C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The State of the South

It may come as a surprise to some folks that there's more to the South than pickup trucks, country music, and good old boys. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, located in Montgomery, produced this thought-provoking video last fall as part of its Southern Writers Festival of New Plays.

Your Head Trucker attended some plays at the ASF when it was brand new, back in the 1980s, and can highly recommend its beautiful lakeside campus and innovative staging. I'm sorry to have to report, though, that the cheap seats were rather uncomfortable for a long-legged man: my knees were jammed against the back of the seat ahead of me all through each performance. (This seems to be a universal problem in modern theaters.)  Still, it was an enjoyable experience overall.

In case any of y'all will be touring through Alabama this year, the Festival's 47th season will include productions of Hamlet, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Saint Joan, Our Town, The Sound of Music, and Steel Magnolias, along with newer works by contemporary playwrights.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Drive: The King of Love My Shepherd Is

For the victims of terror and violence in New Zealand and everywhere: based on the Twenty-third Psalm.

The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never,
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O what transport of delight
From Thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within Thy house forever.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

So They Loaded up the Truck and Moved to . . .

Far, far away in a never-never land of swimming pools and movie stars sits a fabled mansion long celebrated in song and story, which every American over fifty, say, will instantly recognize - and indeed, feel intimately acquainted with, despite never having set foot in it.  The name of the house - most incongruously to our British friends, I'm sure - is Chartwell, and it rises atop a bluff in Bel Air, commanding a breathtaking view from the mountains to the city to the sea.

And now this home of dreams, so well remembered, so fondly admired, can be yours - for only $245 million.  With 11 bedrooms, 18 bathrooms, and a 5-bedroom guest house, the property can easily accommodate you, your whole dadburn family, a passel of country cousins, and all the critters you can stand.  And rest assured that no element of comfort or convenience has been overlooked:  it comes complete with a 40-car garage, a 12,000-bottle wine cellar, a cement pond in the back yard, and a terrace big enough for hanging out your laundry and cooking up all the rhumatiz' medicine you require.

Unfortunately, there are no photographs of the interior in this presentation video, so you just might have to bring your own pot passers for the fancy eatin' room.

But the presentation is just not complete without the theme song, which starts at the :30 mark below:

If any of you peckerwoods do buy this place, you be sure and drop ol' Russ a postcard, and tell me all about it.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend

Bob Hager

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Pork Boys Do Mardi Gras, 2019

We had a small but grand Mardi Gras dinner on Sunday, which M.P. did nearly all the cooking of, as well as making the festive table decorations.

Le Menu

Breaded Chicken Pops
Fried Oysters
Tartar sauce and cocktail sauce

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Southern-style Potato Salad

Duck a l'Orange Sanguine
Savory Rice Stuffing
Brown Duck Gravy

Diced and glazed Butternut Squash

Schoolhouse Rolls and butter

King Cake

White Zinfandel ~~ Beer ~~ Cola ~~ Coffee

Assorted chocolates

Now this may not look like much to the uninitiated; but the gourmets among you will recognize at once a feast fit for a couple of kings.

The appetizers began with what we call chicken pops, a scrumptious and amusing treat that M.P. learned how to make from this Jacques Pepin video (it's right at the beginning); these he breaded and baked in the oven for tenderness, but they could be deep fried.   They look sort of like this:

Along with that, we had my favorite seafood, a dozen fabulous fried oysters, which M.P. had slipped out of the house the day before to get from the local Cajun restaurant, where they do them to perfection.  He said it was quite difficult to hold off eating them for 24 hours, and it surely must have been because there is nothing better in all the world than a perfectly fried oyster.  Those who love oysters need no further description; those who don't, well, I'm just sorry as I can be for you, fellas.

As far as I was concerned, we could have stopped right there - but, saving a few oysters for a midnight snack, we proceeded directly on to the gumbo, served Cajun-style with a big spoonful of potato salad dropped in.  You talk about good, boys!  Oh me, oh my - it was larruppin' good!  I tell you what.  Especially with a few choice bits of duck thrown in for lagniappe.  Heavenly!  I told M.P. he has ruined me for rice now.

And then on to the piece de resistance - M.P. labored two days running on his succulent roast duck, and it was a grand dish indeed, glazed with a sauce made from the juice of blood oranges and their zest, stuffed with seasoned rice, and accompanied by a delicious gravy made from the duck drippings and the blood-orange sauce.  He roasted the duck low and slow to make it perfectly tender and moist, and when I put the first forkful on my tongue - oh my, words fail me to describe the delectable flavor of it all.

M.P. has been struggling for several years now to learn how to take pictures with the new-fangled teleophone that his kids insisted he have, and he has nearly succeeded.  Here is his snap of the finished duck, steaming hot from the oven:

Every part of the duck was melt-in-your-mouth tender, including the scrumptious skin.  And with it we had the orange-flavored rice stuffing, upon which we ladled the brown and fragrant duck gravy.  It was one of those supreme culinary moments, divinely delicious and palate-pleasing, that I wish I could share with everyone.  But until someone invents a tele-food-o-phone, you'll just have to take my word for it, fellas. Superb!

I must not omit to tell you about the schoolhouse rolls that M.P. has taught himself to make over the last few years - they are just exactly like those big, square, butter-brushed, soft-and-tasty yeast rolls you remember from the school cafeteria in years gone by - a treat with any meal.  And so good for sopping up gravy!  Like these:

M.P. certainly knocked himself out on the menu, but hardly less on the table decor, complete with a newly-sewn table scarf in Mardi Gras colors, and purple candles to boot!

Notice the beautiful fleur-de-lys napkin fold that is M.P.'s trademark.

For dessert, we of course had King Cake, which M.P. made by hand from his homemade croissant dough, rolled up with a cinnamon-sugar filling and topped with purple, green, and gold icing, which looked something like this:

Neither of us got the Baby Jesus, but we were too full and groaning with delight to worry about it.

Our feast was not as big this year as in years past, but it was no less satisfying.  And to think those lucky souls down in Loozyana eat like this all the time!  It's almost enough to make a fella want to convert, I tell you what.  All us Epistopals ever get is a stack of soggy pancakes in the back of the parish hall on Shrove Tuesday.  But the Cath'licks - now they know how to party!  In fact, M.P. tells me the whole season from Epiphany to Lent is just one party after another - surely a blessed way to keep the winter blues at bay.

We will have luscious leftovers for days, I mean days.  Wish I could hand you all a plate.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Friday, March 1, 2019

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Cohen Testifies: "Trump Is a Racist, Con Man, Cheat"

Your Head Trucker is pleased to note that our Republic is still a functioning democracy, or else Michael Cohen would never have been allowed to present his damning testimony to Congress today. I of course cannot comment on the truthfulness of any of it, but it certainly sounds true, given all that we have seen and and all that we have heard from the mouth of Cohen's erstwhile boss.

Cohen's pointed rebuke to Trump in his closing remarks was reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart's climactic denunciation of corrupt politicians in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington:

Let us hope and pray that this is the beginning of the end of Trumpocracy.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday Drive: This Magic Moment

One never forgets the first rosy dawn of love - even after fifty years.

Friday, February 22, 2019

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