Sunday, July 29, 2007

World's Greatest Salsa

This is a recipe for the world's greatest salsa. And I don't say that lightly. John Dvorak agrees with this bold assessment, as he ran the recipe in Dvorak Online, his back-page column in Boardwatch Magazine in November of 94. That's right. Read it and weep. Right before the color Mustang Software ad that always seemed to grace the back cover of the greatest magazine in the geek-tech world of the 90s.

So here's the deal, I got this fantastic family recipe from my late father-in-law, Guadalupe Munoz (MHRIP). So naturally, we call it: Lupe's Salsa.

Lupe's Salsa


12 large, green Anaheim chilis.
12 medium, yellow chilis (not "banana chilis).
6 small green Jalapeno chilis.
2 large garden tomatoes (Beefsteaks if available).
4 medium green tomatoes.
1/2 cup of finely chopped green onions, tops & bottoms.
Salt, to taste. Lemmon juice for extra zest, if desired.

Note on selecting chilis: choose straight and firm chilis that reflect proper coloring for their family.

CHOP onion tops and bottoms, place in medium-size mixing bowl. TOAST all chilis on a griddle (like frying without oil) over high heat until outside skin is quite blackened, turning as necessary. While toasted chilis remain hot, wrap lightly in a thoroughly moistened, clean dishtowel. Let sit for 20 - 30 minutes. This allows the toasted chilis to sweat, and makes removing skins easier. Remove all chili skins and discard, taking care to remove all stems. Retain all the meaty interior and seeds. Add to mixing bowl. That's right, add the seeds. Boil tomatoes or tomatillos until skin cracks, rinse under cold water and remove skins. Add to mixing bowl. Knead or mash mixture of onions, chilis and tomatoes (or tomatillos) with hands or potato masher until well blended.
CHILL until served. This recipe yields about two pints of the most delicious salsa in the world. And it's almost all chili meat. Yummy texture, deep and dark flavors. This salsa is perfect served with Carne Asada, Carnitas and Juevos Rancheros at breakfast. It is also a to-die-for appetizer. Just be prepared to work about 1.5 hours, and make sure to wash your hands multiple times. The salsa is hot, though not too hot. It has a wonderfully unique and strong flavor and is chock full of vitamins and fiber. The real deal.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fox News - Faux News from the Dark Side

It's time for us to tell Fox News to stuff it. And to tell all of their advertisers that we're tired of the one-sided, pro-Bush, pro-hate propaganda that passes for real news on Fox. Bill O'Reilly called progressive bloggers Nazis in a recent hysterical rant against the Internet and blogging. We all know about his "Osama Obama" remarks; his attempts to smear every Democrat in office; and, his attacks on Black- and Hispanic-Americans. And this guy has the nerve to call bloggers Nazi's. Desperate rhetoric, from a desperate stupid white man. Let's be clear. Old, rich white males in America are feeling like they're losing the reins of control. Talk about entitlement. And they're getting hysterical around the whole thing. Get a life. And one more thing. When you pick a fight with the progressive blogosphere, you get it. Let's have this battle.

So please consider joining with me and fighting back. I've joined 5,000 other NetRoots nationwide and become a Fox Attacker, and I urge you to do something yourself to put and end to the bull sh*t. I've signed up at Brave New Films to call Fox advertisers in my local market. A bunch of other, like-minded progressives are going to be tuning-in to collect data on local businesses that support Fox News through advertising on their programs. Then folks like me are going to call each of the advertisers personally to educate them regarding the content they are supporting and its negative affects on the community. Check out this video for more information or to sign-up yourself. I heard today that Loews has pulled their ads. Now we have to go after Home Depot, a regular Fox sponsor. Call your local Home Depot today and ask why they are supporting hateful propaganda on the airwaves.

Just one caveat: This is just a side battle with an hostile foe that's picked a fight. So please don't take your eyes off the prize and let this effort consume you. After all, Fox News is just a mouthpiece. We've got bigger scoundrels to expose and hold accountable.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bollywood Dance Competition - Intercollegiate Style

When teams from Standford, Berkeley, USC and UCLA square-off, there is usually sport involved. That's why I was surprised to discover that the West Coast's latest organized collegiate competition involves Bollywood dance. Uh huh, that's right. Though collegial musical showcases, often with awards for best performance, are not uncommon; the arts are usually too genteel for fierce competition. Well, not for a group of enthusiastic (and brainy) California Desis who have turned Bollywood dance into a competitive sport - featuring large troups of dancers, multiple costume changes, and sappy romance or moralistic melodrama. And why not? Buff and brainy dancers shaking their hips and undulating as only NRIs can. How do they do that head thing?

A few months ago, trained and tuned-up teams of young dancers representing the four really big California universities gathered at Bollywood Berkeley to show off their moves before a crowd of screaming partisan fans. This is better than any cheerleading competition ever was. Not that I ever tuned-in to one of those. And these teams are serious about having fun and competing. If you don't believe me, then check out this gangsta intro video that the USC team put together. Then there's this longer vid of the Stanford team in one of their dances. And finally, this 29-sec clip of the winning UCLA team on stage.

So this is definitely the kind of thing I could veg-out and watch on Saturday afternoons over a Kingfisher beer and Samosas.

Big Thank You to Gina Smith

In the blogging world, links are important. And so are mentions by A-listers. So I'm taking a moment to proffer big thanks to Gina Smith for her recent nod to a Pop Impulse post. The post that caught her attention (after some modest self-promotion) is this one on Spanish regional music. Must have been the cool Ojos de Brujo vids. So head by Gina's fine blog, "I'm Gina Smith," and see what wonders she's up to. Since her background includes such stratospheric titles as: author; respected technology journalist and editor (in-chief); technology commentator on ABC's Nightly News; and, CEO of a Larry Ellison start-up in Silicon Valley, Gina's always got something interesting going on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

YouTube Debate - An Unqualified Success

As a Summer intern blogging for CBS put it: I am, like, so not bored watching this. And that's the point, right? New media speaking to a new audience, bringing them into the process.

I do a lot of political organizing in southern Oregon. These days, all of our work is data-driven. There is one precinct in our region that has consistently undervoted for decades, reflected in election-cycle record keeping. That would be the precinct that encompasses Southern Oregon University. Local candidates generally don't even bother to work this neighborhood. Why would they? That's why the YouTube debate was historic. It spoke to Gen X and Gen Y in a way that no other media could. Pundits who have cast the event as a gimmick are wrong in that regard. No, this was a milestone in participatory democracy.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pimp my PC

Chrome spinners for the Impala? Hell no. Pimp my PC. It was bound to happen. Hot colors, specially formulated surface coatings, copper upgrades to speed cooling, the pimped-out PC. For a premium price, we can all now join serious A-list gamers - who have always sported the sickest gear. Check out the color selections at Then point your browser to and check out their take on the pimped puter. But be prepared for dazzle and glitz. Geek bling.

Rise Up - 2007's Summer Anthem

If you like "house" music, then you know Yves Larock. His infectious, extremely danceable groove is sweet and hot. His rhythmic airborne mix, Rise Up, has become something of a Summer Anthem for 2007. But I gotta say, the totally hot video below features some great jump rope routines, paired with the lyric "My dream is to fly." Well, fly it does. Check it out.

Bureaucrat Has Virtually No Brain

No, I'm not talking about George Bush in this post. That's a given. Neurologists in France have confirmed that a civil servant who has worked for years in the French National Tax office has virtually no brain. No, really. It's true. Der Speigel carried the story here. The individual involved had hydrocephalus as a child, which was remedied by the surgical placement of a shunt to release the accumulated fluid on the brain. But not before the fluid had so inflated the meningal ventricles as to compress the remaining grey matter - where cognition takes place - into a small band around the inside of the cranium. Still, the bureaucrat married, had two children and went to work clerking at the tax office. Life imitating the comedic arts. This story is bound to elicit a few chuckles, and a few Duh's.

I am, however, intrigued by the conclusion of the physician involved, who said: "Obviously these few nerve cells can achieve just as much as the millions more cells that other people have." There's another side to this story and a lesson to be learned in that conclusion. Probably more than one. It has long been argued that brain cells don't regenerate. Therefore, as the argument goes, we only use a percentage of the gray matter we have as we need extra cells available for repatterning after brain injury. There is some debate in academia around that issue, as new evidence suggesting cell regeneration is in play. Nevertheless, examples like this one - and it's not the only case of its kind - seem to support the notion that just a few nerve cells can get a lot done. I'm going to stretch at this point, and suggest that this same model applies to the Internet and specifically to the blogosphere. A small plexus of progressive blogs, pulsating with YouTube bursts, can achieve as much as the millions of dollars and mountains of resources available to the MSM and corporate globalists. My grateful thanks to the almost brainless French civil servant for this epiphany.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

4th Annual Blogosphere Day

Celebrate the 4th Annual Blogosphere Day with ActBlue. Today, we celebrate the bottom-up, netroots revolution that heralds the end of politics as usual and the dawn of the new age of net-driven progressive activism. And just see what we've done in four years. Just changed the face of activism, altered the political landscape, and forever changed the way that campaigns communicate and are financed. So reach around and pat yourself on the back, because you're part of the process. A sea change. And around the Blogosphere, the focus is on ActBlue - who got the proverbial ball rolling in the most unorthodox manner. The rest, as they say, is history. So have a glass of wine and toast the great folks at ActBlue as you celebrate our 4th anniversary. -- Yo-Duh

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Documentarians Shock Revisionists

An interesting article in today's Asia Times suggests that the Chinese release of a much-heralded documentary film on the Rape of Nanking produced by AOL founder Ted Leonsis is bound to stoke old grievances and open old wounds. (image: Nanking Massacre Memorial) That's probably very true, and the reaction of the Chinese populace to the film could even influence current events and national policy. Now that's news.

I've posted recently about historical revisionism, the tendency of those in power to conveniently re-write history to suit their needs. In that post, I noted that conservative Japanese legislators are currently making just such an attempt around their country's participation and conduct in WWII. Specifically, the suggestion has been made in the chambers of Japan's Diet, that the number of Chinese casualties, that is: deaths, woundings, and rapes, during the Japanese conquest and occupation of Nanjing is much lower than reported. The conservative Japanese politicians involved have gone as far as saying that China is deliberately inflating the numbers for propaganda purposes. Rubbish, that. Read the article, take a look at the Wikipedia entry and follow some of the relevant links in the stub to make up your own minds.

And now, Michael Moore, documentarian extraordinaire, has come along to debunk another bit of crap masquerading as historical fact. I'm referring, of course, to the oft-made claim that here in the U.S. we've got the best health care system in the world. Uh huh. Like I'm believing that. And I should know. I spent some time in a previous vocational life as an RN and allied health care instructor. And recently, I spent way too much time on the other side of the equation with a difficult diagnosis and involved treatment. I can tell you from decades of personal experience our health care system is just as broken as Moore claims in his new and wonderful film, Sicko. But that's no surprise, right?

My point is that we've got a whole new level of "truth squad" geeks out there who are doing us all a ginormous (it's a real word now) service by confronting the liars and revisionists, holding them accountable for their despicable behavior, and then setting the record straight in clear and well-documented terms. And they don't take any crap, either - as Moore recently demonstrated in this push-back to Wolf Blitzer's questioning on CNN. Yea, that's what I'm talking about.

So now everybody's a videographer and documentarian. Are you getting my drift here? We've all got cell cameras, pocket digitals, hand-held digital video cams; and importantly, we've got Google Video, YouTube, and to publish our work. It's time to take back the truth from the mainstream media, and now we've got the tools and the platform to do it. In fact, it's already underway. Those who have gotten used to easily and anonymously re-writing history and distorting the truth for their own purposes should be afraid, very afraid.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Chichen Itza - Wonder of the World

This just in. Mexico's Mesoamerican masterpiece, the pyramids at Chichen Itza, have been voted one of the new "7 Wonders of the World." Spectaculo, Estupendo, Goooool Mexico. Congratulations to the millions of citizens around the world who voted for this masterpiece, which joins Peru's Machu Pichu on the new list just announced about an hour ago.

The other "Wonders" making the A-list of 7 include: The Great Wall of China, The Taj Mahal, Rome's Colusseum, the Petra ruin in Jordon; and inexplicably, Rio's enormous (and gauche) statue of Christ the Redeemer. No accounting for taste there. As religious symbols go, my vote went to Instanbul's Grand Mosque, which in addition to being more beautiful has considerable historic value.

AfroPop - Music from Mother Africa

Mother Africa. The well-spring of the human race is a vast land of diversity and contradiction. Much of the continent, regrettably, is beset with war, famine, pestilence, endemic poverty and widespread corruption. Darfur, child warriors, blood diamonds, oil exploitation, deforestation, racial and ethnic divides - by now, familiar concepts conjuring up real images. Then, there's HIV/AIDS - which afflicts enormous numbers of people across the continent. It is long past time the developed world take note and provide the kind of support necessary to alleviate this human suffering. But that is not the subject of this post.

Out of this cauldron of tragedy and disaster comes some of the best, most engaging and involving music on the worldbeat scene. Like many others, I was introduced to African sounds by the likes of Hugh Masekela, Miriam Mkeba and the choral stylizing of South African township choirs.

Since that time I've enjoyed exploring the universe of regional African music as well as the world of AfroPop. I owe Ry Cooder for turning me on to a menu of musical styles and ethnic musicians through his many collaborations. Like his milestone work with the late Ali Farka Toure. From that beginning, I started to listen to the music of Mali, Senegal and the Cote d' Ivore - Francophone, west Africa. While at the Festival d' ete in Quebec one summer, I had the opportunity to hear Baba Mal and Amadeau & Miriam. The latter; a blind, married duo from Mali, have a number of music videos and are frequent performers at worldbeat festivals. Both from Griot families, they have a rhythmic, almost trance-like sound to their music.

Benin-born diva Angelique Kidjo is the queen of Afropop. Singing in her native Fon, Swahili, French or English, Kidjo has produced more chart-busting discs than any African musician. Her latest effort features cameo performance from the likes of Peter Gabriel, Alicia Keyes, Ziggy Marley, Carlos Santana, Joss Stone; and, Amadeau & Miriam. Hot and sweet.

Central Africa is a tapestry of varied musical traditions. From the stylistic pop of Kidjo, to the high-pitched and energetic songs of Congo's Papa Wemba. As I explore the continent, I'm finding that I enjoy Afropop as well as traditional, tribal tunes. Kidjo's Naima, the gentle voice of Francophone Congo's Lukua Kanza and Ismael Lo come to mind. Africa offers a lot of sweet and mellow pop tunes to be sampled, in addition to traditional tribal sounds like the Orchestre Baka Gbine, who were recorded in the Cameroon rainforest chanting traditional Pigmy songs.

From Nigeria, with Africa's largest population and an unsettled history of corruption and military rule, the music of the late Fela Kuti from his "Shrine" in Lagos set a standard for contemporary protest. Kuti, who so angered the military government that he spent a bunch of time behind bars for his musical challenges, gave the world a raw, brass-driven jazz that combines influences from James Brown and John Coltrane with traditional Nigerian rhythms and highly charged political messages. Now his two sons continue the tradition. There's a great documentary about Kuti on LINK TV called "The Shrine."

Also from Nigeria, King Sunny Ade, the king of 'juju" music. Ade is pictured on stage in the accompanying image.

[update 12/4/10] Been listening to a lot more Nigerian & Congolese music lately. And I have a new YouTube channel with an AfroPop play list that numbers almost 50 videos. Of course, it changes as YouTube pulls vids on a regular basis due to unclear copyright. That really irks me. It is obviously in the Artist's best interests to put themselves out there. But that's another subject. I've been listening to young, outspoken Nigerian Hip Hop artist Nneka. She's dope, pure and simple.

Then there's the bevy of Congolese Pop Divas, sexy, slinky and beautiful. I'm thinking of Barbara Kanam, Tshala Muana and Meje.

Naturally I'm leaving a lot of great talent out of this post, in the interests of readability. You can find a link list to AfroPop sites on the right sidebar below the post list, archives and a bunch of pictures. Check out some of those links for a lot more information.

I wanted to conclude this post with a few words about the world's most successful Reggae artist. And yes, he's African - not Jamaican. South Africa's Lucky Dube has sold more Reggae discs than any living individual. Not a small accomplishment for an artist that is not yet well-known in the U.S. Dube's sound is highly produced, tight as can be, and fully orchestrated. He's often got a choir working with his enormous stage act. Check him out if you love Reggae. This is not roots Reggae, from the streets and raw. No, it is the height of the slick production piece of the genre. Infectious and very danceable nonetheless.