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Archive for January, 2008

New blogs…

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

~Confucius

A few changes in the works…

I have decided to create a second blog for recipes and other kitchen “stuff”.  I just couldn’t figure out how to nicely organize recipes with the other things on this blog so separating them seemed to be the thing to do.  The new blog can be found at http://kitchencaboodle.wordpress.com, The Whole Kitchen Caboodle.  Yes, clever, isn’t it? 

As a result of this, I’m linking all of my favorite food blogs from that site.  I’m also moving any recipes here to that site so if you’ve bookmarked, change it. 

It seems the blog bug is spreading through our household.  Check out Hubby’s photo blog at http://mirrorflaps.blogspot.com, also on my blog roll.  He takes some mean photos.  There’s even one of me over there, probably my favorite photo of me ever.  Well… since turning 8 years old, at least.   

I like playing with a camera too but Hubby will often help me with photos for the food blog.  You may see some repetition between the blogs from time to time. 

Fun times. 

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Don’t Drop the Soap

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I’m not sure what words to put around this, so I’ll just drop it in your lap and let you come up with your own. 

Don’t Drop the Soap

“…slip glass into a mob boss’ lasagna in the Cafeteria, steal painkillers from the nurse’s desk in the Infirmary, avoid being cornered by the Aryans in the Shower Room…”

I don’t know about you but ‘what the f#&$?’ are three words that come to my mind. 

This board game is the mind genius of the 23-year-old son of the Kansas governor and a U.S. magistrate judge.  His parents are reportedly “very proud of their son John’s creativity and talent”. 

The son has never spent time in prison himself, in case you were wondering. 

Okay, the Soap Dish Parole Card Holder was a little bit clever.  And yes, I do love that one of the characters is named ‘Anferny’. 

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But doesn’t this all seem a little … well … wrong?  I mean besides the fact that the son of two very well known and reputable citizens was the brainchild behind a game based in a prison yard.  And besides the fact that it looks like a 4-year-old drew it (oh sorry, am I mistaking ‘creativity’ for poor drawing?).  And besides the stereotypical wheelchair-bound hippy, mob boss, and big african american dude with gold jewellry the size of the sun. 

Doesn’t this feel like a little bit of a slap aimed at mommy and daddy?  Just a little bit?  I’m thinking that if mommy and daddy worked at the local Slurp ‘n Gulp then this would all feel a little different, wouldn’t it?  But they don’t.  They are a governor and a judge and their son has designed a game where not smoking your entire stash in The Hole is a good thing and one of the pitfalls is being done up the butt by Aryans! 

Maybe it’s just me. 

I’ll take the shoe, Marvin Gardens, and Luxury Tax any day. 

Oh, and this isn’t suitable for children, in case you were debating on buying this for little Suzie’s next sleepover. 

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Last night during our usual faceoff between Young and the Restless and Holmes on Holmes, Oprah came on. 

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Last night’s show was the beginning of a campaign to get people to stop smoking.  She was even going to have that Oprah-made-famous doctor on the show that always goes for the extreme shock factor.  You know, the knife-in-the-gut facts that are devastating enough to ensure your children’s children aren’t going to do whatever it is he is telling you not to do this time. 

Not being a disciple of Oprah, that is all I saw while reaching for the remote. 

I think it would be very interesting indeed to do a social study on how many of Oprah’s followers quit smoking just because she is now telling them to.  As interesting would be to know how many of her followers choose nicotine instead. 

Oh, because it’s on. 

Oprah vs. Nicotine. 

“Will the nicotine-dependent choose their chemical dependence or their dependence on their leader’s guidance?  Watch Addiction Showdown, 2007. 9 o’clock, 10 o’clock eastern.” 

All joking aside, I do realize this has to be a good thing.  As sheepish as I find it (not ‘shy’ sheepish, ‘follower’ sheepish), if even a dozen of the Oprah-ites stop smoking it is a good thing.  Yes, as crazy as I find it that millions of people hang off of the words of this one woman, she does do good things with her money. 

Is there any doubt now that whatever her cause-du-jour is, she’ll make a difference?  I can just see her and the producers now, sitting in her office, atop a kazillion-dollar pile of money, saying, “Okay, what evil do we want to tackle today?  Smokers – Check!  Trans fats – Check!  Sally Jesse Raphael – Check!  So what now … uhhh, Rosie O’Donnell?”. 

<Sigh>… oh, people are sheep. 

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Well, I am very happy to say that I have quit smoking (did you notice the italics there?  Did ya?).  It wasn’t because of or for a slack-jawed, drooling loyalty to some talk show host either. 

You hear that Ricki Lake?  I did it for me! 

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Is this thing on?

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I recently became Chairman… er, Chairwoman… dangit, Chairperson of the Board of the Florenceville Curling Club. 

Whatever we decide to call the position, I’m it.  It’s a little daunting for a few reasons. 

The club is old and really needs renovations.  The kitchen needs overhauled and the bathrooms need updating.  We’re even talking about laying a cement floor under the ice this summer.  All of this means a lot of change and a lot of decisions to be made, not to mention the amount of money it will cost to bring the club into the 21st century. 

Whatever.  None of that bothers me.  I’m good at organizing and good at bringing people together at meetings.  I don’t even get a vote at the Board meetings unless there is a tie so it’s not like a disaster will only fall on my shoulders.  And I certainly will not have problems telling someone to shut up for the sake of moving a meeting along. 

No, the most daunting aspect of this job… the one aspect that puts fear into me like nothing else can…

Public speaking. 

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Hey, I hear ya buddy.  Oh my god, I hate public speaking.  I hate it and I suck at it.  I suck hard.  I feel like every audience I have ever stood in front of has chewed me up and spit me out without them even knowing it. 

So why, every time, do I tell myself that it’s going to be okay?  Every time a reason comes up for me to speak in public, I think, “No problem!  I can do this!  This time I’ll be confident and charming and I’ll walk away wondering why I was so worried all these years.  People will come up to me and tell me how envious they are of my orating skills and asking me to speak at their function.”. 

But no, it has never happened that way and I’m convinced it will never happen that way. 

I can talk a blue streak when it’s just you and me sitting down for a chat but the words just don’t flow when there are dozens of people looking me in the face.  And I don’t know what the jackass was thinking when he said to picture people naked.  What is that?  You know my eyes are going to inevitably go to the 500-pound man in the too-short tie, sweat stain, and gym pants ensemble in the third row and that’s supposed to help me?

So I make a list, a list in bullet form, and I think to myself, “I’ll just jot down the main points in this lovely little bullet-form list and then I will improvise on them when I’m speaking”. 

As I jot down my bullets and begin developing a structure for what I want to say, I start jotting down words around the main points; the next level of bullets.  For example if the bullet is ‘fruit’, I jot down the fruit that I want to mention… like orange or banana or that guy in the Special K commercials.  You know the one:   

Oh come on … you know you’ve thought it.   

Then a really bitchin’ adjective comes to mind to describe that word; one I think will make me seem suave or clever or at least partially educated and I think, “Well, I can’t forget that”, so I write down that word too.  You know, like ‘succulent’ beside orange or ‘phallic’ beside banana. 

I congratulate myself.  “Phew … I’ve got this covered.  Piece of cake”. 

The day arrives.  The moment gets closer.  And then finally, my name is announced.  I manage to not trip as I walk to the front of the room (usually).  My mouth gets really dry.  God, is it even possible for a person’s cheeks to feel this flushed?!  I begin to speak and … whose voice is that?  Surely that wavering, scratchy voice can’t be mine!  Speak normally, damnit!  Okay, I’m ready. 

I look at my list: my anchor, my saviour, my bullet-form knight in shining armor!  And I begin to speak …

“Ladies and gentlemen… who doesn’t love cockulent oranges and all types of phallus bananas … er, I mean phalluses … er, I mean bananas”. 

And as the cricket chirps echo off the walls and into the silent room, I think “Why in hell am I talking about fruit in a curling club anyway?” and then I realize:  I’ve mistakenly brought the speech for my nymphomaniac’s anonymous meeting on Tuesday. 

D’oh! 

No, really.  I have a lot of respect for people (like my blog friend Laurie who has a career in broadcasting – check her out) that can just rattle on.  She gets paid to sit and talk for hours!  It boggles my mind!  It is admittedly a question of confidence in my case.  I am afraid of using a word out of context or pronouncing something wrong or trying to sound so smart that I end up sounding more stupid than I really am (no, I’m not that type, but everybody knows one). 

So here I sit, wondering what in the world I’m going to say to a hundred people on Saturday.  I guess I better start my list.  This time I’ll be confident and charming…

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Got MLIK?

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FDA Declares Cloned Meat, Milk Safe 

First of all, let’s forget that I don’t eat meat, ok?  I do eat dairy products so this does affect me. 

One word comes to mind when I think about animal cloning. 

WHY? 

What pressing reason is there to clone a cow?  I haven’t caught wind of the cattle shortage that must be sweeping the world.  Did the farm animal’s union go on a no-sex strike?  Surely something has happened to threaten beef and dairy markets to the point where we need to clone cows to keep up with demand.  I must have missed something.  Boy… I really should check CNN more often. 

No, this isn’t about producing better beef or better milk, no matter what is said.  At the end of the day, a steak is still red meat with all of its fat and heart-stopping red meat characteristics.  Let’s face it… it’s about the “bigger, better, faster” mentality that saturates North American culture.  It’s about the bottom line:  Farmers get more money for semen/beef/milk/offspring when it comes from a cow that is a champion.  You clone that champion, you get champion junior. 

But it’s also about proving that we can do something, isn’t it?  I admit, I don’t keep up with the farm animal union like I should but the last time I tuned in, Bossy had no trouble at all mounting Bessie and Porky was still into Petunia.  No, it’s about a theory that something could be done and a driving, irresistable urge to prove that we can do it.  I suppose that’s science in general, isn’t it? 

Is there more to it than that?  Am I missing something?  Is producing beef that is a little bit better going to help the world in some way that I don’t know about?  Is a champion steak or pork chop going to make it any better for you?  Prevent cancer?  Promote world peace?  Make us stop giving celebrity couples disgusting, fused names like ‘Brangelina’? 

Really… am I missing something? 

While I certainly do not agree with many of the conditions that animals are housed in or many of the practices that are used while raising them, my vegetarian lifestyle has never been about saving a cow from being butchered.  It just isn’t.  This bothers me though: 

Clones are more likely to die in utero or shortly after birth and to have birth defects. They also pose a risk to their surrogates because they tend to be larger than their naturally conceived counterparts.

I am reading this to mean that, more often than not, cloned animals will die before birth or be born with birth defects.  They know this.  So what happens to these animals (she asks, knowing the answer)?  So every time we see a cloned animal in the news there are probably many others that ‘didn’t make it’ or had to be put down because of defects? 

I know, I know… birth defects and in-utero deaths happen with normal animals too.  Sure.  Shit happens.  But isn’t there something wrong with continuing a practice that guarantees a less than 50% success rate?  Would they perform breast augmentation surgery if more than half of women came out with ugly, misshapen breasts?  Would they continue doing vasectomies if they knew that there was a better than 50% chance that you’d never get an erection again?  Okay, so I’ll admit that the comparisons are not exactly the same but considering that both of those are practices as unnecessary (in most cases) as cloning seems to be, I don’t think I’m reaching too far. 

I do know that if the products of cloned animals are going to be put on the shelves at my grocery store, I damn well want to know about it.  I am beginning to have a much keener interest in the origin of my food and I think this is a growing trend as people lean toward being healthier.  That they would think this requires no special labelling just floors me, especially knowing, as the article points out, that as little as 46% of people would approve of animal cloning if the FDA approved the products.  That’s less than half of the population (although up from 22%, which adds up to a good amount of faith in the FDA)!  People should have the choice … it should be up to us to decide whether or not we want to buy products of cloned animals, not up to the government. 

I don’t know.  Maybe I am a little too soft-hearted toward animals.  Maybe I am too ‘old school’ because I think reproduction should involve a good, old-fashioned penis and vagina (and a good glass of wine, but that’s a human thing).  That tweezers are for plucking eyebrows or pulling out splinters and not for poking strands of DNA into an egg.   

I’m sure there are aspects of this that I don’t know about but it all just seems wrong to me.  Until someone can convince me, my “yuck factor” is off the charts and I just can’t ignore it. 

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Mr. Bacon vs. Mr. Tofu

I think you’re dead inside if you don’t find this at least slightly amusing! 

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Look at that skinny bacon… there’s nothing to him! 

I think there’s little question as to who the ultimate fighter is in this case! 

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Wired sponsored an article yesterday, highlighting photographer Taryn Simon’s new book An American Index of the Hidden and UnfamiliarThe article shows eleven of the book’s images

The difference between this and any regular photo collection is that these were photographs taken of some of the most restricted, most top-secret places in the world:  White tigers suffering from mental retardation due to inbreeding; a nuclear waste storage facility; the contraband room at New York’s JFK airport (above), full of food seized from passengers. 

This is interesting stuff that I originally came across on Serious Eats.  I thought you would agree. 

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