit is a dead rabbit

Get a nice plump rabbit from your butcher’s (preferably a black and white ‘dwarf’ lop ear). If you have ever known a black and white dwarf lob eared rabbit personally, make sure to get the whole body intact and chop it up yourself. It is a most satisfactory activity for one such as you and me.

Now make a mix of mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. The proportions should be in the range of 1 spoonful of mustard on 1 of honey, with a quarter spoon of salt and pepper each thrown in. Some cumin also does not hurt, but make sure not to overdo it. Smear the pieces of dwarf lob rabbit with this mix, replace in the fridge and let it sit as long as possible, with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 24 hours.

Chop half a medium-sized onion into small pieces and fry them in a little oil and sweet butter. Add the pieces of dwarf lob ear rabbit and fry them on both sides to a nice light brown colour. If the pieces do not turn brown in the long run, toss in two or three spoonfuls of water. This will pry lose the colourful frying residue on the pan’s bottom and fix the problem.

Turn down the heat. Throw in a glass and a half of white wine or dry sherry. Add dried prunes, apricots, or raisins – or any other sort of dried fruit you fancy. Toss in one or two bay leafs if you have any. Close the pan and let the whole thing simmer for at least 1 hour. 

The longer you stew this rabbit, the better it gets. I myself usually go for 90 minutes. But do beware: the trick is to have the gravy reduced to the point where it sticks to the meat, giving it a nice shiny gloss, without the sauce ever getting burned. So keep the fire low, do check the pan regularly, and add if need be a small splash of lukewarm water at the right moment.

This dish may be served with fried ‘dwarf’ potatoes, a salad that is somewhat on the sour side, and loud hunting songs by a rowdy Australian folk group (my personal preference is ‘Run Rabbit Run’ by The Bleedin’ Mates from Brisbane).