Tuesday, October 30, 2007

quote of the day

From the latest of the seemingly interminable presidential debates, Joe Biden bitch-slaps Rudy Giuliani: "There are only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11."

first commission

Noro Cash Iroha, in burgundy
Rowan Tapestry, in lead mine

my 'hood in the news!

The Times this past weekend ran a fun article about my neighborhood. Thanks, Shanna!

Also, from Nate, Dick Cheney, seasoned hunter that he is, made waves (again) on the killing field. Best reaction so far? "Why isn't it surprising that Cheney's idea of recreation involves killing things?" Why, indeed.

Which segues sort of nicely into my preoccupation today - the reluctance that Giuliani, Thompson, Mukasey, and others continue to demonstrate against acknowledging that waterboarding is, in fact, a form of torture. I find it difficult to digest the fact that we as a nation, this great land of the free and home of the brave and defender of liberty and equality and justice and all these other grand and lofty ideals, are even having such a conversation, this splitting of hairs, this parsing of levels of pain. This is a national conversation that would have been impossible to imagine ten years ago, twenty years ago, even in the midst of all those airplanes being hijacked back in the 1980s, and it scares me that it has become this common, this easy, that it has become something for our leading presidential candidates to joke about.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

roasted rosemary cashews

Yesterday, gray and dreary, was brightened by having a few friends over for the afternoon. Much talking and munching and bonding with baby Helen, and a little knitting was done. Everyone brought wonderful goodies - homemade rice crispy treats, a baguette with delicious pumpkin butter, cheese & crackers, chocolate truffles, cinnamon flatbread, tomato soup topped with fresh mozzarella, homemade applesauce with vanilla ice cream, apple crisp, and roasted cashews, recipe courtesy of Mom:

1 1/4 pounds cashew nuts
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until they are warmed through. Meanwhile, combine the rosemary, pepper, sugar, salt and butter in a large bowl. Toss the warm nuts with the rosemary mixture until the nuts are completely coated. Serve warm.

I used a 9.5 ounce can of Fisher whole cashews, which are salty already, so didn't add the salt. Also, I ground up some dried rosemary with my mortar & pestle instead of using fresh rosemary. Roasted the cashews in a 9-inch square cake pan at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes because I forgot to set the timer. I think about 15 minutes would have been just about perfect. Melted the butter in the microwave, added the sugar rosemary pepper mixture, then tossed it with the cashews and served immediately. Scrumptious.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

suburbia, spring, 1994

our legal system at work

In the news today, a certain Legal Aid lawyer pleaded guilty yesterday to unlawful surveillance. And I knew this guy! He dated my best friend back in our senior year of high school. I thought he was a schmuck back then, and it turns out he's even sleazier now. Ick.

Also in the news today, Judge Sharon Keller of the Texas Court of Criminal Apeals is taking some serious flak for refusing to stop an execution last month. Her reason for allowing it to go forward? The defense team submitted the defendant's final appeal twenty minutes past five o'clock, closing time for this judge at least, due to computer problems.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

in the news

Japanese fashion designers have a new take on fighting street crime.

The New York Times has been running a bunch of stories recently about that other water problem due, perhaps, to global warming -- the lack there of. Trace, I hope Atlanta figures out a way to get out of this mess its in, or that maybe you and your wife head up north where the water is more plentiful and the politics more liberal.

Given all the fomenting lately about hate crimes (yet another noose made it into the news here in NY this week, this time sent to a public school principal), it seems particularly timely, whether you find it offensive or intriguing or something altogether different, that the rapper Nas is stirring up his own controversy over the title of his forthcoming album.

Along that same line, there was an interesting article in New York Magazine not too long ago about the over-abundance of political-correctness and how maybe we should all get a grip.

Quote of the Day, our illustrious leader, in a speech yesterday morning at the National Defense University:

"We're at war with coldblooded killers who despise freedom, reject tolerance, and kill the innocent in pursuit of their political vision ... And one of the real challenges we face is, will we have confidence in the liberty to be transformative? Will we lose faith in the universality of liberty? Will we ignore history and not realize that liberty has got the capacity to yield the peace we want? So this administration, along with many in our military, will continue to spread the hope of liberty, in order to defeat the ideology of darkness, the ideology of the terrorists -- and work to secure a future of peace for generations to come. That's our call."

Huh? This sounds like playground talk, or apocalyptic street-corner preaching, not serious policy analysis, and not worthy even of a mere presidential candidate, let alone someone who's been in office for almost two full terms.

Lastly, this from my dearest mama out in Anacortes, a quiz. Yay, a quiz! On how twisted our president is. And truly, folks, I'd heard some of these stories before, and some others are new to me, but it seems pretty clear. He's just a mean guy, straight up. And he thinks he has turn-the-other-cheek Jesus on his side??

Monday, October 22, 2007

out of the closet

I had my suspicions all along about that seemingly celibate dear old wizard, and now it's been officially confirmed. Actually, I honestly hadn't given it much thought one way or the other, but it pleased me none the less to see the other day that Dumbledore is, in fact, gay. Read about Rowling's wizardly outing here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

going home, 10.21.07

finally, first felted endeavor...

oh the wooliness!

Got back from an absolutely gorgeous weekend upstate with Cindy, John, and wee Helen. Great weather (if a little too hot for this time of year), scintillating conversation, and more beautiful yarn, adorable llamas, wooly sheep, pumpkins, and earth mothers than I have ever seen gathered in one place before. I didn't go completely overboard, just a little. Okay, maybe a little more than just a little, with seven gorgeous, luxurious skeins of yarn from various little places.

550 yards of 100% merino goodness in greens, purples, & blues from Briar Rose Fibers. 400 yards of superwash merino/nylon in bright orange from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. Two 420-yard skeins of an odd yet beautiful superwash merino/silk/viscose combo from Brooks Farm Yarns, one in cinnamonish shades, the other in shades of purple. One skein of 560 yards of lovely charcoal twist wool from Silver Moon Farm. And lastly, two skeins from the Great Adirondack Yarn Company, one 250-yard skein of superwash merino also in orange, the other 675 yards of beautiful soft merino/silk in shades of rose, green, and blue.

I am never, ever allowed to go to the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival again. Never. Ever. Again.

Friday, October 19, 2007

more news tidbits

I already knew I loved the beautiful city of brotherly love, but this just makes me love it all the more. Apparently the Boy Scouts organization has been paying the city of Philadelphia $1 a year to rent out a large downtown building since 1923. The city has decided that since the Scouts choose to continue their anti-gay discrimination, they are no longer entitled to this deal and must, as of next year, start paying market rate rent of $200,000 a year. The Supreme Court, back in 2000, declared that the Boy Scouts, being a private organization, I guess have a Constitutionally protected right to its bigotry, but it seems only fair that a private organization choosing to continue this bigotry should not have basically free access to taxpayer-owned property.

A Brooklyn woman a few days ago had what I can only imagine to be a truly horrifying experience. While washing her hands, she heard a noise coming from the toilet and looked over to see the head of what turned out to be a seven foot long python peering out at her. I know I'm a little gross sometimes, but of course the first thing that popped into my head was, given the hand washing and all, had she just, you know, urinated on the poor thing??

And from Cold Spring, New York, a man with a mission.

Barack Obama's response to the allegation that he and Dick Cheney are distantly related? "I don't want to be invited to the family hunting party."

Bush in action yesterday morning, mumbling and stumbling and fumbling his way through an explanation of his attitude towards Iran, his bizarre belief that Iran doesn't know how to make nuclear weapons yet instead of just not yet having the wherewithal to act on said knowledge, and his even more bizarre belief that he has any standing 'to continue to rally the world' to his way of thinking. It would really just be pathetic and sad, if he wasn't still occupying the Oval Office.

Far down on my list of what to read: Idaho Code, by Joan Opry. Tagline: where family therapy comes with a shovel and an alibi. Oh yeah.

New favorite thing: dark-chocolate covered Altoids

Thursday, October 18, 2007

in the news

Apparently Stephen Colbert's got some money to burn, and is maneuvering for a presidential run, at least in South Carolina, and at least in so far as someone trying to get on both the Democrat and the Republican primary ballots can be said to be running. Yes, I imagine this is all tongue-in-cheek. Can anyone tell me why it costs so much more to register as a Republican candidate?

On a more serious note, the House of Representatives is set to fail to override the presidential veto on providing health insurance for millions of American children. I know that my opinion, being a flaming liberal and all, is slightly biased against the president in general, but how do these Republicans (and, I believe, even a handful of Democrats) in the House justify this? Of all the things for the White House and its last supporters to draw a line in the sand about, why children's health care? $35 billion over the next 5 years is pocket change compared to other government expenditures, and would largely be funded by an increase in cigarette taxes, if I understand correctly, so why is Bush so against this? Of all the idiotic and nasty things he's done over the last seven years, this by far seems the most mean-spirited.

And in honor of Paul, the coolest marine biologist in the world, I mention this article on the truly fascinating discovery of a prehistoric clambake.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

baby llamas!

Cindy, Helen Rose, and I will be heading up to Rhinebeck this Saturday to wander amidst the crazy wonderful wooliness that, so I hear, is the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival. Oh yeah.

In other news, there's a fascinating article about the changing role of the Supreme Court in this week's Time Magazine and an eye-opening article about the army in last Sunday's New York Times that, in a weird way, makes me have a lot more faith in our military. And lastly, apparently Lynne Cheney is claiming that her husband is related to Barack Obama. Seriously. Then again, if I were married to Dick, I'd want to claim a connection to another man, too.

Product of the Day (and part of my current favorite website!): Spudware.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

story from brother nate

"funny story: last night shanna and i decided to get dinner from our local caribean food place. i ordered and it was $9. after the guy gave me the food, i hand the cashier a $10 bill and am waiting for my change. he's mostly behind a partition and i don't really see what he's doing. then he hands the bill back to me and tells me its no good. i ask "what do you mean, are you saying that this is fake?" yeah, he says, and shows me that he's marking it with a sharpie and the mark looks different on a real bill. to demonstrate he takes out another bill and marks it. it looks exactly the same to me. so, whatever, i think, i'll pay with a credit card. nope, the credit card machine isn't working. so, i look in the wallet - only 6 $1 bills. so i tell him i don't have enough other cash on me. then the guy says, 'do you live in the neighborhood? nearby?' i say yes, and then he says 'bring the money another time. bring the money tomorrow.'

so, they refused my $10 bill, but trusted me enough to have me leave without paying."

Follow up to Nate's story: He used the $10 bill at a different place the following day, no problem. I'm not sure if Nate has since dropped off the $3 balance.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

still life with afghan

helen with honeycomb afghan, picture stolen from cindy & john's flickr page

Friday, October 12, 2007

passion for learning

And I thought having to take 14 weeks of home economics in middle school (one 7-week session on baking, and another on sewing! Oh the heart pillows and brownies that were made!) was bad, but now, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, down in dear old Texas, is offering an academic concentration for the ladies: homemaking.

Also in the news, yet more strife here at Columbia. Between foreign dictators, offending nooses, and anti-Semitic slurs, campus seems to have gone just a little bit haywire these days.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

as if they need any more excuses...

Washington State's Supreme Court declared this week that a state law prohibiting politicians from lying about each other is unconstitutional. Read more here.

Also, Newsweek has an interesting article this week on the enigma that is Clarence Thomas, trying to figure out why someone who so clearly benefited from affirmative action might become so bitterly opposed to anyone else enjoying those same benefits.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

in the news

Open House New York!

The Angriest Justice

Mr. Potato Head in Ecstasy Bust

When I was up visiting Arielle last week she mentioned that a couple friends of hers had been involved in parking day, down here in the City the week before. I was confused at first, envisioning raunchy protest PDAs committed in broad daylight on these city streets or something. But no, PARK(ing) Day, as it turns out, is an attempt to "rethink the way streets are used, call attention to the need for urban parks, and improve the quality of urban human habitats." Originating, unsurprisingly enough, in San Francisco a few years back, this concept of (legally) taking over urban parking spaces and turning them into miniature gardens has spread all the way across this vast land and ended up here on the east coast in this veritable concrete oasis that is New York City. Pretty cool, eh? Read more here.

Quote of the day: "The fun thing about this stage in politics is that almost everything that's being written will be proven wrong." -Mitt Romney

Other quote of the day: "“If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women. It also makes the point, it is kind of embarrassing, the Democratic Party ought to be hanging its head in shame, that it has so much difficulty getting men to vote for it. I mean, you do see it’s the party of women and ‘We’ll pay for health care and tuition and day care -- and here, what else can we give you, soccer moms?’” - Ann Coulter

Picture of the day: ecstatic Milford

Thursday, October 04, 2007

talk of the town

This week's New Yorker, already graced with the best cover ever, also has an entertaining tidbit on the Isiah Thomas trial.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

anita hill on clarence thomas

Appropriately enough, in the context of the jury's findings against Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden, Anita Hill today has an op-ed piece in the Times responding to Clarence Thomas's just-published memoir.

Clarence Thomas, back in 1991 during his nomination hearings, accused Congress of conducting a 'lynching' against him. This would have made more sense to me had Anita Hill been a white woman accusing him of inappropriate behavior, I guess. But the fact is that she was, is, African American. This would also have made more sense to me, or at least been somewhat more justified, were Thomas a man who supported affirmative action. But he is an adamant opponent of affirmative action, voting against it again and again. And yet here he was flinging around racially charged phrases, turning a Congressional committee into a lynch mob, in order to avoid having to answer awkward and embarrassing questions. As he so eloquently put it, "
...as far as I'm concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the US Senate rather than hung from a tree." So, according to one of our Supreme Court justices, a woman speaking out against a sexist boss is instigating a lynching. I found him to be disgusting back in 1991, and he seems even more so now, at least in as much of his recent 60 Minutes interview as I could stomach in one sitting. I guess some things never change.

So I am glad that the jury sitting in judgment of Isiah Thomas this week decided that perhaps a woman should be able to accuse a man of mistreating her, to accuse an entire establishment of mistreating her, and not be strung up and lynched for it, figuratively speaking.

best new yorker cover ever

Monday, October 01, 2007

tastes like fall

Got back yesterday from a beautiful weekend upstate. Fell hard for a beautiful tiny baby girl, watched the sun set over a farm after gathering tomatoes, basil, ground cherries, hot peppers, sweet peppers, and sorrel. Spent hours cooking, sipping wine, playing with the cats, crazy Kali & kamikaze Crash, and as always, talking, talking, talking with Ari (only somewhat disagreeing about the follow-up prosecution of the child bride's husband, in the wake of Warren Jeffs' extremely satisfying conviction last week).

This visit's menu, spread over two days

Tomato soup: chop an onion and a bunch of garlic and saute in butter or olive oil with some cayenne or other hot pepper (Ari harvests, dries, and grinds her own hot peppers, tasty but you don't quite know what you're getting); chop up a whole bunch of tomatoes very coarsely (this is a very chunky soup), add with juices to the onions & garlic and let simmer; add a bullion cube (we used a Rapunzel vegan cube); add water if too thick; coarsely chop some fresh basil and toss that in; season with salt & pepper to taste; serve with rosemary kalamata bread, local cheddar cheese, and dry salami.

turnips: wash, cube, roast at 425 degrees, stirring occasionally, until crispy, in a little olive oil & butter, sprinkled with fresh ground pepper and garlic salt

squash mash: one acorn squash, halved, roasted cut side down with a little bit of water at 425 degrees until very soft, then seeded, smashed, mixed with a tablespoon of butter, a dash of nutmeg, and a bit of maple honey

apple sauce: core and dice a bunch of apples (one mixed bag's worth at yet another local farm stand), peeling some of them and leaving on some skins; toss in a pot and pour in some apple cider; add a bunch of cinnamon, a little nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, and some brown sugar (I also used some buckwheat honey); let simmer for a long time, an hour or so maybe, stirring occasionally, adding more cider if too thick; when apples are good and soft, mash 'em up a little with a wooden spoon; serve. This is delicious served warm over plain boring old vanilla ice cream.

ground cherry pie: mix together in a large bowl 4 cups husked ground cherries, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons small-pearl tapioca (soaked in hot water for 1/2 hour), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind; pour into pre-made pie crust (yes, we cheated, but damn it was good), dot filling with butter; cover with a second pre-made pie crust, bake at 400-degrees for 4 minutes, lower temperature to 350 for 40-50 minutes or until top crust is golden.

on the farm