Oct 202017
 

Today is the birthday (1819) of the Báb (“the door/gate”), whose birth name was Sayyed ʿAli Muhammad Shirāzi (سيد علی ‌محمد شیرازی‎‎ —  descendant of the prophet Ali Muhammad from Shiraz), the founder of Bábism, and one of the central figures of the Azali and Bahá’í faiths. His birthday is celebrated in the Bahá’í tradition on this date using the Gregorian calendar rather than the Islamic or Bahá’í calendars. He is considered to be a figure rather like John the Baptist in the Christian tradition, that is, a forerunner who prepared the way for Bahá’u’lláh. (see http://www.bookofdaystales.com/ascension-of-bahaullah/ ). He also has followers in his own right. Bahá’ís claim that the Báb was the spiritual return of Elijah and John the Baptist, that he was the saoshyant referred to in Zoroastrianism, and that he was the forerunner of their own religion. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, was a follower of the Báb and claimed to be the fulfillment of his promise that God would send another messenger. What follows gets a bit detailed and I understand if it is a bit much to digest for a simple daily post. I do think it is important, however, to glimpse the historical evolution of branches of Islam. The average non-Muslim Westerner doesn’t even know the difference between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims, let alone the branches of these main denominations.

The Báb was born in Shiraz to a middle-class merchant of the city. His father was Muhammad Ridá, and his mother was Fátimih (1800–1881), a daughter of a prominent merchant in Shiraz. She later became a Bahá’í. His father died while he was quite young and he was raised by his maternal uncle, Hájí Mírzá Siyyid `Alí, who was also a merchant. He claimed to be a descendant from Muhammad (a sayyid) through Husayn ibn Ali through both his parents. When he was in Shiraz his uncle sent him to maktab (primary school) and he was there for 6 to 7 years. Some time between when he was 15 and 20, he joined his uncle in the family business, a trading house, and became a merchant in the city of Bushehr in Iran, near the Persian Gulf. Some of his earlier writings suggest that he did not enjoy the business and instead applied himself to the study of religious literature. One of his contemporary followers described him as,

. . . very taciturn, and  would never utter a word unless it was absolutely necessary. He did not even answer our questions. He was constantly absorbed in his own thoughts, and was preoccupied with repetition of his prayers and verses. He was a handsome man with a thin beard, dressed in clean clothes, wearing a green shawl and a black turban.

An English physician him as a young man by saying: “He was a very mild and delicate-looking man, rather small in stature and very fair for a Persian, with a melodious soft voice, which struck me much.

In 1842 he married Khadíjih-Bagum (1822–1882); he was 23 and she was 20. She was the daughter of a prominent merchant in Shiraz. They had only one child, a boy named Ahmad who died the year he was born (1843). The pregnancy jeopardized Khadijih’s life and she never conceived again. The young couple occupied a modest house in Shiraz along with the Báb’s mother. Later, Khadijih became a Bahá’í.

In the 1790s in Persia, Shaykh Ahmad (1753–1826) began a religious movement within Twelver Shia Islam. His followers, who became known as Shaykhis, were expecting the imminent appearance of the al-Qa’im of the Ahl al-Bayt also called “the Mahdi” (the 12th (hidden) Imam, somewhat akin to a Messiah, whom some Twelver Muslims believe will appear at the second coming of Jesus). After the death of Shaykh Ahmad, leadership was passed on to Kazim Rashti (1793–1843). In 1841 the Báb went on pilgrimage to Iraq, and for seven months stayed mostly in and around Karbala. There he is believed to have met Kazim Rashti, who showed a high regard for him. He is believed to have attended some of Kazim Rashti’s lectures. On his death bed in December 1843, Kazim Rashti counselled his followers to leave their homes to seek the Mahdi, who, according to his prophecies, would soon appear. One of these followers, Mullá Husayn, after keeping vigil for 40 days in a mosque, travelled to Shiraz, where he met the Báb.

The Báb’s first religious inspirational experience, witnessed by his wife, is dated to about the evening of 3 April 1844. The Báb’s first public connection with his sense of a mission came with the arrival of Mullá Husayn in Shiraz. On the night of 22 May, Mullá Husayn was invited by the Báb to his home. On that night Mullá Husayn told him that he was searching for the possible successor to Kazim Rashti, the Promised One. The Báb told Mullá Husayn that he was Kazim Rashti’s successor and the bearer of divine knowledge. Mullá Husayn became the first to accept the Báb’s claims to be an inspired figure and a likely successor to Kazim Rashti. The Báb had replied satisfactorily to all of Mullá Husayn’s questions and had written in his presence, with extreme rapidity, a long tafsir (commentary) on surah “Yusuf”, which has come to be known as the Qayyúmu’l-Asmá’ and is considered the Báb’s first revealed work.

Mullá Husayn was the Báb’s first disciple. Within five months, seventeen other disciples of Kazim Rashti had accepted the Báb as a Manifestation of God. Among them was one woman, Fátimih Zarrín Táj Baragháni, a poet, who later received the name of Táhirih (the Pure). These 18 disciples were later to be known as the Letters of the Living and were given the task of spreading the new faith across Iran and Iraq. The Báb emphasized the spiritual station of these 18 individuals, who, along with himself, made the first “Unity” of his religion (in Arabic, the term wāhid “unity” has a numerical value of 19 using abjad numerals). The Báb, in his book the Persian Bayán, gives the metaphorical identity of the Letters of the Living as the Fourteen Infallibles of Twelver Shi’i Islam (Muhammad, the Twelve Imams, and Fatimah) and the four archangels. In his early writings, the Báb appears to identify himself as the gate (báb) to the Hidden Twelfth Imam, and later he begins explicitly to proclaim his station as that of the Hidden Imam and a new messenger from God.

In the Báb’s early writings, the exalted identity he was claiming was unmistakable, but because of the skeptical reception of this pronouncement by many people, his writings appear to convey the impression that he is only the gate to the Hidden Twelfth Imam. To his circle of early believers, the Báb was equivocal about his exact status, gradually confiding in them that he was not merely a gate to the Hidden Imam, but the Manifestation of the Hidden Imam and the Qa’im himself. During his early meetings with Mullá Husayn, the Báb described himself as the Master and the Promised One; he did not consider himself to be simply Kazim Rashti’s successor, but claimed a prophetic status, a kind of deputy, delegated not just by the Hidden Imam but through Divine authority.

In the early phase of his declaration to the public, the title báb was emphasized as that of the gate leading to the Hidden Imam, as the Báb had told his early believers not to fully disclose his claims or reveal his name. The approach of laying claim to a lower position was intended to create a sense of anticipation for the appearance of the Hidden Imam, as well to avoid persecution and imprisonment, because a public proclamation of mahdi status could have brought upon the Báb a swift penalty of death. After a couple of months, as the Báb observed further acceptance and readiness among his believers and the public, he gradually shifted his public claim to that of the Hidden Imam. Then in his final years he publicly announced his station as a Manifestation of God.

After the eighteen Letters of the Living had accepted him, the Báb and the eighteenth Letter of the Living, Quddús, left on a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. At the Kaaba in Mecca, the Báb publicly declared his claim to be the Qa’im or Mahdi. He also wrote to the Sharif of Mecca, the Custodian of the Kaaba, proclaiming his mission. After their pilgrimage, the Báb and Quddús returned to Bushehr in Iran.

Preaching by the Letters of the Living led to opposition by Islamic clergy, prompting the Governor of Shiraz to order the Báb’s arrest. The Báb, upon hearing of the arrest order, left Bushehr for Shiraz in June 1845 and presented himself to the authorities. He was placed under house arrest at the home of his uncle until a cholera epidemic broke out in the city in September 1846. The Báb was released and departed for Isfahan. There, many came to see him at the house of the imam jum’a, head of the local clergy, who became sympathetic. After an informal gathering where the Báb debated the local clergy and displayed his speed in producing instantaneous verses, his popularity soared. After the death of the governor of Isfahan, Manouchehr Khan Gorji, who had become his supporter, pressure from the clergy of the province led to the Shah, Mohammad Shah Qajar, ordering the Báb to Tehran in January 1847. After spending several months in a camp outside Tehran, and before the Báb could meet the Shah, the Prime Minister sent the Báb to Tabriz in the northwestern corner of the country, where he was imprisoned.

After forty days in Tabriz, the Báb was then transferred to the fortress of Maku in the province of Azerbaijian close to the Turkish border. During his incarceration there, the Báb began his most important work, the Persian Bayán, which he never finished. Because of the Báb’s growing popularity in Maku and the governor of Maku converting, the prime minister transferred him to the fortress of Chehriq in April 1848. In that place as well, the Báb’s popularity grew and his jailors relaxed restrictions on him. It was at this time that Áqa Bálá Big Shíshvání Naqshbandí painted the only known portrait of the Báb. The Prime Minister ordered the Báb back to Tabriz, where the government called on religious authorities to put the Báb on trial for blasphemy and apostasy.

The trial, attended by the Crown Prince, occurred in July 1848 and involved numerous local clergy. They questioned the Báb about the nature of his claims, his teachings, and demanded that he produce miracles to prove his divine authority. They admonished him to recant his claims. There are nine extant eyewitness reports of the trial which vary somewhat in terms of the questions asked and the answers given. Only one answer is found in all nine eyewitness sources, where the Báb states that “I am that person you have been awaiting for one thousand years.”

The trial did not bring a decisive result. Some clergy called for capital punishment, but the government pressured them to issue a lenient judgement because the Báb was popular. The government asked medical experts to declare the Báb insane so that he could not be executed. It is also likely that the government, to appease the religious clergy, spread rumours that the Báb had recanted. The Shaykh al-Islām, a champion of the anti-Bábist campaign, who was not at the Báb’s trial, issued a conditional death sentence if the Báb was found to be sane. A fatwa was issued establishing the Báb’s apostasy which stated, “The repentance of an incorrigible apostate is not accepted, and the only thing which has caused the postponement of your execution is a doubt as to your sanity of mind.”

The crown prince’s physician, William Cormick, examined the Báb and complied with the government’s request to find grounds for clemency. The physician’s opinion saved the Báb from execution for a time, but the clergy insisted that he face corporal punishment instead, so the Báb suffered foot whipping (twenty lashes to the bottoms of his feet). The unsigned and undated official government report states that because of his harsh beating, the Báb (orally and in writing) recanted, apologized, and stated that he would not continue to advance claims of divinity. The document of his alleged recantation was written shortly after his trial in Tabriz. Some authors believe that the assertions were made to embarrass the Báb and undermine his credibility with the public and that the language of this document is very different from the Báb’s usual style, so that it could have been prepared by the authorities.

After the trial, the Báb was ordered back to the fortress of Chehríq. In mid-1850 a new prime-minister, Amir Kabir, ordered the execution of the Báb, probably because various Bábí insurrections had been defeated and the movement’s popularity appeared to be waning. The Báb was brought back to Tabriz from Chehriq for an execution by firing squad. The night before his execution, as he was being conducted to his cell, a young Bábí, Muhammad-Ali “Anis” from Zonuz, threw himself at the feet of the Báb and begged to be killed with him. He was immediately arrested and placed in the same cell as the Báb.

On the morning of July 9, 1850, the Báb was taken to the courtyard of the barracks in which he was being held, where thousands of people had gathered to watch his execution. The Báb and Anís were suspended on a wall and a large firing squad of Christian soldiers prepared to shoot. Numerous eye-witness reports, including those of Western diplomats, recount the result. The order was given to fire and the barracks square filled with musket smoke. When it cleared, the Báb was no longer in the courtyard and his companion stood there unharmed. The bullets apparently had not harmed either man, but had cut the rope suspending them from the wall. There was a great commotion, many in the crowd believing the Báb had ascended to heaven or simply disappeared. But the soldiers subsequently found the Báb in another part of the barracks, completely unharmed, giving his final instructions to his secretary. He and Anis were tied up for execution a second time, a second firing squad of Muslim soldiers was ranged in front of them, and a second order to fire was given. This time, the Báb and his companion were killed. In Bábí and Bahá’í tradition, the failure of the first firing squad to kill the Báb is believed to have been a miracle. Their corpses were dumped outside the gates of the town to be eaten by animals.

The corpses, however, were clandestinely rescued by a handful of Bábis and were hidden. Over time the remains were secretly transported according to instructions of Bahá’u’lláh and then `Abdu’l-Bahá by way of Isfahan, Kirmanshah, Baghdad and Damascus, to Beirut and thence by sea to Acre on the plain below Mount Carmel in 1899. On March 21, 1909, the remains were then interred in a special tomb, the Shrine of the Báb, erected for this purpose by `Abdu’l-Bahá, on Mount Carmel in present-day Haifa in Israel. The Bahá’í World Centre is located close to this site.

Bahá’ís and Bábis treat today as a holy day, ceasing work and holding festive gatherings. Something Persian/Iranian is suitable and I have chosen an eggplant and tomato stew, Khoresh Bademjan, which is very popular. It usually contains meat of some sort – lamb or beef – but I am giving a vegan version here because many Bahá’ís and Bábis (not all), refrain from eating meat. Given that the dish’s main ingredients are eggplants and tomatoes, which are New World cultigens, it’s not an ancient dish by any means. But, given that the Báb lived in the 19th century an ancient dish is not called for. One of the main ingredients is pomegranate molasses. I give a recipe for here http://www.bookofdaystales.com/cyrus-the-great/  or you can buy it online. The dish is normally accompanied by a yoghurt sauce, and should be served with rice.

Khoresh Bademjan

Ingredients

For the Eggplant and Tomato Stew:

1 ½ pounds eggplant, stemmed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled, and finely sliced
3 large cloves garlic, peeled, and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt (plus extra for salting the eggplant)
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
1 pinch saffron

For the Yogurt Herb Sauce:

6 oz plain yogurt
¼ cup fresh, chopped dill
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
salt

Instructions

Place the eggplant in a large colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle generously with sea or kosher salt and set aside. For 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat the ¼ cup of olive oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven or deep, heavy skillet. Add the onions and sauté until they are soft and translucent, and beginning to brown in spots. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and salt, and sauté about a minute longer, stirring until the onions are coated and the spices are aromatic.

Press the eggplant well in the colander to release trapped fluid, and then turn it out on to paper towels and pat dry.    Add the eggplant to the pan. Drizzle the pan with the extra 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté, turning to coat the eggplant in the onion and spice mixture. Continue until the eggplant is tender and shrinks in volume (about 10 15 minutes).

Stir in the tomatoes, using a wooden spoon to break them into chunks. Add ½ cup of water, pomegranate molasses, and saffron. Stir well. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook covered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To make the yogurt sauce mix together the yogurt, dill, garlic, and salt to taste in a small bowl. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. The sauce can be made several hours ahead.

To serve top with the yogurt sauce, and extra fresh chopped herbs, if desired.

Jul 262017
 

Dr. Esperanto’s International Language, usually referred to as Unua Libro (First Book), was first published on this this date in 1887 in Russian. It was the first publication to describe Esperanto, then called the International Language (Esperanto: Internacia Lingvo). It was first published in Warsaw by Polish oculist Ludvic Lazarus Zamenhof. Over the next few years editions were published in Polish, Russian, Hebrew, French, German, and English. This booklet included the Lord’s Prayer, some Bible verses, a letter, poetry, the 16 rules of grammar and 900 roots of vocabulary. In the book Zamenhof declared, “an international language, like a national one, is common property” and renounced all rights to the language, effectively putting it into the public domain. Zamenhof signed the work as “Doktoro Esperanto” (Doctor One-Who-Hopes). Those who learned the new language began to call it “Esperanto” after Zamenhof’s pen name, and Esperanto soon became the official name of the language.

The first English edition, entitled Dr Esperanto’s International Tongue, was translated by Julian Steinhaus. When Richard H. Geoghegan pointed out that Steinhaus’s translation was in very poor English throughout, Zamenhof destroyed his remaining copies and engaged Geoghegan to produce a fresh translation. In 1905, Zamenhof re-published the 16 rules of grammar, in combination with a dictionary and a collection of exercises, in a work entitled Fundamento de Esperanto (Foundation of Esperanto).

I can understand why Zamenhof got the idea to create a universal language (just about), but I vehemently disapprove for a host of reasons. Perhaps of greatest importance is that language and culture are so deeply entwined that they cannot, nor should, be separated. The English language, for example, contains embedded in it all the history of English-speaking peoples along with their poetry, drama, and prose, their loves, fears, and joys, and all there is that makes them who they are. Language is identity. Furthermore, every language can be broken down into dialects which root segments of the larger language family in local culture. Standardizing languages so that all speakers use one dialect (typically the dialect of the rich and powerful) is an act of tyranny that robs local populations of their specialness. Standardizing ALL languages to one, single, global language may not be as tyrannical, but it is still a horrible idea. Would you like to selectively hybridize all animals and all plants so that you have one (highly nutritious) meat and one vegetable? We should revel in linguistic diversity, not eliminate it.

I understand Zamenhof’s motives. He was born and grew up in a part of Poland where there were 4 languages used – Polish, German, Yiddish, and Russian. There were deep divisions between the 4 communities and Zamenhof thought that if they all had a common language they would get along better. He wrote:

The place where I was born and spent my childhood gave direction to all my future struggles. In Białystok the inhabitants were divided into four distinct elements: Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews; each of these spoke their own language and looked on all the others as enemies. In such a town a sensitive nature feels more acutely than elsewhere the misery caused by language division and sees at every step that the diversity of languages is the first, or at least the most influential, basis for the separation of the human family into groups of enemies. I was brought up as an idealist; I was taught that all people were brothers, while outside in the street at every step I felt that there were no people, only Russians, Poles, Germans, Jews and so on. This was always a great torment to my infant mind, although many people may smile at such an ‘anguish for the world’ in a child. Since at that time I thought that ‘grown-ups’ were omnipotent, so I often said to myself that when I grew up I would certainly destroy this evil.

He’s right that the division of people into groups who look upon each other as enemies is evil, but this state of affairs is not created by language nor will speaking a common language remove it. A modern anthropologist could have set him straight and saved him a lot of trouble.

Zamenhof equally believed that it was possible to create a language that was easy to learn by simplifying the grammar and the vocabulary. This agenda is misguided in a host of ways, although I applaud his invention of a phonetic alphabet for Esperanto. Literacy in Europe was greatly enhanced in certain regions when spelling and pronunciation were standardized by academies. English missed the boat in this regard, and it’s too late now to change it. But even here there are problems. The Esperanto alphabet could be used for English without too much hardship I suppose, but do you really want Russians, Israelis, Arabs, and Koreans to give up their alphabets? Korean Hangul is Korea’s pride. They even have a special day set aside to honor its invention. Serbs and Croats speak dialects of the same language, but Croats use the Roman alphabet and Serbs use Cyrillic and are fiercely defensive of their separate systems, and don’t want to give them up because they represent the differences between the two peoples.  When you get into systems of writing that are not alphabetic or even syllabic, such as Chinese characters, things get even more complex. You can write Chinese in an alphabetic system called Pinyin, and all Chinese speakers can read Pinyin. But it is rarely used by native speakers.  They prefer using Chinese characters because the characters themselves contain layered meanings which get destroyed by using Pinyin.

Esperanto should be classified as an Indo-European language, and, as such, its supposed simplicity is limited to people who speak Indo-European languages, and make it much harder for speakers from other language families. For example, Esperanto uses plurals for nouns (and adjectives), but many non-Indo-European languages do not. My Mandarin Chinese teacher once asked me what the point of plurals was. Mandarin does not use them. He asked me once, “Why say ‘one dog, two dogs’ when ‘one dog, two dog’ is perfectly understandable?” The phonology, grammar, vocabulary, and semantics are based on the Indo-European languages spoken in Europe. The sound inventory is essentially Slavic, as is much of the semantics, whereas the vocabulary derives primarily from the Romance languages, with a lesser contribution from Germanic languages and minor contributions from Slavic languages and Greek. Pragmatics and other aspects of the language not specified by Zamenhof’s original documents were influenced by the native languages of early authors, primarily Russian, Polish, German, and French.

Esperanto words are mostly derived by stringing together roots, grammatical endings, and at times prefixes and suffixes. This process is regular, so that people can create new words as they speak and be understood. Compound words are formed with a modifier-first, head-final order, as in English (compare “birdsong” and “songbird,” and Esperanto, birdokanto and kantobirdo). Speakers may optionally insert an o between the words in a compound noun if placing them together directly without the o would make the resulting word hard to say or understand.

The different parts of speech are marked by their own suffixes: all common nouns end in -o, all adjectives in -a, all derived adverbs in -e, and all verbs in one of six tense and mood suffixes, such as the present tense -as. Nouns and adjectives have two cases: nominative for grammatical subjects and in general, and accusative for direct objects and (after a preposition) to indicate direction of movement.

Singular nouns used as grammatical subjects end in -o, plural subject nouns in -oj (pronounced [oi̯] like English “oy”). Singular direct object forms end in -on, and plural direct objects with the combination -ojn ([oi̯n]; rhymes with “coin”): -o- indicates that the word is a noun, -j- indicates the plural, and -n indicates the accusative (direct object) case. Adjectives agree with their nouns; their endings are singular subject -a ([a]; rhymes with “ha!”), plural subject -aj ([ai̯], pronounced “eye”), singular object -an, and plural object -ajn ([ai̯n]; rhymes with “fine”).

The six verb inflections consist of three tenses and three moods. They are present tense -as, future tense -os, past tense -is, infinitive mood -i, conditional mood -us, and jussive mood -u (used for wishes and commands). Verbs are not marked for person or number. Thus, kanti means “to sing”, mi kantas means “I sing”, vi kantas means “you sing”, and ili kantas means “they sing.”

To give you the “flavor” of Esperanto, in a figurative as well as a literal sense, here’s a recipe in Esperanto taken from this site — http://apetito.ikso.net If you are at all conversant with Romance or Slavic languages you’ll get the drift.  My Google translator will help you if you are stuck.  It’s basically eggplant Parmesan.  Full pictures can be found here — http://apetito.ikso.net/recepto/parmigiana

Parmigiana

Parmigiana estas tre bongusta itala plado simila al lasanjoj, sed kun tranĉaĵoj de panumita melongeno anstataŭ pastaĵoj. Ĝi ne estas tre malfacila, sed la preparado povas esti sufiĉe longa (ĝis du horoj). Eblas panumi la melongenon, konservi ĝin en fridujo kaj daŭrigi la preparadon poste.

Ingrediencoj por 8 personoj (konvertilo)

Por fritado:

1,5 aŭ 2 kg da melongenoj aŭ celeria tubero (prefere havu tro multe ol ne sufiĉe)
Oleo
Faruno
Raspita pano
2 ovoj

Por la saŭco:

1 L da tomata saŭco
1 cepo
Iom da olivoleo (aŭ alia oleo)

Cetere:

250 g da fromaĝo (eblas uzi ekzemple mocarelon kun parmezano; en la fotoj ni uzis oštiepok, slovakan ŝafan fromaĝon)

Salo, se vi ne uzas tre salan fromaĝon

Preparado

Paŝo 1 Tranĉu la cepon en etajn pecojn kaj metu ilin en poton kun oleo.

Paŝo 2 Kiam la cepoj flaviĝas, aldonu la tomatan saŭcon. Lasu la saŭcon kuiriĝi sur malforta fajro dum duonhoro (aŭ dum vi faros la ceteron de la recepto).

Paŝo 3 Senŝeligu kaj tranĉu la celerion aŭ melongenon en maldikajn tranĉaĵojn (1 cm aŭ malpli).

Paŝo 4 Ĉar celerio estas iom malmola, ni metis ĝin en bolantan akvon dum kelkaj minutoj (sufiĉe por moligi ĝin, sed ne tro longe por ne forigi la guston). Kun melongenoj tio ne necesas.

Paŝo 5 Preparu la lokon por panumado: en profundan teleron miksu la du ovojn (eblas aldoni iom da lakto por havi pli da likvaĵo). Metu sur du aliajn telerojn farunon kaj panerojn. Varmigu en pato sufiĉe multe da oleo, por povi komplete mergi la legomtranĉaĵojn.

Paŝo 6 Por ĉiu peco de legomo: metu ĝin en farunon, poste en ovaĵon, poste en panerojn. Ili devas esti bone kovritaj ambaŭflanke.

Paŝo 7 Fritu la panumitajn legompecojn en oleo.

Paŝo 8 Kovru la fundon de plado per iom da tomata saŭco. Poste faru tavolon da legomaj tranĉaĵoj. Ne lasu tro grandajn truojn inter la pecoj, bezonkaze vi povas tranĉi ilin.

Paŝo 9 Kovru tion per tomata saŭco. La frititaĵoj devas esti bone kovritaj, sed ne naĝi en tomata saŭco. Ne hezitu ŝmiri per kulero. Aldonu pinĉaĵon da salo, se vi ne uzas tre salan fromaĝon.

Paŝo 10 Aldonu tavolon da fromaĝo (depende de la fromaĝo, ĝi estu raspita aŭ maldike tranĉita).

Paŝo 11 Rekomencu la paŝojn 8 ĝis 10 por fari 3 aŭ 4 etaĝojn, depende de la kvanto da ingrediencoj.

Paŝo 12 Enfornigu por 20 aŭ 25 minutoj.

Jan 212016
 

wj6

Today is the birthday (1938) of Robert Weston Smith commonly known as Wolfman Jack, a U.S. disc jockey, famous for his gravelly voice and crazily “good time” pitch. The Wolfman represents a U.S. era long gone, of vinyl 45s, R&B, drive-ins, cruisin’, soda fountains, and rock-n-roll. The Wolfman’s favorite musical era was 1958 to 1964 before U.S. music was influenced by British groups such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. His kind does not exist any more, nor the era that made him.

Smith was born in Brooklyn, the younger of two children of Anson Weston Smith, an Episcopal Sunday school teacher, writer, editor, and executive vice president of the Financial World, and his wife Rosamond Small. His parents divorced while he was a child. His father bought him a large Trans-Oceanic radio, and Smith became an avid fan of R&B music and the disc jockeys who played it, including “Jocko” Henderson of Philadelphia, New York’s “Dr. Jive” (Tommy Smalls), the “Moon Dog” from Cleveland, Alan Freed, and Nashville’s “John R.” Richbourg, who later became his mentor. After selling encyclopedias and Fuller brushes door-to-door, Smith attended the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington, D.C. Graduating in 1960, he began working as “Daddy Jules” at WYOU in Newport News, Virginia. When the station format changed to “beautiful music”, Smith became known as “Roger Gordon and Music in Good Taste”. In 1962, he moved to country music station KCIJ/1050 in Shreveport, Louisiana as the station manager and morning disc jockey, “Big Smith with the Records”. He married Lucy “Lou” Lamb in 1961, and they had two children.

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Disc jockey Alan Freed had played a role in the transformation of African-American rhythm and blues into rock and roll music, and originally called himself the “Moon Dog” after New York City street musician Moondog. Freed both adopted this name and used a recorded howl to give his early broadcasts a unique character. Smith’s adaptation of the Moondog concept was to call himself Wolfman Jack and add his own sound effects. The character was based in part on the manner and style of bluesman Howlin’ Wolf. It was at KCIJ in Shreveport, Louisiana that he first began to develop his famous alter ego Wolfman Jack. According to Philip A. Lieberman, Smith’s “Wolfman” persona “derived from Smith’s love of horror flicks and his shenanigans as a ‘wolfman’ with his two young nephews. The ‘Jack’ was added as a part of the ‘hipster’ lingo of the 1950s, as in ‘take a page from my book, Jack,’ or the more popular, ‘hit the road, Jack.'”

In 1963, Smith took his act to the border when the Inter-American Radio Advertising’s Ramon Bosquez hired him and sent him to the studio and transmitter site of XERF-AM at Ciudad Acuña in Mexico, a station whose high-powered border blaster signal could be picked up across much of the United States. In an interview with writer Tom Miller, Smith described the reach of the XERF signal: “We had the most powerful signal in North America. Birds dropped dead when they flew too close to the tower. A car driving from New York to L.A. would never lose the station.” Most of the border stations broadcast at 250,000 watts, five times the U.S. limit, meaning that their signals were picked up all over North America, and at night as far away as Europe and the Soviet Union. It was at XERF that Smith developed his signature style (with phrases like “Who’s this on the Wolfman telephone?”) and widespread fame. The border stations made money by renting time to Pentecostal preachers and psychics, and by taking 50 percent of the profit from anything sold by mail order. The Wolfman did pitches for dog food, weight-loss pills, weight-gain pills, rose bushes, and baby chicks. There was even a pill called Florex, which was supposed to enhance one’s sex drive. “Some zing for your ling nuts,” was the Wolfman’s tagline.

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That sales pitch was typical of Wolfman Jack’s growling, exuberant on-air style. In the spirit of his character name, he would punctuate his banter with howls, while urging his listeners to “get naked” or “lay your hands on the radio and squeeze my knobs”. Part of the persona was his nocturnal anonymity; listeners from coast to coast had no idea how to recognize the face behind the voice that said things like “Wolfman plays the best records in the business, and then he eats ’em!”

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Smith left Mexico after eight months and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to run station KUXL. Even though Smith was managing a Minneapolis radio station, he was still broadcasting as Wolfman Jack on XERF via taped shows that he sent to the station. Missing the excitement, however, he returned to border radio to run XERB, and opened an office on Sunset Boulevard in the Los Angeles area in January 1966. The Wolfman would record his shows in Los Angeles and ship his tapes across the border into Mexico, where they would then be beamed across the U.S. It was during his time broadcasting on XERB that Smith met Don Kelley, who would become his personal manager and business partner over a period of over twenty years. It was Kelley who saw the potential for Wolfman Jack to become more than a radio personality. Kelley started to work on a strategy to transform Smith from a cult figure to a mainstream entertainer in film, recordings, and television. He promoted Smith to the major media and formed enduring relationships with key journalists.

In 1971, the Mexican government decided that its overwhelmingly Roman Catholic citizens should not be subjected to proselytizing and banned the Pentecostal preachers from the radio, taking away 80 percent of XERB’s revenue. He then moved to station KDAY 1580 in Los Angeles, which could only pay him a fraction of his former XERB income. However, Smith capitalized on his fame by editing his old XERB tapes and selling them to radio stations everywhere, inventing rock and roll radio syndication. He also appeared on Armed Forces Radio from 1970 to 1986. At his peak, Wolfman Jack was heard on more than 2,000 radio stations in fifty-three countries. In a deal promoted by Don Kelley, The Wolfman joined WNBC in New York in August 1973, the same month that American Graffiti premiered, and the station mounted a huge advertising campaign in local newspapers to propel their ratings over that of their main competitor, WABC, which had “Cousin Brucie” (Bruce Morrow). After less than a year, WNBC hired Cousin Brucie, and Wolfman Jack went back to California to concentrate on his syndicated radio show, which was carried on KRLA-Pasadena (Los Angeles) from 1984-1987. He moved to Belvidere, North Carolina, in 1989, to be closer to his extended family. In the 80s, he did a brief stint at XeROK 80, another border blaster that was leased by Dallas investors Robet Hanna, Grady Sanders, and John Ryman. Ryman then moved Smith to Scott Ginsburg-owned Y95 in Dallas, Texas. Ryman and legendary programmer Buzz Bennet rocketed the station to fame.

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In the early days, Wolfman Jack made sporadic public appearances, usually as a Master of Ceremonies (an “MC”) for rock bands at local Los Angeles clubs. At each appearance he looked a little different because Smith hadn’t decided on what the Wolfman should look like. Early pictures show him with a goatee; however, sometimes he combed his straight hair forward and added dark makeup to look somewhat “ethnic”. Other times he had a big afro wig and large sunglasses. The ambiguity of his race contributed to the controversy of his program. It wasn’t until he appeared in the 1969 film, A Session with the Committee (a montage of skits by the seminal comedy troupe The Committee), that mainstream America got a good look at Wolfman Jack.

In 1973, he appeared in George Lucas’ second feature film, American Graffiti, as himself. His broadcasts tie the film together, and Richard Dreyfuss’s character catches a glimpse of the mysterious Wolfman in a pivotal scene. In gratitude for Wolfman Jack’s participation, Lucas gave him a fraction of a “point” — the division of the profits from a film — and the extreme financial success of American Graffiti provided him with a regular income for life. Here’s the iconic clip:

Subsequently, Smith appeared in several television shows as Wolfman Jack. They included The Odd Couple; What’s Happening!!; Vega$; Wonder Woman; Hollywood Squares; Married… with Children; Emergency!; and Galactica 1980. He was the regular announcer and occasional host for The Midnight Special on NBC from 1973 to 1981. He was also the host of his self-titled variety series, The Wolfman Jack Show, which was produced in Canada by CBC Television in 1976, and syndicated to stations in the U.S.

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Smith died of a heart attack in Belvidere, North Carolina, on July 1, 1995. He had finished broadcasting what would be his last Wolfman Jack radio broadcast, a weekly program nationally syndicated from The Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Washington, D.C. originating on XTRA 104.1 FM (WXTR-FM). That night he said, “I can’t wait to get home and give Lou a hug, I haven’t missed her this much in years,” referring to the concluded promotional tour for his new autobiography. “He walked up the driveway, went in to hug his wife and then just fell over,” said Lonnie Napier, vice president of Wolfman Jack Entertainment.

Not surprisingly Wolfman Jack’s tastes were straight-down-the-middle North American. “When you want a good steak, any place in Albuquerque will do. The filets there are the best in the world. Hot dogs are the greatest in Los Angeles. There’s one particular stand on North La Brea that beats anything I’ve ever seen. Kosher corned beef sandwiches are best in Indianapolis; for oysters, it’s Dallas; for veal parmesan, Las Vegas.” Honestly ???? You must be kidding. I mean, these dishes can have their moments, and I’ve mentioned most of them in my recipe sections. But these locales are surely a joke. I sure hope so. I won’t stick my neck out too far when it comes to kosher corned beef, but you really ought not be straying too far from the Lower East Side of New York. And Dallas for oysters?

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I can’t say about Las Vegas for veal parm because I’ve never been to Vegas nor eaten veal parm. The dish on which it’s based is southern Italian – parmigiana, also known as parmigiana di melanzane, or melanzane alla parmigiana, that is, eggplant parmesan. Use of veal or chicken is an Italian-American twist. I’ve had a few spectacular failures with eggplant parmesan – including at a cooking demonstration – so the less said about that the better. Although I’ve never made veal parmesan, I know the principle for a sub.

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Start with a thin veal cutlet. Dip it in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Make sure the cutlet is completely coated. Shallow fry on both sides until they are golden. Split a crusty roll and place the cutlet on the bottom half. Cover with a good tomato sauce (warm), and sprinkle with grated cheese. Despite the name, many restaurants use mozzarella, or a mix of mozzarella and parmesan. Put under a broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese, then serve.