11 January 2011

Jon Stewart's take on the Gifford's shooting.

Picture from buddytv.com.

It’s hard to know what to say. Obviously the events this weekend in Arizona way heavily. Sadly it is a feeling that this country has experienced all too often and unfortunately for this show the closer we have gotten towards discussing and dealing with current events the harder it becomes in situations where reality is truly sad. I can give you a typical example of the day’s news excesses but it doesn’t really seem appropriate and clearly none of our correspondents feels like standing around reporting (with air quotes), pretending to be in Washington…at least I don’t think they do…Oliver?

(John Oliver, a British “correspondent” is shown in front of a green screen image of the Capital building, wearing pink pajamas with hugging panda bears) Yeah, no…you’re absolutely right, Jon. Yeah, no one wants to do this. No one. No one wants to do this so…can I go?

Before you go [What?] is there a reason you’re in your panda pajamas?

Is not the bigger question: is there a reason that you are not, Jon? ‘Cause I’ll tell you why I’m in my panda pajamas. Can we remove the Washington, D.C. picture, Chuck? (the image is replaced with one of a bedroom, complete with Wham! poster and a portrait of the Queen) I’m in my childhood bedroom, Jon, where I’ve been rocking back and forth wondering why the country I’ve come to love so much finds itself struggling with these terribly violent tragedies.

Well, that certainly explains why you’re in Washington (meant to be “pajamas” I believe)although I still can’t really understand why it explains why you have on [b][i]adult[/i][/b] panda pajamas because…

Well, that’s a stupid question, Jon, because children’s panda pajamas would look absolutely ridiculous on me. They’d be too small.

(mumbled) What are you gonna do? (back to normal) So here we are again stunned by tragedy. We have been visited by this demon before. Our hearts go out to those that have been injured or killed and their loved ones. How do you make sense of these types of senseless situations is really the question that seems to be on everybody’s mind and I don’t know that there is a way to make sense of this sort of thing. As I watched the political pundit world, many are reflecting and grieving and trying to figure things out, but it’s definitely true that others are working feverishly to find the tidbit or two that will exonerate their side from blame or implicate the other and watching that is as predictable as it is dispiriting. Did the toxic political environment cause this? A graphic image here, an ill-timed comment, violent rhetoric, those types of things? I have no f****** idea. You know, we live in a complex ecosystem of influences and motivations and I wouldn’t blame out political rhetoric anymore than I would blame heavy metal music for Columbine. And by the way that is coming from someone who truly hates our political environment. It is toxic, it is unproductive, but to say that that is what has caused this or that the people in that are responsible for this I just don’t think you can do. Boy would that be nice. Boy would it be nice to be able to draw a straight line of causation from this horror to something tangible because then we could convince ourselves that if we just stop this (the “something tangible”) then the horrors will end. You know, to have the feeling, however fleeting, that this kind of event can be prevented, forever. But it’s hard to feel like it can’t. You know, you cannot outsmart crazy. You do not know what a troubled mind will get caught on. Crazy always seems to find a way, it always has. Which is not to suggest that resistance is futile. I mean it sounded pretty dark what I just said there, now that I reconsidered it in my own head. [i]Crazy people rule us all![/i] I don’t think that’s true, but.. and I do think it’s important for us to watch our rhetoric. But I do think it’s a worthwhile goal not to conflate our political opponents with [i]enemies[/i] if for no other reason than to draw a better draw a line between the manifestos of madmen and what passes for acceptable political and pundit speak. It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn't in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV. Let's at least make troubled individuals easier to spot. And again, to see good people like this hurt, it is so grievous and it causes me such sadness but again I refuse to give in to that feeling of despair. There [i]is[/i] light in this situation. I urge everyone, read up about those who where hurt and or killed in this shooting. You will be comforted by just how much anonymous goodness there really is in this world. You read about these people and you realize that all these people that you don’t even know, that you have never met are leading lives of real dignity and goodness. You hear about crazy but it rarer than you think. I think you’ll find yourself even more impressed with Congresswoman Giffords and amazed at how much living some of the deceased packed into lives that were cut way too short. If there is real solace in this I think it’s that for all of the hyperbole and vitriol that’s become a part of our political process when the reality of all that rhetoric, when actions match the disturbing nature of words, we haven’t lost our capacity to be horrified. Please let us hope we never do, let us hope we never become numb to what real horror, what the real blood of patriots looks like when it’s spilled. Maybe it helps us to remember to match reality to our rhetoric more often because the reality of dangerous rhetoric ,I think, is even those that speak hyperbolically, I think that all of them tonight would absolutely recoil and say, “Wow, that is not the picture of what we were discussing and what we were talking about and I have to remember that there is a reality to that situation that we can’t approach verbally.” Because someone or something will shatter our world again and wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t take this opportunity and the loss of these incredible people and the pain that their loved ones are going through right now…wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t take that moment to make sure that the world that we are creating now that will ultimately be shattered by a moment of lunacy…wouldn’t it be a shame if that world wasn’t better than the one we’d previously lost? So, how will we process this tonight? Absolutely no idea. We’ll come back, I’ll show a field piece about something incredibly stupid and silly, Denis Leary will come out here, he and I will most likely insult each other playfully, and then tomorrow, you know, we go back to what we normally try to do, which is highlight absurdity in a comical way which is a catharsis for people and not a sadness. So, thank you for listening. I know this is probably more helpful for me than it is for you, but we’ll be right back.

Video here.

18 December 2010

The mile-high blog....

On a plane listening to "Short Shorts" by Royal Teens (via XM radio) and using the holiday free Wi-Fi. Oh how far technology has come.

My airport (Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson) experience was not horrible. Security took less then ten minutes even with an "incident". Someone shouted what sounded like, "BREACH!" and then the TSA agent at my station shouted for everyone by the conveyor belt to back away from their bags and for everyone to stand still. Moments later a lady said something (we were in a sort of side bit so there was a wall between us and her) about how their was an incident and then some other stuff I couldn't make out. I had a heavy coat and two scarves along with my Awesome (or is this the Fantastic?) Hat along with a net book in my tote and my heavy carry on. In the old days I wouldn't have to be bothered with anything other than my purse and maybe a laptop bag but now it costs to check baggage so carry on it is...not that this would be a problem if I wasn't laden with things for my nephews and niece (including a ginger bread village kit and M&Ms which I could have bought there). But I managed to make it to my gate more than an hour before boarding.

My pilots are "Captain Morgan and First Officer Daniels." I'm not sure if I should take my (hilarious) head Flight Attendant seriously in this manner. She did tell us you can't story your purse (she doesn't care if it's Fendi, Prada, Dolce and Gabana, Louis Vuitton, or something you bought at Wal*Mart) on your husband's head and I'm pretty sure that TSA regulations specifically allow this.

02 December 2010

Are you sure that's safe to eat?

Since I'm always going on about my baking I thought I'd take a moment to talk about my cooking, even though it almost always goes smoothly.


Farfalle Con Piselli

Rosemary Potatoes

I made these two together from a recipe I found somewhere ages ago (I wish I could rememberwhere). The pasta is farfalle (bow tie) in a cream sauce (cook chopped onion and finely chopped garlic in a bit of olive oil; add peas, salt, pepper, and cream; bring to boil then remove from heat) and the potatoes are just fried in olive oil with rosemary. When I made this particular batch I found that my onions went bad, so I used some dried onions and added them right before the peas and cream.


Chicken tenderloin curry and coconut milk over spinach and rice.

I started out with another idea all together, but it evolved into awesomeness. I took the chicken tenderloin and cut it in to little nuggets and then soaked them in a little bit of lime juice. After I put the chicken in the fridge I put a bit of flour into a bowl and went searching for some spices. I picked out some ground garlic, onion powder, and ground cayenne pepper when I spotted the curry powder. Everybody loves curry! I added all of these things with salt and a bit of pepper to the flour and got the chicken out of the fridge and proceeded to toss the chicken in the flour mixture. I fried this in a large skillet and when that was done I turned down the heat and added the leftover flour (there wasn't more than 1/2 a cup) to the oil and chicken. It didn't turn out quite like I thought it would so I grabbed a can of coconut cream from the pantry (it comes in handy that we keep a lot of Asian canned goods, even if we rarely use them) and added it to the mix. I then added the cooked rice so that it could soak up the flavors and whatnot. I then began to realize that I needed some sort of vegetable to serve with this (since my original plan to serve green beans wasn't really going to work anymore) and found the spinach in the fridge.


This dinner I forgot to take pictures of until after we'd eaten. The meat is a beef roast. I cut a slit in the top and put in some garlic cloves, drizzled some olive oil in the slit and over the top, and I put it directly on the oven rack with the pan underneath. The broccoli was steamed and covered with a cheese sauce.

25 November 2010

I love turkey...on Thanksgiving!

Hopefully I'll have turkey pictures later.

Happy Thanksgiving.

23 November 2010

I would like you to dance!

Another year, another birthday.

You can see the tooth pick I used to test the done-ness of the cake and the plate for the pumpkin cookies I baked.

Continuing in the tradition of buying/baking my own cake I have made a Duncan Hines® Butter Recipe Golden Cake to enjoy with my mother this morning (I've decided I'm going to have a birthday breakfast with her since I'm going out with friends tonight).

You might think that this would be a simple task, baking a cake (from a box) and decorating it, but then again...this is me we're typing about, so there's bound to be some small (or huge) disaster for every supposedly "simple" task. The disaster here is truly one of impatience. The baking itself goes perfectly but when I get done I try to take the cake out of the pan immediately so that I can start frosting. I cover the pan with a baking sheet (we don't have a serving tray or anything else large enough) and flip it over and of course it doesn't slide out all easy like (I greased/floured it!). A patient person would wait and come back to the task but I am not a patient person. (At a very young age, in a doctor's office, I proclaimed, "I am not a patient patient.") I take the spatula and go round the edges and try again. Fail. But do I wait? Of course...not. I take the spatula a bit more aggressively and try again. Nope. So I try aga--crap. The cake fell apart. Most of it is on the baking sheet, but some is still in the pan and at this moment I have come to point where one (the "one" in this case being me) either cries, laughs, or humorlessly tries to repair the damage. I chose the latter and smooshed the other bits (because it didn't come off in one chunk, but in four pieces) back onto the cake and move on to frosting.

For the frosting I whipped up some cream with some Hershey's Coco Powder and the whipping went off without a hitch (unless you count the nose/mouthful of rather not so tasty unsweetened coco powder). Perhaps you are already ahead of me here because you, unlike me, realize that whipped cream and a warm, maybe even hot, cake don't really work well together. It's like a session of Congress: maybe it starts off okay but in the end it sort of starts to heat up and then sort of slides down ... cake. (My mother is always telling me I rush too much and need to slow down...I'm beginning to concede the point.) Luckily I realized the stupidity of my rush and stuck the mostly frosted cake and the remainder of the whipped cream in the fridge. A little bit ago I went to finish the job and then I used Wilton's lilac tube frosting to poorly execute cake decoration. There really isn't much of a story there; I've never tried to decorate a cake. I did think that the little decorating tips that just screw on the tube of icing were really neat and in time I'm sure I'll suck a little bit less.

I made a white cake (from scratch) to enjoy with my friends this evening (after wings at Buffalo Wild Wings®) but, sadly, "in time" wasn't tonight.

The mix.

The cake in the oven.

My failure to write on cakes strikes again, but it's a reference to The Beatles.

Today is also my cousin's birthday so in that spirit (and because I'll use any excuse I can to bring up The Beatles):

20 November 2010

Bardic Immunity!

"Well, I was too brave to spare the elderly."

So, I love Dead Gentlemen Productions. Does this make me a geek? Probably, but they're funny. My friend and I stumbled upon JourneyQuest on Hulu; it was listed as a recently added show and we were looking for something to watch. Who can resist with a description like this:

Following a group of dysfunctional adventurers on a quest to discover and destroy the mythical Sword of Fighting, JourneyQuest is a comedic adventure through the fantasy world of Fartherall, where intellectual orcs, incompetent wizards, and holy zombies form the living (and not-so-living) backdrop to an epic story of unrequited love, burning passions, and severely reluctant heroism. And running away. Lots of running away.

"Yeah...about that...I'm not sure you had to kill all those orcs."


On You Tube:

Or Hulu:

Bonus link: a punctuation personality quiz. I'm mostly semi-colon, a bit of a comma, slightly period, and a slight (semi?) colon. Semi-colons are the most romantic punctuation when you think about it (which is why I want nerdgoddess' semi-colon earrings).

09 November 2010

Is she...in the kitchen?

I like to cook. I don't really like recipes or measuring things, but I like to cook.

I've been trying to cook once a week and you might think I have some horrible disaster story to tell here. Well, I don't. So there. Baking may be another story.
Pumpkin Cookies
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Shortening
  • 1 cup Pumpkin (from a can)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Raisins
Cream the sugar and shortening. Add pumpkin and mix. Add egg and mix. Add flour and mix. Add dry ingredients and raisins and mix.

Bake 12-14 at 375 degrees.

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 tsp Milk
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
Heat brown sugar, milk, and butter over low heat until dissolved. Let cool and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Add milk if needed.

First of all I had the bright idea of making two batches at once. Did this have an effect on how well/badly the baking was going to turn out? Maybe not, but it did have an effect on how long the process took.

Cream the shortening and sugar? What does that mean? Do I know such terms? No. Well, I use my common sense and I figure it must mean to mix it until it cream like in texture. It never gets that way because it just sort of gathers in the mixer blades so I move on and add the pumpkin (which I later, as in after I was done baking, realize was too much) and begin mixing. The goal of mixing is to make all the ingredients go together and be all harmonious, but does that happen for me? No, the pumpkin begins flying everywhere. I try to control this by smashing then mixing, smashing then mixing, etc. When this sort of works I then move on and add the eggs (I love the way eggs mix into baking stuffs), then the dry stuffs and raisins and more dough flies around the kitchen. It's important that you also know that my mother didn't have actual measuring equipment (just one measuring cup) so I have to trust that the small spoons actually hold a teaspoon.

When I'm done mixing I end up with a very fluffy, cake/scone-y dough, but I trust that I've followed the recipe (apparently I didn't know who I was dealing with) so I begin trying to scoop the dough onto the cookie sheets. I cannot describe the mess because I think I've blocked it from my memory. Wait...having flashbacks ... there was goo all over my hands ... it wouldn't come off ... the mess ... IT'S EVERYWHERE. (I never said I wasn't melodramatic.)

So I put the soon-to-be-cookies into the oven and work on the next sheet. When the timer goes off I pull the cookies out and then put in the next sheet...repeat six more times. SO MANY COOKIES! Sometime in the midst of all this I start to make the icing...but we don't have real butter, just margarine. Working with what I have I begin to make it and then work on putting it on the cookies. It's sticky and smells too sweet and too much like dreaded... syrup! I'm working with syrup (practically). I hate all types of syrup, caramel, and similar sticky pseudo-liquid substances. They are horrible because not only do they look and feel sticky but they SMELL sticky which means that even if I'm not looking or touching the stuff I'm still assaulted by STICKY! Can't...escape...the sticky.... Ick.

I also have the added problem of the cookies being more scone-like than cookie-like (after letting them cool) so I'm somewhat panicked. At this point maybe I should let you in on a key factor in my panic. The reason I'm baking these cookies is so that my mother can take them with her to work. Apparently everyone else is bringing in baked goods and so my mother wants me to make something for her to bring. I felt a bit like a mom baking for her child's class, but instead of a bunch of kids I'm baking for adults who know...well...how to bake. I can't really turn back so I try baking them a bit longer to no avail.

I'm stuck sending my mother to work with soggy cookies.

To make me feel even worse my mother's husband comes and tries a cookie and seems to be thinking (in Vietnamese, I'm sure), "These cookies are too moist," but I pack all of the cookies into a large container (there where a lot of cookies) for my mother to take to work and then I collapse in my bed. When I wake up the next morning I go into the kitchen to see that she hasn't taken the bin of cookies so I call her. She didn't know she was supposed to take them all, even though I was only baking them to take to work. We talk for a bit and I mention the softness.

They're supposed to be soft.

Luckily my second attempt turned out better.

02 November 2010

The attack of the mid-terms.

I could sit here and try to think of a clever, long-winded way to say this, but for once I am going to be short.

Politicians make me physically ill.

31 October 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Tonight I gave out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. I had my laptop and iPhone on the porch with me so one of the dads commented that I was a high tech witch. I took that to heart and when I went to get a jacket (I was originally going to throw on my black sweater) I grabbed my pinstriped blazer. For Halloween I was a business witch. Or Sandra Bullock's character from The Proposal.

I scared two girls today without even trying. The first while I was typing an email. She came around the corner and stopped short. Apparently she didn't expect to see anyone on the porch. Her friends got a kick out of that as did mine. "Have you seen you write an email?" "Really? were they afraid of technology?" While that would have been awesome, as she was Cleopatra, it wasn't the case. The second one ran right up to the porch without paying attention and didn't even notice me until she was close to bumping into me. When she did see me she jumped and let out a yelp. Far more satisfying.

Watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown before it's gone (hulu does that sort of thing).