Week 11: The Shining, Hip Hop Cardio, Botched Chicken and Political Wedding Cake

This was a special week for me.

It is so because Stephen King is my very favorite.  Perhaps you think that cliche or contrived (especially if you’re a hipster–how dare I pick someone so POP!), and you go right on ahead thinking that, but I own my fandom with not one ounce of shame.  King has moved me, made me laugh and made me think over the years.  And I had never read the novel that, arguably, sent him into the stratosphere of popularity: The Shining.  So I put it on my schedule and this week I sucked the marrow out of that novel.

But more on that later.  One of the legion reasons that I so adore the man who wrote Carrie is that he participates actively in…everything. He is involved not only in his relationships with his fans (he writes for Entertainment Weekly, even!) but also in his role as a citizen.  He was in the news recently for flouting Maine governor Paul LePage for claiming that he did not pay his taxes and then, later this week he published this tweet.

***If you hate when I get political, just scroll on down to the picture of the Chicken Tostadas***

By now, many of you know about the social media tornado that is the Indiana RFRA.  I personally have become mildly obsessed with it from many varying and lovely angles.  I have decided I am THRILLED that Mike Pence signed Indiana’s blatantly antagonistic RFRA.  Why?

1.  It has drawn attention to the idea of Tricky Legislation.

There are magicians living among us and they’re called lawyers.  After all the time spent on Facebook reading link after link discussing RFRA, I decided to sit down and actually read the damn thing. (You can also read the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act here).  Then, I compared it to the Federal 1993 Clinton Religious Freedom Restoration Act that many of the Indiana RFRA defenders are saying it is, for all intents and purposes, identical to.

They both essentially say that the government cannot impose a “burden” on the exercise of any “person’s” religious freedom  unless it’s, like really, really necessary. (Sidebar: the Federal law cites some SUPER interesting court cases that establish what exactly a “compelling government interest” is that would conflict with religious freedom). The difference, the only one I noticed, was this phrase in the Indiana legislation Section 7 (a): “A person whose exercise of religion: 1. has been substantially burdened (I had to make a cake for a gay couple and I really like Leviticus); or 2. is likely to be substantially burdened (a gay couple has asked me to make a cake and I don’t want to because I really like Leviticus); by a violation of section 6 of this chapter may assert the violation, or impending violation, as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the judicial proceeding.”

In the Federal law, the wording goes like this: “A person whose religious exercise has been substantially burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government.”  Nothing at all about whether or not the state (or government) is a party to the judicial proceeding exists in the Federal law.

From what I understand (and I am by NO MEANS an expert), this means that the playing field is open to disputes between private citizens in the Indiana Law, whereas the Federal Law is really only talking about instances where the government is “burdening the exercise of religious freedom.”  The Indiana Law, as I understand it, means basically that those discriminated against on the basis of religious freedom no longer have standing in court.  This chart helps a little:

2.  It’s drawing attention to the evil that is Lobbying:

I’ve been saying it for what seems like a century.  Politicians make the calls they do because the people who donate to their campaign (or help funnel donations to their campaigns) are telling them to make those calls.  In many cases, said lobbyists are actually writing the legislation:

3.  It’s giving me faith in the media again!

For a good long while now, because of issue #2 above, I’ve kind of adopted a skeptical naysay toward the mainstream media.  Because they don’t focus on HUGE issues like lobbying and corporate tax breaks, I just assumed they were in the pocket of the MoneyChangers and therefore would only tell us that which our Most Holy Corporate Overlords thought we needed to know.

Let’s be honest:  I still really feel this way.

But I was encouraged when the Indianapolis Star flagrantly chastised Pence with its front page.

As for my personal stance on RFRA?  Of course, I stand with Stephen King (along with my many beloved LGBT brethren).  And now…on to our regularly scheduled programming.

The Recipe

Speaking of frosted dog turds…I had planned to make these Chicken & Summer Vegetable Tostadas this week for a weeknight dinner in front of the television.

I wanted to watch Survivor.

I got home from work late.

The puppy destroyed her cage.

So I was in a hurry.  I gathered my ingredients quickly.  Too quickly.  Here’s what the recipe called for:

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces chicken breast tenders
1 cup chopped red onion (about 1)
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup salsa verde
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
Cooking spray
3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
Cumin is a red spice, it starts with a “c” and ends with an “n” and there’s an “m” in the middle.  I would soon learn the irony of the fact that CINNAMON also meets all of these criteria.
While it was cooking, I did think to myself, “Gosh, why does that smell so sweet?  Like a pastry?”  But was rushing around chopping things too quickly to think too much about it.  Until Jason walked in and said, “Honey.  Did you put cinnamon in the chicken?”
And I did.  I made cinnamon chicken.  Once I discovered my capricious mistake, I tried to counter-balance with a sweet, mango peach salsa instead of salsa-verde.  And also added a metric shitload of cheese and sour cream to try and mask the taste.  We both ate it.  But it remains one of those things we likely shan’t speak of again.
The Workout
This week, I completed the Adrienne White Hip Hop Cardio #2  You guys, this is the first time I can say that I think I actually did better than the instructor.
Ok, of course I didn’t.  But it is the first time I’ve seen an instructor get mixed up in the middle of the video (multiple times, it’s really kind of a hot mess).  All hatery-ness aside, it kind of reminded me that the trainer is an actual human.
The music on this one, though…blech.  I chose it because I was so fond of the Hip Hop Belly Dance video that included, I dunno, actual hip hop music.  The music here was a strange, generic house type music.  I’m sure this  happened because of the wonders of copyright infringement laws.  And maybe it sounds like a strange thing to be picky about, but I wasn’t feeling the music and that made it hard for me to move my body to it.
In all…I’m not sure I’ll go back to this one.  Although, I may give her alternate workout a shot.

The Book

All told, I’m getting a little obsessed with The Shining.

So, Wikipedia informs me that this was the third novel King ever published and, by and large, the first one to go really, really big.  He wanted to get away from Maine for his third, so he did the random-spot-on-the-map thing and came up with Boulder, Colorado.  Stephen and Tabitha checked into The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park the day before Halloween, 1974.  They were the only guests in house, the hotel was closing for the winter the next day.  Fate was sealed.

Why, then, did I wait so long to read this book if I am such a Stephen King fan?  The answer mostly lies with the Stanley Kubrick film of 1980.  I learned long ago that if I’d seen the movie, I probably wouldn’t be able to finish the book.  Plus, I found the Kubrick film so disjointed and…bizarre, I just couldn’t muster the interest.  Similarly, because I saw movies (or miniseries) based on them in my juvenile years, I have also never read ItCujo, Christine and only half of Pet Semetery.  I may have a whole lot of catching up to do after this.

Obviously, I loved The Shining.  I watched the Kubrick film (and the subsequent documentary about the Kubrick film) right after I finished reading the book.  And I stand by my earlier statement (that I made to a lot of my friends and loved ones) that I prefer the TV miniseries.

Alas, a movie poster just as treacherous as the original book cover!

Ok, if you’re grabbing your pitchfork, let me make my case:

The miniseries was supervised by Uncle Stevie himself, whereas Kubrick pretty much took the book and pissed all over it (Room 237, the aforementioned documentary, confirms this; it’s the doc’s only real redeeming quality).  The book was a tale of a marriage disintegrating due to alcohol abuse.  The hotel was a metaphor for the bottle, both things crept inside of Jack Torrance and made him do things his conscious mind would never allow.  In the Kubrick film, the alcoholism is relegated to the side, mentioned maybe twice in the film.  In the book, every chapter has a reference to Jack’s drinking.  The amazing part about all of this?  Stephen King himself battled alcoholism and (wait for it…) didn’t even quit drinking until ten years after The Shining was published.

Now, is the miniseries perfect?  Hell no.  Like most made-for-tv miniseries, it’s cheesy and a bit strung together at the seams (I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy since reading the book, though I did watch the little bit on YouTube that I could find).  In my humble opinion…there hasn’t been a good, realistically stylized production of The Shining yet.  It’s due for a remake, which will never happen because Hollywood worships Kubrick.  (Though, if you want a laugh at how deep this devotion to the director goes-and you really like conspiracy theories-do watch Room 237.   It’s a bit like Jesus Camp).

In a day or so, I’ll post my review of last week’s activities.  The Shining was actually slated for two weeks ago, but I was enjoying it so much, I stretched it into last week:

BOOK: Heart Shaped Box

WORKOUT: Boot Camp Fitness Workout

RECIPE: Classic banana bread

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