Warning: This may contain uber-liberal, radical, democratic and progressive content that is not fit for some readers.

I intended to post this for the 4th of July, but I listened to this song this morning and it reminded me that it’s just a holiday. This country is America all year round. If you have not been heeding my advise and listening to Chris Chandler, allow me a chance to persuade you again:

Some say we lost our innocence, that we left Eden’s palace, when a young president’s skull was blown into a pink mist in Dallas.

–Or when that mist gathered into a nimbus of blown blood and mud in the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam…

–Or else when it descended in Washington DC. as a dense fog, gray as Nixon’s jowls, in decades of scandals…

…Up to that point, the only threat to our innocence had been watching Annette Funicello sprout breasts on national television. Although our prepubescent minds were filled with lust, we really had nothing to fear, because Annette Funicello’s breasts were not that threatening, they were more like breast-ca-teers.

But still we wait, for the return of Valium yellow sunshine to burn a hole in this fog and return our world into a pastel paradise.

But it does not come.

And as we wait, a sudden storm, man-made and malevolent, burst forth from the Oklahoma prairie, heaving dust skyward, occluding the sun, and CNN reports once again that this is our loss of innocence, but I ask you: How many times can our innocence be lost, I mean, is a prostitute who suffers total amnesia now declared a virgin?

How can we be innocent when we plowed our fertile prairies into furrows and planted rows and rows and rows and rows of dead Indians, then watered them with the sweat of African slaves, and asked the good lord above for the ground to be fruitful and multiply by performing a ritualistic, salesman’s tap dance.

And the good lord responded and the ground was indeed fruitful and it did indeed multiply and sprung forth office parks, strip malls and subdivisions.

Well it seems to me: that the proto-typical American is Mary Kay accessorized with a Gatlin gun.

Did we innocently steal this land? Innocently, like when I was a kid and I wanted a skateboard, but my mama would not let me have one. So I took one anyway, and she made me return it, giving me a lecture on mine and yours and theirs. I grappled with this concept until one day my mama said, “Be careful with your little sister.”

I thought, “Ah, she’s my little sister.”  So I took her up the street and traded her to Kenny Jones for a skateboard. 

Is this the way we innocently stole this land? Like a child steals, or like a dog will eat from the bowl of another, because they are still connected to the oneness – to the holy oneness of everything. That is beautiful, but it is a strangely Zen concept for a property owning nation.

Is this the way we killed tens of thousands of “guilty” Iraqi civilians? Because a bomb does kill the innocent. Even a so called “smart bomb” cannot not distinguish innocence from guilt. A truly smart bomb would be one that could blow the guilty to bits and would leave one whose character leans to the decent alone– It’d might even buy them a round of drinks. One whose guilty of let’s say– a little too much vanity– it’d leave them clad in clothes off the rack from JC Penny. A sort of smart-ass bomb– one more Groucho Marx than John Wayne. 

These are some of fogs and mysteries of our recent history, and our history is indeed a mystery. It is a mystery that requires a great detective. And the best detectives are not Angela Landsbury, teaming up with Dick Van Dyke, Andy Griffith and whatever down on their luck, hasn’t worked in twenty years, looking for any role they can get, I don’t know, The Partridge Family Murder Mystery Series – where they travel around the country in a psychedelic mini van solving impossible, implausible crimes in the last five minutes, the guilty are locked up so we can innocently consume whatever products are advertised after the miraculous denouement.

It is time, my friends, for us to stop declaring our selves innocent and say, “I was no where near the scene of the crime, I was watching re-runs of Top Cops at the time, but still I am the murderer.”

Or: do we continue to declare ourselves innocent, “You’re God Damned right I’m innocent– and I will kill anyone who doubts it– and I will enter heaven, even if I have to climb the mountain of corpses beneath me”

– Chris Chandler


American as Apple Pie, Deep Dish. 

  • 4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on top
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Perfect Pie Crust, recipe follows
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each apple quarter in thirds crosswise and combine in a bowl with the zests, juices, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Roll out half the pie dough and drape it over a 9- or 10-inch pie pan to extend about 1/2-inch over the rim. Don’t stretch the dough; if it’s too small, just put it back on the board and re-roll it.

Fill the pie with the apple mixture. Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash so the top crust will adhere. Top with the second crust and trim the edges to about 1-inch over the rim. Tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp the 2 together with your fingers or a fork. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, and cut 4 or 5 slits.

Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out. Serve warm.

 Perfect Pie Crust:

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.

Yield: 2 (10-inch) crusts


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