Sometimes an Umbrella Is Just an Umbrella

altpoppinsMost wingnuts go straight for the “uppity” angle when criticizing President Obama for asking two Marines to hold umbrellas over himself and the Turkish Prime Minister at an outdoor press conference during a downpour.

Noted boxed wine enthusiast Ann Althouse digs a bit deeper in a post entitled, “The word ‘umbrella’ appears exactly once in Obama’s ‘Dreams from My Father.'” Do think I’m kidding? No, I am not.

I’m astounded to see that the umbrella figures importantly in the book — and it is even an umbrella held over him by another man (his younger brother Bernard). This happens at the end of what is the most dramatic scene in the book, on the last page of the final chapter.


So — as he dramatizes it —it is at the moment when he finds out who he really is that another man suddenly appears and is sheltering him with an umbrella. He’s been crying, but now it all makes sense, and — with the prompting of the younger man — he sees that he is okay.


Flash forward, and he’s President. He is in the Rose Garden. It starts to rain. No man suddenly appears with an umbrella. He is getting wet and he is President — with plenty of airplanes and rifles and all of the world’s greatest military at hand — but he is still getting wet. He has to order the Marine to shelter him. It isn’t Bernard squatting with a bent-up old umbrella. It’s a Marine in full-dress uniform, with a fine unbent umbrella, which is nevertheless not correct under the official — male, rigid — Marine Corps regulations… And here he is, the center of the whole world’s attention, and he had to call for the umbrella. He is not okay.

Wingnuts have demonstrated amazing super powers in the past, including the ability to conduct a comprehensive neurological assessment via a snippet of grainy videotape and audit a family’s finances by peering through the kitchen window at their countertops.

In her analysis of the meaning of UmbrellaGate, Althouse has taken it a step further, investing that “famously Freudian symbol” with powers that far surpass Mary Poppins’ foul weather gear, including the ability to emasculate US Marines and transform the POTUS into an insecure child. It’s both insane and fascinating.

[X-posted at Rumproast]

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Cordial

In celebration of the ABL/CWG2012 DNC Road Trip, from faithful commentor Marvel:

May the harvest be upon you! It sure is harvest-y here in the Pacific Northwest!

We make a lovely liquor out of these tart, blue plums.

I like how the liquid (which starts out looking like sea critters submerged in weak coffee) turns a beautiful ruby color.

Plum Cordial-In-Waiting — Ingredients (in descending order) damson plums, vodka, sugar, brandy, water, whole cloves, whole allspice, star anise. Store in a cool dark spot for 3-4 months. Decant into festive vessels. Drink up.

[These snapshots are from last year (9/5/11) …we’ll be trudging out with ladder & pails and starting the process all over again tomorrow — sending these 2011 photos ‘cuz I’m up to my ears canning beans (etc.) today and it promises to get plenty non-stop busy hereabouts.]


As the official harvest season kicks off, what’s happening in your gardens this week?

We’re Not Worthy

We’ll just consider this an open thread, but the picture accompanying this post makes me realize what a sub-par blogger I am when compared to sheer genius.

Thanksgiving wines

New York Cork report had a good piece up a few days ago about what various local winemakers were having with their turkey. The choices were good — lots of rose sparklers, gewurztraminer, and cab franc. Rose sparklers go great with almost everything but red meat, gewurztraminer has a spicy element that goes well with all the nutmeg and cinnamon in some of the dishes, and cab francs (at least in the Finger Lake and Loire styles) have the body to stand up to the meat and the acid/spice to go with the side dishes.

The New York Times always recommends beaujolais for Thanksgiving, but I’m not so sure: the Duboeuf wines are awful and smaller producers’ beaujolais is a bit too fine — and expensive — to serve with candied yams and the like. Non-Dubouef beaujolais nouveau would be a great choice, but it’s almost impossible to find.

I’ll be having a cheap rose sparkler (Segura Viudas) and then some nice Oregon pinot (Soter, Archery Summit). I wouldn’t normally do something as nice as the pinots on Thanksgiving, but I’m in Oregon and that’s the only time I ever try that kind of thing.

What wine are guys drinking today?

Drink of the week

I’m not a big beer-drinker in general, but this year I’ve gotten really into pumpkin beers. The style isn’t done that well in general — I find that most pumpkin beers are either too subtle on the pumpkin or are over-spiced and overly sweet — but I like trying them anyway. A few days ago, I had one that was by far the best I’ve ever had and quite possibly my favorite beer of any kind I have ever had, the Southern Tier Pumpking. I read it about at New York Cork report:

What makes it the King? Hefty alcohol and a serious hop wallop, along with real pureed pumpkin so rich each sip tastes like inhaling Grandma’s pumpkin pie, makes this brew succeed where so many others fail: on the mid-palate and finish.

Pumpkin pie spices smell good, so it’s easy to make a pumpkin ale with a good nose: throw in a little cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg flavor, and you’ve got a nice fall beer aroma. The problem with so many is a thin or watery mid-palate that just doesn’t satisfy like a mouthful of chewy pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie or pumpkin cookie. PumKing, however, is the dessert of fall beers.

It’s hard to find and a little expensive — 6 bucks for a 22 oz bottle — but it’s really worth trying if you ever come across it.

So…I’ve been thinking of trying to add more non-political features to the blog, especially on the weekend. Song of the week is going great, and I’d like to add drink of the week and maybe movie of the week. I can’t write these things myself, I just don’t have that much jam, so do any of you keep blogs about wine/beer/cocktails or about movies?

Any other ideas for non-political weekend features?

Being Kitty Genovese

Franziapundit shoves her camera in some random guy’s face, he pushes the camera away, Althouse shrieks for the police, some poor cop has his next two hours ruined, and now there will be 5,000 wingnut blog posts about how wingnuts are always victims. I wonder she’ll will be in a wheelchair this week ala Kenneth Gladney.

In vino veritas

I don’t agree with John that there is no reason spend more than $15 for a bottle of wine. I don’t mind telling you that I have had much more expensive bottles than that Jayer-Gilles Echézeaux Paul Ryan had, courtesy of my bankster friend in New York (who is generally at least as far left as I am). I don’t see anything wrong with buying expensive wine, morally, and the only reason I don’t myself is that I don’t have enough money. When people pay a lot for wine, it goes to some wine-maker who likely as not is essentially a farmer, and even if that guy is already rich, it also raises prices for his middle-class wine-making neighbors. That is how a lot of things work — my cousin who works for an NGO in East Africa tells me if you really want to help coffee growers in Kenya, buy the most expensive fru-fru Kenyan stuff you can, because it’s almost certain that if it’s $15-plus, then Starbucks or Stumpdown Stumptown or whoever paid the farmers much more than would have gotten from Fair Trade.

But Paul Ryan was drinking $350 wine with a hedge fund guy while scheming to funnel Medicare money into tax cuts for hedge fund guys, and the hedge fund guy was paying for the bottle! That’s bribery, plain and simple. Ryan would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling kid.

Also too, this ought to end the myth that Paul Ryan is some Applebee’s-going everyman.

If people have money to buy expensive shit, then Bieber bless them if they want to buy it. We’re trying to have a consumer-based economy here. But when they whine about not being able to get buy by on 400K a year, they’re douches. And when Congressmen drink expensive shit on de facto lobbyists’ dimes, while whining on behalf of the lobbyists, they’re worse than douches, they’re bribe-takers.

So fuck Paul Ryan. And fuck his Sullivan/Jokeline/Bobo/Joe Nocera amen chorus too.