buffalo chicken leg chili

Buffalo [1] chicken leg chili, with seaweed and mushrooms

While the tight supply of chicken wings [2] and breasts continue to drive prices of those cuts up, the lowly chicken drumstick (lower leg) becomes a bargain, $1.94/pound at my Neighborhood Wal-Mart. That is more expensive per pound than buying a whole chicken, but I did not want a whole chicken for this recipe, which already had plenty of protein.

one day ahead

Make chicken stock from chicken legs, cool and de-bone their little calf muscles; refrigerate both stock and the meat;

start soaking the beans [3][4]

serving day

slowly warm the chicken stock In a LARGE pot;

cook the soaked bean in a pressure cooker with seaweed [5]; add to pot when done;

brown the buffalo with your favorite chili spices; add to pot when done;
Today, my spices were:
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp each of:
whole mustard seed
whole cumin seed

sauté a head of garlic and one large onion until translucent; add to pot;

add fresh vegetables to pot:
1 large onion, radially sliced
3 stalks of celery, diagonally sliced
6 dandelion stalks, finely chopped
3 kale stalks, finely chopped
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced thick

Time to prepare 24-36 hours; enough soup for a week of lunches;

[1] Buffalo, as in Bison, not the city on Lake Erie where Buffalo chicken wings were invented, according to Calvin Trillin‘s August 25, 1980 New Yorker article, AN ATTEMPT TO COMPILE A SHORT HISTORY OF THE BUFFALO CHICKEN WING;

[2] “Chicken wings are the most popular Super Bowl dish across America.” –
The Most Popular Super Bowl Party Foods, Ranked, Carolyn Menyes ,January 25, 2018, TheDailyMeal.com, https://www.thedailymeal.com/entertain/most-popular-super-bowl-party-foods-ranked-slideshow

[3] Leagumes contain the evil lectin protein, but we will be doing a number of things to help neutralize it:

soaking at least 24 hours, with several water changes [4];
pressure cooking [4];
cooking with kelp (yes, seaweed), which is an anti-lectin [5];

[4] “Soaking When you were a kid, did you ever see your grandparents rinse and soak beans – and even grains – before boiling or cooking them? They may not have even realized it, but they were doing this to reduce the lectins. Now, there are different traditions when it comes to soaking beans in various cultures, but here’s how I like to do it:
First, soak beans overnight in a baking soda bath. Start early enough to change the water a few times before you go to sleep – and leave them soaking overnight. Then, change the water again when you wake. Remember to add baking soda to each new soak. Drain the beans and rinse them really well before you start cooking in a pressure cooker.”

“Pressure Cooking If you have to cook with beans (beans wreak havoc on your gut if not cooked properly), tomatoes, or potatoes for whatever reason, your best bet for destroying the lectins is a pressure cooker. It won’t get every last lectin – and it won’t come close to knocking out the lectins in wheat, oats, rye, barley, or spelt – so avoid those entirely. That said, pressure cooking can do a pretty good job with certain veggies and legumes. So, get used to cooking with pressure.”

Dr. Steven Gundry, Gundry MD, Five Ways to Reduce or Remove Lectins From Your Favorite Foods, https://gundrymd.com/remove-lectins/

[5] Three. Bladderwrack; [OK KELP is not the same as bladderwrack, as Tennant recommends, but I think kelp works, too. Trust me. I’m a writer, and now it is on the internet, so it is TRUE] “This simple seaweed has been shown to be a potent lectin blocker, and studies also suggest it has antifungal properties against Candida yeasts. The benefits of Bladderwrack go further: With high levels of mucilage, beta-carotene, iodine, potassium, zeaxanthin, and other organic compounds, this sea creature is potent! It’s been shown to help with digestive issues, weight loss, thyroid conditions, inflammation and more.”
Remy Tennant, Human Food Bar, 6 Natural Lectin Blockers (and How to Get More of Them)

Blackface: Historical Proof Shakespeare did NOT Write his own Plays

Did Shakespeare even write the plays he produced? Lacking a word processor, even one as simple as mine (Windows notepad), or even a mechanical typewriter, where did he find the time? His hands would also have been indelibly stained with iron gall [1]. He would have it all over is face, as well, and for this he would not have been allowed to perform in public. The Globe Theatre would have burned for this blatantly racist use of the blackface in his paleo-Vaudevillian so-called “plays”, and not from staged cannon fire during a performance of “Henry VIII”. No amount of genus could excuse such a hideous act. Therefore, since he WAS allowed to continue acting and producing, Shakespeare can not, NOT POSSIBLY have been the writer of his plays.

This is satire, applying today’s cultural standards to yesterday’s people, who had not yet achieved our level of twenty-first century enlightenment. Examples of todays’ shifting standards regarding blackface abound, such as those listed in this commentary from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Opinion: Va., nation now sharing consternation over blackface.

Was blackface evil? Yes, and no. A little history from Wikipedia: “Despite reinforcing racist stereotypes, blackface minstrelsy was a practical and often relatively lucrative livelihood when compared to the menial labor to which most black people were relegated. Owing to the discrimination of the day, “corking (or blacking) up” provided an often singular opportunity for African-American musicians, actors, and dancers to practice their crafts.[71] Some minstrel shows, particularly when performing outside the South, also managed subtly to poke fun at the racist attitudes and double standards of white society or champion the abolitionist cause. It was through blackface performers, white and black, that the richness and exuberance of African-American music, humor, and dance first reached mainstream, white audiences in the U.S. and abroad.[11] It was through blackface minstrelsy that African American performers first entered the mainstream of American show business.[72] Black performers used blackface performance to satirize white behavior. It was also a forum for the sexual double entendre gags that were frowned upon by white moralists.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

Blackface made good theatre for races of many hues, but my comment regarding Shakespeare is less about blackface than a criticism of the anachronistic historical revisioning afflicting today’s culture. We tend to judge the past in terms of the present, forgetting that the problems of the past were different than ours, and the evaluation of relative importances of different issues can only be made with full immersion in the conditions and situations present in the day.

We cannot, for example condemn the founders of the United States, and the Constitutional Republic they formed for their failure to solve the Slavery issue as well as the Independence issue all in one go. The Three-Fifths Compromise [2] is an evil act only if you fail to understand its purpose: to allow the northern and southern states to form a union and to enshrine the values of the Declaration of Independence, at least partially, into an actual government for the first time in the history of the world. It was an act of racism, but also an act of faith in the future, and of survival for the delicate and budding nation in a time of great danger. “The Three-Fifths Compromise was the solution to the most difficult challenge the framers faced: how to create a single country out of people so divided on a fundamental issue.” [3]

History is valuable for the lessons it provides but it requires a humble understanding, a willingness to shift viewpoints to those who were there. It seems that we might have something to learn from our own past, if we could just focus our eyes for a moment and look at it, and at ourselves.

Who deserves more our retroactive ire? The people of history, as viewed from the present, or the people of today, as viewed from the future? If only we could read what will be written of us! We do our best with what we have. So did Sir Francis Bacon and William Shakespeare, or whomever wrote his plays.

[1] IRON GALL – iron gall ink, made from a tannins found in oak tree galls – which are growths that looks like golf balls and are caused by secretions the gall wasp injects into the tree when she lays her eggs – combined with iron sulfate. https://www.quora.com/What-kind-of-paper-and-ink-did-Shakespeare-use

[2] THREE-FIFTHS COMPROMISE: Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

[3] – Why the 3/5ths Compromise Was Anti-Slavery – “It wasn’t the racists of the South who wanted to count slave populations less than white populations – it was the abolitionists of the North…You might say that the southern slave states wanted to have it both ways. They wanted to count their slaves for the purpose of representation, but they didn’t want to give any representation [i.e. the right to vote] to their slaves.” The compromise reduced the southern states’ representation in congress and prevented them from expanding slavery deeper into the fabric of the nation, and enshrining it into the 20th century. “The Three-Fifths Compromise didn’t deny the humanity of blacks, it affirmed it.” – Carol Swain, Prager University, https://www.prageru.com/video/why-the-threefifths-compromise-was-anti-slavery/

What is Prose Poetry? – It Isn’t.

In response to What is Prose Poetry? by Melissa Donovan

“Although most poetry is written in verse, structure alone does not define poetry. So we can take the other elements of poetry and then reshape the writing into sentences and paragraphs. That’s how you get prose poetry.” – Melissa Donovan


Good writing is good writing. Good prose can exist all on its own, artistic in its own right, without the need of stolen valor by claiming the moniker of Poem. Prose can be lyrical [1]. Prose can use “imagery, economics of language, fragmentation, compression, repetition, rhyme, metaphor, figures of speech, and wordplay.” The presence of these elements does not define a poem. Verse defines a poem. Poetry Lives in the Land of Verse. [2]

Without verse, there is no poem. Words arranged as sentences and paragraphs might be artistic, but without verse, they are still Prose. Prose writers, consider taking more pride in your medium and own it for what is and for all it can be. Why contort words into things they are not? What is wrong with strong, clear and precise definitions? Why not, if you seek to Break Rules, take up the mantle [3] of the genre that claims none, Prose?

[1] LYRICAL: (of literature, art, or music) expressing the writer’s emotions in an imaginative and beautiful way. ‘he gained a devoted following for his lyrical cricket writing’ – Oxford English Dictionary

[2] Poetry Lives in the Land of Verse, by Paul Guernsey Player

[3] MANTLE: An important role or responsibility that passes from one person to another. ‘the second son has now assumed his father’s mantle’ – Oxford English Dictionary

The Lightless Spark of Being Human

At the moment of beginning a new project one sits back, figuratively, if not literally, and assesses what one has, looking at the possibilities of where and how and when. It is the view of a professional, one who knows one’s tools and craft. Picture Tom Hanks playing Captain Chesley Sullenberger in the 2016 film, Sully. After the flock of geese takes out both his engines, before swinging into action, the captain calmly assesses the situation, and his options. This moment, not necessarily long lasting, is the lightless spark of creation. Artists and creators of all kinds know its face, the dark reflection of one’s own being, peering back inward while one’s eyes are looking out.

It is the dancer poised on stage, waiting for the music. It is the fisherman, selecting a spot for the next cast. It is the carpenter running a hand over a sanded board. It is the pencil hovering just above the page. It is the beginning, before it was begun. This is what Being Human is all about. The only way to get it wrong is doubt.*

Paul Guernsey Player © 2019/02/19

*”The only way to get it wrong is doubt.” An example from Dilbert: https://dilbert.com/strip/1994-07-09

Blank Verse, a Three Crested Tsunami

In response to Shakespeare and Prose: Why He Was a Genius by jennifer G

Jennifer G , in her review of Prose and verse in Shakespeare’s plays , by Kim Ballard – states that Shakespeare used prose as a tool to enhance his plays’ plots and characterizations. She states, “He was the man responsible for developing the blank verse. Before him, poets wrote in rhyme. He was a pioneer, …” She also credits Milton’s use of blank verse in creating Paradise Lost, “one of the most significant pieces of literature of all time.”

But G’s essay leaves me with two questions: First, How much of a work can be in prose before it is no longer a work of verse? One line? Six? Secondly, is she aware that Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517 – 1547), invented blank verse a generation or two before W. Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)?

When is blank verse prose?

As to the first question, G says Shakespeare’s plays are a combination of both prose and verse:

“In the 16th century, plays were written in rhyme form, typically verse and no real passion for storytelling. Shakespeare, however, changed things by writing his plays in prose and verse. Much of this can be seen in his earlier plays, but more so in his more famous plays like Romeo and Juliet. The prose was something set aside for jaunty romances and traveler’s tales in those days. They thickened plots and made the stories more engaging. This was why playwrights never thought to use it.
“Shakespeare, being different, decided his plots would be better, and the relationships would be more profound if he added prose to his plays. This worked, especially in challenging stories like Hamlet where we see many relationships built, lost and tragedies unfold. The mechanical verse form cannot achieve that.” [1]

But where is prose in Hamlet to be found? In my essay, Poetry Lives in the Land of Verse, I site the University of Victoria’s web page on Blank Verse [2]. Shakespeare’s blank verse evolves over time, becoming more flexible, but it is still blank verse, not prose:

“In general, Shakespeare’s blank verse, and the verse of his peers, evolved over the years from regular ten-syllable, regular, end-stopped lines

(Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.1)
to become increasingly flexible, often including one or two extra syllables, and varying the regular iambic rhythm. Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy begins relatively regularly, but the following lines each have an extra syllable:

So, The Bard was an early Poet Heretic, willing to adapt and stretch the Accepted Forms to his own needs, was he? Apparently so, …

…but just how far a stretch did he propose?

To stretch, perhaps to break: ay, there’s the rub;

Though I no expert nor a scholar am,
but I my own (perhaps) misguided aims
at verses blank
have sometimes took.
From this experience, I tell you this.
There comes a time when form does yield to sense, [3]
and sense to greater understanding flows.
The troops break ranks, if only for a breath,
as strain of corsett does the maiden’s ribs constrict,
but line yields back to line and soon into
their ranks the rhythmic words and numbers fall.
Is it still verse, or have we to the depths
of prose befallen us, as Satan from God’s grace?

G states, “The very fact that [Shakespeare] could write so many emotional tales and produce beautiful prose was something many writers tried desperately to reproduce for many decades.” [emphasis added]. It was not his minor use of prose that was the beautiful part of Shakespeare, but his major use of verse. Yes, a verse or two or three were stretched, sometimes beyond the point of recognition, and to these lines we cannot honestly pin the label VERSE. But to say therefore, that “Shakespeare, however, changed things by writing his plays in prose and verse,” is to exaggerate the role of Shakespeare’s ‘”prose”. It mistakes a sparingly used technique, employed for artistic effect, with the overall artistic style.

On her ABOUT page, Jennifer G says, “I take advice with a grain of salt. However, I dole it out like it’s free, so there you go. I am a hypocrite.” With apologies to G, from one hypocrite to another, Hamlet is still blank verse, not prose and verse.

The real inventor of blank verse

Next question. I am a huge fan of Shakespeare and of Milton, but the building tsunami of blank verse, as many great movements, arrived on Earth as a group of three: Howard, Shakespeare, Milton. While Milton openly honors his predecessor’s “easy numbers” in his poem, On Shakespeare [4], Shakespeare pays Howard the sincerest form of flattery, immitation. As Shakespeare did not invent that particular phrase [5], neither did he invent blank verse.

W.A. Sessions writes in Henry Howard, the Poet Earl of Surrey

“What is remarkable about the Earl of Surrey’s blank verse is that it has no clear origin except within one personality and one life-story. Whatever conceptions and techniques Surrey developed from specific literary sources, whether Geoffrey Chaucer, the French, the Italians, or Gawain Douglas, finally and mysteriously the blank verse originated out of a single person — Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. Before Surrey, in English, as an astute editor of Thomas Wyatt has observed, there had been ‘nothing quite like it’. Blank verse with its flexibility, its ‘readiness’, in T. S. Eliot’s term, surprised everyone. It had not evolved with time but was suddenly, ‘immediately’, invented — by a young man, not always mature, at a specific time and place terrible in their dislocations.” [6]

On Henry Howard’s new invention, Sessions continues:

“The freedom and flexibility of a language for Tudor ‘nobul hartys’ had been consciously designed by the young earl. Technical interplay and linear tension were to turn ordinary language into poetry, all in an absence of rhyme never so absolute since 1066. In this absence, if Wright is correct, Surrey carried–to an even greater ritualization–Wyatt’s own experiments in reproducing the human voice. As in Wyatt, Surrey’s worked through a ‘dual basis’, a dialectic in which ‘the metrical line and the natural rhythm of the language engage each other in a continuing struggle and, in order to abide harmoniously in each other’s presence, submit to certain standard modifications.’ From this engagement and harmony come the poetic line and, what is important for Surrey, the verse paragaraph. Surrey, like his offspring Milton, did intend that his heroic line express’Things unattempted yet in verse or prose’.” [6]

One more thing. Shakespeare was not first to publish a play in blank verse. That honor apparently goes to two young English noblemen, Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville, authors of Gorboduc. [7]

[1] Shakespeare and Prose: Why He Was a Genius by jennifer G
[ https://jenchaosreviews.com/2018/11/09/shakespeare-and-prose-why-he-was-a-genius/

[2] “Blank verse” http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/literature/poetry/blankverse.html

[3] [There comes a time when form does yield to sense,] – I allude to Alexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism, Part 2:

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.
‘Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax strives some rock’s vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move slow;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o’er th’ unbending corn, and skims along the main.


[4] On Shakespeare. by John Milton https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46453/on-shakespeare-1630


[6] Henry Howard, the Poet Earl of Surrey, by W. A. Sessions, Oxford University Press, 2003

[7] Borboduc, first play written in blank verse; first performed in 1561 http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/drama/early%20tragedies/gorboduc.html

Things that Start with “A” Dip

1/2 head garlic, minced;
1 small or medium onion, diced;
1/2 cup cauliflower, minced;
2-3 tbsp. olive oil;

1 can artichoke hearts* (baby or adult – babies may be less stringy, adults may require more blender time), drained, reserving the liquid for later use;
1/4 cup tahini;
juice from 1 lemon;
2 oz. chèvre goat or sheep’s milk feta cheese ;
all the sautéed vegetables, from above;

sauté the garlic, onions, and cauliflower in olive oil over medium heat until soft;

add drained Things that Start with “A” to a high powered blender;
add tahini, lemon juice, cheese, and sautéed vegetables;
blend until smooth, or even smoother by adding back some of the reserved liquid from the can of Things that Start with “A”, as needed;

makes 3-4 cups of dip;
serve with chips, like Siete Grain Free Lime cassava chips;

Paul Guernsey Player, © 2019/02/16


*artichoke hearts – for the longest time, I could not remember the name of this vegetable, but I knew they started with “A”, so that is how I referred to them, as Things that Start with “A”. As far as I am concerned, my name is better.

é, è – cute little letters from a cute little foreign language; they do not really mean anything;

My Knife: a high carbon steel (not-stainless) Sabatier 10″ chef’s knife. My knife may not be perfectly authentic. There are several manufactures using the Sabatier name. It is my second Sabatier, the first having been nicked and sharpened so many times that it’s blade is very thin. I gave it to my daughter, who still enjoys it. That first knife was purchased at the Saginaw Jacobson’s (an up-scale department store chain in Michigan, no longer in business) and given to me by my mother when I was young and handsome and just learning how to cook.

Impatient as the Passing Waves

The Water’s Way* is not a patient man.
More like a fickle lover, who cannot
make up his mind and choose a mate,
but washes down the path of lowest strain.

And nor is Rock as solid as it sounds,
Whose meteoric birth and silty death
are but a cycle much like water’s constant
churn from cloud to rain to sea and ice.

“Upon this rock I will build my church,”
as Jesus spoke to Peter, Petra, Rock.
This metaphoric church is built on nothing
more than future sand or fire scalded
molten magma ooze – a metamorphic
church as surely as the protolithic
sandstone to a hardened quartzite sets.

The Water’s Way is formed by Rocks, and Rocks,
though prominent, are merely islands on
a plastic sea, and though they mark our way,
and stud our maps, they are but passing ships,
as transient as stars, whose constellations
sway and drift appart upon the sky
as eons pass. And so, our Gods no more
than drifters are, and no more patient than
the passing waves.

Paul Guernsey Player © 2019/02/07

*in response to this sentence from Low Tide, by Brightly Blue:

“Now as I looked down, the receding water revealed a wealth of complex shapes where the rugged promontory is wearing away bit by bit, as water works its infinitely patient way through rock.”

Today’s views, by country:

Thanks, Guernsey!

See also…

The Bluff on which My Cabin Stands

Decentralize or Die