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Archive for February 27th, 2012

Well, actually it is the only movie ever made by Native Americans about Native Americans.

That would be Smoke Signals, the 1998 Indian-made movie about two young men on a road trip. The film is funny, sad, deeply human, and infused with a singular Indian irony. The two leading characters are 20th century incarnations of the native archetypes of  Warrior and Shaman, and their tale is a classic epic of spiritual growth.

Not least, the movie is delightful because of the soundtrack. There is no genetic explanation for this, as I am pretty homogeneously Anglo-Celtic, but I have always found American native music deeply moving, all high pitched wailing floating above a deep percussive backbeat, and the tunes in this film, both traditional and contemporary, are beautiful. But enough; here is the trailer:

And here is an example of the more contemorary sort of Indian music:

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I love cooking with garlic, and loathe peeling it. Not only is it time consuming but it leaves your hands reeking. And while I don’t consider the odor of garlic to be unpleasant, I am told that those who do not indulge in the Blessed Bulb find it noxious.

Then one day I tuned into NPR and heard a way to peel garlic that sounded preposterous. I had missed the first part of the report and was pretty sure that there was something missing in what I heard, but when I got home I tried the part I had heard, just to be sure.

It goes like this: take a bulb of garlic, give it a karate chop to break it up, then place the cloves in a bowl (the broadcast says a metal bowl, but I have used ceramic and plastic and they work fine). Then place another bowl on top of the first and shake vigorously for a minute or so. Separate the bowls and voila! There, amid the shed paper-like skins, you will find lovely naked bulbs of garlic, ready for chopping.

I know, it sounds impossible, and I am not sure what happens, scientifically, but it works.

And your life will never be the same.

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