An occasional blog about populist politics and popular music, not necessarily at the same time.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Music: current count 30842  rated (+34), 269  unrated (+0).
Surprised the count is this high. I was on a tear early in the week, especially between the time I compiled last week's results and when I finally posted them last Wednesday. However, that came to a screeching halt on Thursday or Friday (I can't remember which), when I woke up and found it very difficult and painful to sit up or stand. It doesn't seem like back pain; more in my hips, evenly distributed. I've had something like this happen a few widely scattered times in the past, but it's always cleared up in a couple of days. This doesn't seem to be getting better. Once I straighten up I can walk around without too much pain, but bending over or kneeling down is tough.
I had ambitious plans for fixing a Christmas Eve dinner, working mostly out of two Yotam Ottlenghi cookbooks, Ottolenghi and Jerusalem. I figured I should do some preliminary shopping on Friday, even though I hadn't fully sorted the menu out, and do a bit more on Sunday before starting to cook that evening. But with the pain and immobility, I started cutting back. I got my wife to drive me to Dillons for the Friday shopping, and made do with the single stop. Then I asked one of my guests to help out with the cooking. Linda Jordan joined me for several hours Saturday evening and from 1:30 through dinner on Sunday, and somehow we knocked out a decent menu of dishes (descriptions from memory):
Saturday night Linda made the pudding and caramel sauce; we roasted the eggplants, cooked the barley, prepped the feta, mixed up the marinade and rubbed it into the lamb. After Linda left I did the mast va khiar and the whipped cream.
Sunday I had to get the lamb into the oven by 1:30. I sliced an onion, and started frying it. Linda arrived and took over. I mostly mixed sauces. I tried cutting the sweet potatoes with a mandoline, but gave up and used the food processor instead (harder to set up, but cut much faster). Two ovens were the key: while the lamb was roasting at 325F, the gratin and the endive needed 400F: 70 minutes for the sweet potatoes and 20 for the endive. We actually had all the side dishes and the latter ready for the oven by 4:30, so there was no last-minute drama. I hadn't really thought that through in the planning, but it worked out perfectly. Food was pretty good, too.
Pain wasn't too bad walking around, or sitting on a high bar stool doing prep. Linda did pretty much all of the stovetop cooking, as well as shuffling things in and out of the ovens. Got a good night's sleep, but this morning was the worst yet -- especially after sitting at the computer 15-20 minutes. This stretch on the computer has gone on for two hours. Not too bad crouched over working here, but I expect it will be tough getting up.
Plan is to come back and post this later tonight. I'm due to post December's Streamnotes sometime this week. I may go ahead and push it out without the usual indexing. Music count for the last 3-4 days has been close to zero. No idea when I'll be able to do more.
I should note that the Howard Riley album below (Live in the USA) would have topped my Reissues/Historical ballot in the Jazz Critics Poll had I gotten to it in time. I've said before that most years I find another A-list album within 2 days of filing my ballot, and a ballot-contender within two weeks. I'm usually thinking of new releases there, but note that Adam Forkelid's Reminiscence (also below) is up at number 12 in my Best Jazz Albums of 2018 list, so just barely below top ten.
New records rated this week:
Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:
Unpacking: Found in the mail last week: