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- A friend gave me a bottle of the 2002 Morambro Creek Padthaway Shiraz on Boxing Day. I opened it for Valentine's: lovely, fruity, and chocolately. Around $14/bottle. Get more of this.
- Rio Adobe on DeAnza at Prospect. Better than the 'upscale' carry-out places like Chipolte and Baja Fresh. Yesterday they had green chile pork stew.
- Coffee Society opened a store in the new Cupertino library on Torre. They have free WiFi. The new location's smaller than the main branch, and overrun by kids and parents instead of DeAnza College students.
I Corrupted My Grandparents. I have the coolest grandparents in the world. Last time I visited I told them that whenever they read a fortune cookie fortune they need to add "in bed" after the fortune. (Try it - It's Hilarious) Time goes on and I receive this email from my grandmother:
We were sitting at breakfast last Sunday after church with 2 other couples and Pop picked up a 4 page flier, it had horoscopes in it and he started to read them and I hate them and he knows it but is trying to be funny. In the meantime, I tell them about this goofy grandson we have in CA that we took to the Chinese buffet and he made us say -in bed- after reading our fortunes and since then I have been trying to ignore it but they still crop up when I read the fortune.....sooooo Pop decided to say - in bed - after the horoscopes and for that particular paper they were hysterical. Every one read the darn things with the addition and we were in hysterics, had to apologize to the people around us. Told them that we were usually that boisterous...........your fault.
Life is short - I'm lucky to get emails like this from my grandmother and grandfather. Love em both. [What Do YOU Think? Comment on this Post!] [Testify!] [Father Dan]
Celebrating the Body Beautiful. The human body is intriguing in all its forms. A photo exhibit features subjects both nude and clothed, giving us a complex picture of who we are as a species and as sexual beings. Commentary by Regina Lynn. [Wired News]
Now I'm really worried...and I thought public education was bad before (even though I insist on sending my children there to meet others unlike themselves.)
Does the First Amendment go 'too far'?. The First Amendment grants too many freedoms, according to more than a third of US high school children. This is the disturbing conclusion of a new report by the Knight Foundation. [kuro5hin.org]
I like this lady already...
Is Mary Hodder brilliant or what? She and her friends go for a hike in the Los Altos Hills while TiVO records the SuperBowl. When they return, skip over the football and watch the commercials. Read that twice. [Scripting News]
Ophthalmologists at Rush University Medical Center implanted Artificial Silicon Retina (ASR) microchips in the eyes of five patients to treat vision loss caused by retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The implant is a silicon microchip 2mm in diameter and one-thousandth of an inch thick, less than the thickness of a human hair. Four patients had surgery Tuesday, January 25. The fifth patient is scheduled for a later date.[Science Blog - Science Blog -- Research News in Science, Health, Medicine, Space, Physics and More]
We're oohing and ahhing over a new arrival these days--a trebuchet built by eccentric genius Kaden.
This was a suprise--and rather late--Christmas gift I ordered for Frank, after reading about Kaden's toys in BoingBoing. I loved it that this particular hanging counterweight trebuchet was "based on the familiar Monty-Python "dead-cow-over-the-castle-wall" catapult."
Kaden invites special requests--for Frank, of course, I wanted "lots of physics." Kaden dug right into it:This whole physics angle is challenging...I dug up a chunk of brass heat exchanger tubing at Capital Salvage that I'm using half of the outer shell of for the launch trough...representin' thermodynamics in da hood, I guess.The trebuchet arrived in a large wooden box stamped "ECCENTRIC GENIUS"--I'm sure we'll find a use for the box somewhere too. So far we've used it to shoot blueberries (which the dog likes to fetch but also likes to eat), small potatoes, and more-or-less round chunks of portobello mushroom, which are too light to go far.
I'm gonna put a hidden compartment in the inside of the weight box. Who doesn't like secret compartments, and the measurable discrepancy between apparent volume and actual mass will serve as a piquant and ironic nod to the ongoing uncertainty regarding Dark Matter.
Levers we got covered.
It's a gorgeous object, and sits in front of the fireplace when nobody is using it to launch pieces of food. I asked Kaden if I could share some of his email, and he replied:I'm glad the piece was well received, and that your fireplace is now properly defended. Here's some pictures I took of it prior to shipping...do what you want with 'em, and blog like a crazed marsupial...as long as you spell my name right.It's Kaden. Thank you, Kaden! We love our new toy.
[Betsy Devine: Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Peculiar?]
Oh, goody. I'm so glad...
Drink a Day May Keep Older Women Sharp. Not only red wine but also white wine, beer and hard liquor appear to protect against mental decline in older women, two new studies have found. By By NICHOLAS BAKALAR. [NYT > Health]
Sure, Come Back to the Nest. Here Are the Rules.. As the number of children who return to live at home after college increases, the best situations are built on financial rules that encourage responsibility. By By DALE BUSS. [NYT > Education]
Get'em While They're Young. Statutory rape, in the common parlance, refers to adults having sex with minors. I, however, wish to speak of a different kind of statutory rape, one that while superficially different is in fact alarmingly similar. [kuro5hin.org]
This is a scream...
Cool Shoes You Can Make At Home!. From Craigslist: I've learned to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads: You need four maxis to make a pair. Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part. The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top. Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part. Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers, etc.
These slippers are soft and Hygienic; Non-slip grip strips on the soles; Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh; No more bending over to mop up spills; Disposable and biodegradable; Environmentally safe; Three convenient sizes: Regular, Light day, and Get out the Sand Bags. Happiest of holidays........
[What Do YOU Think? Comment on this Post!] [Testify!] [Father Dan]
Our city library (Allentown, PA) does pretty well in the couches, computers, and helpful staff areas. Wireless broadband, remote access, and movie screening - not yet.
“…When asked how frequently they used their local public libraries, most reported that they didn't read books for leisure that much (but they do read lots of magazines!) and don't use their libraries that often (there were two notable exceptions -- both young women who said they used their public libraries because they loved to read but couldn't afford to buy books or magazines). When asked what would draw them into their public libraries, they all said the following:
[The Shifted Librarian]
- Wireless internet access
- Remote/electronic access to all library materials
- A more comfortable environment -- couches, coffee, and food all ranked highly
- "More staff who are helpful and who show you where stuff is" -- a direct quote
- Better marketing -- tell the public about what you've got going on!
- More choices in materials
- A movie screening room (this recommendation from an aspiring filmmaker, who was also the only panellist to indicate an interest in becoming a librarian)” [Pop Goes the Library]
A Timeline For Alzheimer's Treatment. HealthDay reports that "many of the professionals who attended the ninth international conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Philadelphia this past summer predicted a viable treatment within the next 10 years." Alzheimer's research has been a priority for the NIA since the early 1990s; in many ways, the current state of public and private funding mirrors the the fight against cancer that commenced in the 1970s. The big difference is that it may take half as long and a fraction of the cost to win this war - one of many benefits of modern medical technology. Advocates for healthy life extension would like to see the same powerful engines of science, funding and public opinion turned to aging and serious anti-aging research.
View the Article Under Discussion: http://www.healthday.com/view.cfm?id=523084
Read More Longevity Meme Commentary: http://www.longevitymeme.org/news/ [Longevity Meme News and Commentary]
Why Students Struggle When Pressure Is On. Psychologists are reporting that intense exam pressure is actually more likely to impair the performance of very good students than mediocre ones. By By BENEDICT CAREY. [NYT > Health]
How About Not 'Curing' Us, Some Autistics Are Pleading. A new program is rooted in the view of autism as an alternative form of brain wiring, rather than a devastating disorder. By By AMY HARMON. [NYT > Education]
On Laziness. On Laziness --"There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it."[From Quotes of the Day - The Quotations Page.] [Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Blog]
-- Mary Wilson Little
Beef N' Guinness. Shopping list:
4 pounds corned beef brisket
1 cup brown sugar
1 Guinness Draught in a bottle
1. Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC). Rinse the beef completely (in water, not Guinness) and pat dry. (Use paper towels, not your hands, Einstein.)
2. Place the brisket in a roasting pan. (If you don’t own one, buy the disposable kind at the supermarket.) Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat the entire beef, including the bottom. Pour the bottle of Guinness beer around and gently over the beef to moisten the sugar.
3. Cover with tin foil and place in preheated oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Wait 5 minutes before slicing.
Note: If you’re feeling very ambitious (and want to seem very Irish) you can add veggies right into the pan during the last hour of cook time. Add cabbage, small potatoes (you don’t have to peel them, just cut them up), onion, carrots, etc. You may need to add a little more beer with your vegetables. If you do this final step, reward yourself with another Guinness for being so fancy.
[What Do YOU Think? Comment on this Post!] [Testify!] [Father Dan]
Fun, isn't it? At Muhlenberg College, we have a Lucia Fest for the children of college employees every year (sponsored by a Swedish organization). Gotta love those hats! And we still haven't figured a good way to get the candle wax drips out of Lucia's hair!...
At 6:50 a.m., the sparkling-clean Wilczeks jumped back into bed and turned off the light. We were, of course, wearing our "dignified pajamas." (Since I'd had no time to buy new pajamas in Stockholm, we had put on our heaviest and still-unwrinkled long underwear.) Soon, we heard the Lucia knock at our door....
The Lucia singers were escorted by two ladies from the Grand Hotel's "guest services," so we didn't have to get up to unlock the door. Soft singing and candlelight slowly progressed into our darkened bedroom. The Lucia girl had a headdress with real lighted candles--her attendants all carried candles in their hands. (I later found out these were students from a local music college--their voices were lovely!)
The Lucia attendants wore tall pointy hats (the "star boys") or green wreaths with flowers ("maids of honor"). They sang "Santa Lucia" (in Swedish, that's pronounced "Loo-see-ah" rather than "Loo-chee-ah"), a bit more Swedish Christmas music, then slowly filed out singing "Santa Lucia" again.
David Gross told me later that one year a laureate was really surprised by this Swedish custom. The sleepy laureate woke up to melodious singing by handsome young blondes in long flowing robes and jumped to the conclusion he'd died and gone to heaven.
The Grand Hotel Lucia singers also brought us coffee, saffron buns, and a wrapped Lucia gift that turned out to be a ceramic Lucia. At the time, the coffee was much less exciting than their singing. Which, for coffee-addicts like Frank and me, suggests some kind of miracle.
Later, I saw the same singers down in the lobby and snapped a few photos. The singers are serious but the people they sing to are smiling from ear to ear--I know we were. [Betsy Devine: Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Peculiar?]
Red Thai Vegetable Curry. This week I purchased the ingredients for Red Thai Curry, a fantastic dish I was first introduced to at Bangkok Pavilion in my wonderful home of Kansas City. It has fantastic, varied texture, a medley of rose-tinted colors, and a scent sure to get any curry enthusiast's saliva glands working overtime. After returning from the grocery store with my bag of goodies, I wasted no time in preparing my meal. My shopping list included: 1 bag sticky sushi rice 1 can coconut milk Red Thai curry paste fresh basil leaves fresh anise leaves 1 green bell pepper 1 red onion 1 tomato 1 bag frozen peas lemon grass Total time from preparation to serving is about 45 minutes, so set aside at least an hour just in case there's an unforeseen complication. [kuro5hin.org]
He creates short-lived pieces, and few permanent works, out in the field, using the materials (leaves, driftwood, ice, pigments made from plant and minerals) at hand.
Some observations about why I think he's good at it:
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- He embraces Wabi Sabi.
He's not afraid of screwups.
In one scene in the film, he's building an elaborate, chaotic latticework out brambles and thorns. He talks about how he likes to build out to the edge of stability. The structure buckles and he tries to keep it together. It fails. Brambles fall, and he facepalms.
Earlier, we see him building His leaf pieces delight me. He will sort through fallen leaves on the forest floor, and cover a small puddle with a blanket of leaves in a color gradient, shading from purple, back to yellow.
In another construction, he organized a line of stones along the bottom of a shallow, fast moving stream. He sought out stones contrasting with the uniform grey and created a subtle line of color running below and perpendicular to the current.
Yep. Our national bout with post-traumatic stress syndrome (after 9/11) is having some very bad effects. What kind of cogitive therapy can we apply to ourselves en masse?
Is America Slipping Into Facism? You Decide.. I was wanting to read up on this and lo and behold - what shows up in my inbox? (Thanks Laura). I'm not going to add my editorial to this post - you read and see if you notice anything familiar.
In an essay coyly titled "Fascism Anyone?," Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, identifies social and political agendas common to fascist regimes. His comparisons of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet yielded this list of 14 "identifying characteristics of fascism." See how familiar they sound:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other wayor even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
6. Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes the media are directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media are indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14. Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
[What Do YOU Think? Comment on this Post!] [Testify!] [Father Dan]
"A heavy hand and a foot for pie crust". Pie crust was one of the few things my mother admitted she couldn't do. Old New Englanders called it "a heavy hand for pastry." She said that in her case, one foot must be heavy as well.
Harold McGee to the rescue! From today's New York Times:"The goal of pie crust is to create thin, even layers of fat and flour," he said. "That's what makes them flaky. But the usual method isn't really optimal for that."
Instead of using his fingers to rub globs of fat into flour, then dribbling in ice water, Mr. McGee starts with square chunks of cold butter and a pile of flour on a board. With a rolling pin he presses and rolls the butter into the flour, flattening it into thinner and thinner flakes. Occasionally he scrapes the mixture into a bowl and freezes it for five minutes, to keep the butter from melting. Since the gluten is not activated until the water is added, there is no worry about overworking the dough, even though the process can take some time.
Finally, to add the water Mr. McGee fetched a plant mister. "I always found it was hard to get the water evenly into the dough" he said. "So I measured how many sprays of the mister it takes to get half a cup of water — it's 150, by the way..."
McGee is promoting the new revised edition of his scientific cookbook, On Food and Cooking. I definitely want one!
In recent news, PR blogger and newlywed Steve Rubel says that 15 bloggers were hired to do "product placements" for various companies. FWIW, I'm not that kind of blogger. When I blog about books (or boots) it's for fun, not profit.
[Betsy Devine: Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Peculiar?]
Girl Is First to Survive Rabies Without a Shot. A critically ill Wisconsin teenager who was bitten by a bat recovered after being put into a drug-induced coma and being given antiviral drugs. By By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL. [NYT > Health]