Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Various & Sundry: in which quite a few people make very good points

Hello! I'm back. And we have much to discuss. But at the moment, here's a few odds and endy things I wanted to share.

What do you say to a person who asks if suicide is a legitimate option for someone "who genuinely is tired and doesn't want to continue"? I thought this was a terrific answer.

I've never really thought much one way or the other about Libertarianism, but Lance Mannion sure has and has the rant to prove it. "You don’t have to believe in no government," he writes, "but if you aren’t at least trying to take yourself off the grid and off the dole, then I’ve got to conclude that your professed libertarianism is just a high-fallutin’, long-winded, and, usually, very boring way to complain about your taxes." He may have a point.

I've started following the blog Our Valued Customers which reports on snippets of conversation from a comic book store.
He may have a point, too.

Ta-nehisi Coates also has a mighty good rant going with his post on The Selective Amnesia of Post-War Europe, which is not quite the stuck-in-the-past post you might think it is. (Or maybe I'm just particularly close to it, having recently finished the post-war-set Bernie Gunther mystery A Quiet Flame, which I'll get around to reviewing one of these days.) This was the key quote for me: "'The past' is whatever contributes to a society's moral debts. 'Heritage' is everything else." Say it with me now: He may have a point.

Although this article is ostensibly about the dangers of playing it safe, it's also an excellent example of keeping the long view in order to foster change in an organization. The writer, who encourages organizations to take risks, also (I think) learned the important lesson: Change happens in mysterious ways.

In a fit of self-promotion, and because I'm pleased with how it turned out, I'd like to pass on a blog post I wrote on 4 reasons youth hate confirmation classes. You'd hate them too.

Go, Red Sox! Check out this amazing Red Sox Bento Box lunch, with an apple carved into a baseball:

Finally, seeing as it's almost noon, I recommend the essay On Lying In Bed by G.K. Chesterton. Is it immoral to lie about in the morning? "Instead of being regarded, as it ought to be, as a matter of personal convenience and adjustment, it has come to be regarded by many as if it were a part of essential morals to get up early in the morning. It is upon the whole part of practical wisdom; but there is nothing good about it or bad about its opposite." He most certainly has a point.

And did I mention? Go Red Sox!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Something we've all said to ourselves from time to time

Though in my case it's more "chips and salsa" than "peanut butter and raisins." "Chocolate thingies" still holds true though.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Various & Sundry: Some really weird stuff, plus some justice and injustice

I think tomorrow I'll have to do a special obit round-up. It's been a good week in death. But let's focus on other things for now, shall we?

So get yourself a nice mug of tea, maybe in one of these upside-down mugs, and settle in.

Hard to take in isn't it? But as the blogger who posted this noted (or at least claims), these mugs are "more stable and more balanced in the hand because of the handles position (being upside down and lower down than normal). This gives a more comfortable pour when drinking due to where the centre of gravity is. They are also more stable in general and less likely to be knocked over. The inverted shape also keeps tea and coffee hotter for longer." If true, then where have they been all my life?

More photos of the creator at work here.

Hungry now? So here's a question I'm sure you've been asking yourself: What's in Prince's Fridge? You will be glad to know someone has answered that question. And it' unusual mix of items. There's no photographic evidence (Prince would not allow photographs), but here is an artist's rendering:

Did they make this up? Who knows? But if so, my hat is off to the person who came up with this quote from Prince about his real maple syrup:
“People say U can’t tell the difference, but U know, it’s the real deal. It’s a cut above. It’s about 100 cuts above. This is the only thing that touches my waffles.”
I smell hit lyrics!

Continuing our theme of weird fetishes, let's examine this 12-foot-tall statue of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the coming-out-of-the-lake scene of Pride and Prejudice. No, I am not making this up.

In a more serious mode, now, I thought this satirical list of 15 things black people must do to end racism was truly heartbreaking. And eye-opening. For example,
4. It is the responsibility of the Negro to always dress in a respectable manner. The Negro must, at all times, dress professionally with impeccably pressed trousers and non-threatening white button down shirts. Ties are preferred. The Negro should try to avoid sneakers, sweats, baggy jeans, hoodies, or any other apparel that may constitute a thuggish, frightening appearance or suggest that he may be concealing a weapon or drugs. These types of clothing, however, are perfectly suitable for whites.
Something I'm sure is on people's minds as the jury in the George Zimmerman trial enters deliberations and as the film Fruitvale Station opens in theaters.

I think this story has a much happier ending, though. What do you do if your car is broken into and the thief leaves behind his cell phone? If you're smart, like this woman, you press the speed dial on the miscreant's phone helpfully labelled "Mom."

Justice is served. Home-style.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Still looking for that perfect Father's Day Gift?

There's still time...

And yes, there is a companion Say It With Bacon website, complete with gift sets, and ecards.

P.S. If you are going to say it with bacon, may I recommend Nueske's.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

You can't tell who's hungry by looking

On a discussion group I'm part of, one person raised the question of how to teach children at a Vacation Bible School about hunger. One day at VBS, they are having a visiting missionary from an African country who suggested that for snack that day, they offer the children half a glass of water and half a cracker, telling them that in the African country where this person worked, this was considered a good meal. Was this, the person asked, a good idea?

The more I consider this, the more disturbing it feels to me, and the more certain I am that the answer is, no. This is a terrible idea.

What I wrote to the group is that we do not know if the children coming to our VBS programs are, in fact, well-fed. It may be that parents are sending children to VBS to provide them with snacks and child care. I think it's dangerous to presume that "they" are hungry and "we" are well-fed. All I can truly say is that I am well-fed. That's all I can know for sure. To deprive children of food in the name of teaching them a lesson seems morally dubious to me.

Just a few days ago, the Pew Research Center came out with a report that stated
Despite being the richest country in the survey, nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) say they had trouble putting food on the table in the past 12 months. This is up from just 16% who reported such deprivation in 2007, the year before the Great Recession began.
Share our Strength reports that 16 million children in the US experience hunger.
Nearly one in five children in America lives in households that struggle to put food on the table. They may look no different than other children; child hunger in America is often invisible. They are hurting, just the same.
I think we're too used to picture of hunger that are actually pictures of starvation. But the truth is, you cannot tell who is hungry just by looking. Does the child in this photo look hungry? What does "hunger" look like?

All those very useful exercises that show the relative availability of food from one part of the world to another can only make the point if you yourself are not aware of what it is like not to have food. To tell people who struggle to put food on the table, "Feel sorry about those people very far away"...well, I don't think it's a good idea. And since we do not know who is hungry and who is not, I think it is best to feed everyone.

There's a second part of this that disturbs me: what message are we sending about African nations if the only thing people ever hear about them is "for people in this country, a half a cracker is a good meal"? First of all, I am quite certain that there is more than one person in this country that actually has more than half a cracker for lunch. It is just as incomplete a picture to say "Everyone there is starving" as it is to say "Everyone here has plenty."

Finally, is there anything else we can learn about Africa other than "it's full of needy people and we need to help them"? Are there no values there that people can teach us? Is there not a good children's story from this country that could teach something to us about sharing or hospitality or friendship or anything? Is the only thing to know about Africa is that we should help them? Is there no mutuality? Or is it all Radi-Aid for Norway?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Various & Sundry: There is no marijuana anywhere in this post. But there might be some Coke.

OK! Now that's we've gotten Holy Week and Easter (the first Sunday of) all prepped and posted, it's time to gather up the crumbs under my table. Or at least highlight some of the things I thought were interesting enough to pass along in the endless stream o' content that is Twitter.

For example, haven't you always wanted to watch an MRI of broccoli?

I think that's kind of magical.

It will just keep glowing up there as I move along to other things, such as this slightly related story (in that there are vegetables involved) of a pot bust that goes bust. Turns out that the suspects "had bought hydroponic equipment to grow a small number of tomatoes and squash plants in their basement." It also turns out the suspects had been in employ of the CIA, and did not take kindly to it when Kansas and Missouri law enforcement "armed with assault rifles and wearing bullet proof vests pounded on the door of their home around 7:30 a.m. last April 20." Sorry! Sorry everyone! I just get carried away!

Elsewhere in Missouri, my dad's alma mater, Missouri S&T, is competing in the 2013 Climate Leadership Award for Best in Campus Climate Leadership. Of course, my alma mater, Oberlin, is also competing. Where do my loyalties lie? Hmmmm...

I loved this rant by my favorite Social Media blogger, Mark Schaefer, wrote In praise of the Unremarkable, which has forever added to my lexicon the term rainbow bombs.

Looking for a new exercise program? Trying to avoid the zombie apocalypse? You might want to try a new fitness app called Zombies, Run! "The app casts users as survivors of a global zombie apocalypse. Download it onto your mobile phone, insert earbuds and prepare to be surrounded by a soundscape that transforms your favorite running route into a battle-scarred obstacle course dense with flesh-guzzling ghouls." And Margaret Atwood -- yes, that Margaret Atwood -- has a cameo voiceover.

Remember #Kony2012? Quick update: Uganda has suspended their efforts to look for Joseph Kony, due to the coup in the Central African Republic where it is believe Kony is hiding. However, the US is offering a $5M bounty for his capture as part of the War Crimes Reward Program. Did you know we have a War Crimes Reward Program? Well, now you know.

A very quick summary of the situation in CAR:
A coalition of rebels in the Central African Republic, known as Seleka, toppled President Francois Bozize last month. They swept into the capital, Bangui, in a lightning offensive that triggered days of looting and drew international condemnation.
Just to give you the bare bones of the story.

On the other hand, and on the positive side, I'm really intrigued by what the non-profit ColaLife is doing to transport medical supplies to inaccessible regions by leveraging CocaCola's distribution network.
The result of their efforts so far is the AidPod, a wedge-shaped container that fits between the necks of bottles in a Coca-Cola crate. For the pilot program, they are using the AidPods to distribute an anti-diarrhea kit, called “Kit Yamoyo” (“Kit of Life”). 
The AidPod’s are a clever packaging solution, born of a very particular design problem. Because the vision was to physically piggyback on Coke’s distribution system, they needed to work with the crates used to move the popular soda to retailers. Initial designs experimented with pouches on the side and tubes that could be slotted in place of a bottle. Neither option would have worked, as both would have meant less space for Coke. Then, genius struck. 
“My wife said, ‘Why don’t we make use of the unused space?’” says Berry.
Well, that makes sense! Here's a very short video on how that works.

Isn't that clever?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Various & Sundry: Oatmeal, Kittens, Rowers, Robbers

I'll have to restrain myself since I have two weeks worth of stuff that's been piling up in the List of Interesting Things. I'll try to keep it to the cream of the crop.

And you know what's good with cream? Oatmeal. Ta-Nehisi Coates doesn't only write brilliantly about racism, he also knows his way around a bowl of steel-cuts.
For those who know this great country, like I know this is great country--which is to say those who have heard the gospel of awesome oatmeal and found themselves born anew--I have glorious news. I have discovered the greatest bowl of oatmeal ever made, in the most unlikeliest place in the world. The place is Flour Bakery in the town of Cambridge.
Oh, TNC, take me there! The close-up photos of croissants and other pastries look mighty good too.

You know how there's that made-up Lorem Ipsum text that's a placeholder when you're building a website? Well, now there's PlaceKitten!

How smart is that! And how cute!

In the Inspirational Story file, I only learned this week about Team Bad Company, paralympic rowers who took bronze in London last summer. They are
DSC_0098Oksana Masters a young women who was adopted from the Ukraine by a single mom at the age of 7. She became an amputee as a result of radiation that caused severe birth defects; she has strived to live life to the fullest, not letting her disability define her.

Rob Jones a former US Marine. The everyday hometown hero that went to Afghanistan to serve his country; he came home an amputee as the result of an IED explosion. He decided that the losses of his legs were not the loss of his life and he has become an amazing adaptive athlete.
And they're impressive as hell. (Image from U.S. Rowing's Flickr feed)

Also inspirational and beautiful: this story about how We Found Our Son in the Subway. Just lovely.

On the depressing end of things, this report on where the money meant to rebuilt Haiti actually went just makes you want to go and kick things. Or at least I do.

So keeping with the theme of highway robbery, I loved the recent obituary for Bruce Reynolds, "the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery" in Britain in 1963. Of course, there's always something appealing about a good mastermind.
The late Fifties and early Sixties were halcyon days. He was earning £1,000 a week from his activities and gaining the respect of the criminal fraternity. As if born to the role, he behaved with the suavity of a gentleman thief. He holidayed in the South of France, escorted women to expensive restaurants and nightclubs, patronised Jermyn Street tailors, drove Aston Martins, and mixed with the new aristocracy of actors, models, pop stars and hoods.
Besides, isn't he the spitting image of John Hodgman? Who, I must point out, has neither confirmed nor denied that he was, in fact, Bruce Reynolds.

Which one is John Hodgman? And which is a train robber? Or is John Hodgman a train robber? Only one man can decide.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Various & Sundry: Lent, Valentines, and Porky Goodness

As you might guess, Lent Madness has come to the fore in the past couple of days. Madness is right! If you haven't checked it out yet, do! And vote -- for whomever you choose. And here's an old post I wrote on 4 things I learned about elections from Lent Madness.

It's been in the 70's around here the past couple of days, but I hear in some parts of the country it's this season called winter. Here's a video my sister made of digging out her car in Portland, Maine.

Now, see, that doesn't look that hard!

It was, of course, also Valentine's Day. And though I did like these Puritan Valentines, as a former Presbyterian, it was the #thingsCalvinistssayonValentinesDay tweets that really set my heart a-flutter.

Trust me on this one.

Then again, nothing says Valentine's Day like porky goodness. Wouldn't you like to get something like this instead of a dozen roses?
Gourmet Bacon Assortment This trio of gourmet-quality bacon will light up the eyes and tastebuds of bacon fanatics you know and love. Features the following Nueske's smoked bacon varieties in convenient vacuum-sealed packages: (1) Our famous Applewood-smoked Bacon, 16 oz., (2) Applewood-smoked Peppered Bacon, hand coated with fresh-cracked Tellicherry peppercorns, 16 oz., and (3) New Wild Cherrywood-smoked Bacon, made from an all-natural recipe with no artificial ingredients, 12 oz. A great way to sample the best and choose your favorite!
Mmmm...bacon... Yes, I am now following a purveyor of smoked meats on Twitter.

I haven't been filling you in on the obituaries recently, but there were two excellent ones this week of extraordinary women.

The first, Sarah Baring, was a London socialite who spent much of the war translating German documents at Bletchley Park. She knew German because she'd been at finishing school in Munich where she and a friend "would sit at a neighbouring table and pull faces at [Hitler and his entourage]. They knew us by sight and knew we were English, so they just pretended we weren’t there. We weren’t arrested, because at that stage the Germans were still being frightfully nice to us."

At Bletchley, "Sarah Norton worked on the Naval Section index, helping to provide details of the U-boats to Hut 8, run at that time by Alan Turing, of whom she once said: '[He] was immensely shy, especially of girls... I once offered him a cup of tea, [and] he shrank back as if I’d got measles or something. He was wonderful. We were all very proud of him.'”
The work was gruelling, and Sarah Norton and her colleagues took their pleasures where they could: “One afternoon, we decided to give Jean Campbell-Harris, who later became Baroness Trumpington, a ride in a large laundry basket on wheels that was normally used to move secret files. We launched it down the long corridor where it gathered momentum by the second. To our horror, Jean suddenly disappeared, basket and all, through some double swing doors, crashing to a halt in the men’s lavatories. A serious reprimand was administered and our watches were changed so we were distributed among a more sober group.”
There's more, but you'll have to read it yourself.

Also this week, I learned of the death of Keiko Fukada, whom I had read about a year and a half ago when, at age 98, she became the first woman ever to receive a 10th degree black belt in Judo. "Standing 4ft 10in tall and weighing less than 100lb, Keiko Fukuda took up judo in her native Japan when she was in her early twenties having been schooled in the traditional arts of calligraphy, flower arrangement and the intricacies of the tea ceremony." She has been teaching judo, mostly to women, here in the San Francisco Bay Area since before I was born.

A documentary about her is called Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful. Sounds like a good way to be.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Various and Sundry: Andrew, Advent, Aid, and Autism, among others

"I'm not barking at YOU."
Happy end of November! It's the feast of St. Andrew who, to my astonishment, I've never written about. This is especially egregious since we have a dog named Andrew who's registered name is Tollwest Quack Come and See. Did you know that according to legend, "young women should note the location of barking dogs on Saint Andrew’s Eve: their future husbands will come from that direction"? Too late now. You'll have to wait until next November 29th. I wonder if Andrew is the patron saint of single women because he was a fisher of men...

Of course the feast of St. Andrew means Advent is nigh, and I loved this collection of the 42 worst nativity sets, some of which I admit I like, and one of which I bought for my mother. It's not this one, though.

This spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette looks delicious, doesn't it? And it contains an actual vegetable! (And lots of bacon.)

In other food and wine news, I appreciated this post about teaching people to appreciate the pleasure in wine with flavors that sound awful: minerals, barnyard aromas. And it goes beyond that to talk about appreciating those things that challenge us -- in food, in art, in life.
[I]f we think more deeply about pleasure, we realize it isn’t always so straightforward or even comfortable. After all, why do so many of us love sad poems, disturbing horror films, or intense, subtitled psychological dramas. Why am I capable of loving Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” or The Smith’s “Meat Is Murder” or Elliott Smith’s “From a Basement on the Hill” — while at the same time I can enjoy T. Pain, Taylor Swift, and dancing with my kids to Psy’s “Gangnam Style”?
Here's a really touching story from Bill Murray about Gilda Radner.

In obituary news, I have two impressive as hell women to bring to your attention. First is Vladka Meed, "who with her flawless Polish and Aryan good looks was able to smuggle pistols, gasoline for firebombs and even dynamite to the Jewish fighters inside the Warsaw Ghetto," who died this week at the age of 90.

The other is a woman named Maria Santos Gorrostieta who was found dead on November 17 at the age of 36. She "was a former mayor of the small Mexican town of Tiquicheo and became famous for her refusal to be cowed by the drug gangs battling for control of the western state of Michoacan."
A doctor and mother of three, Maria Santos Gorrostieta served as mayor from 2008 to 2011. Over that time she survived at least two assassination attempts, including one that killed her husband Jose and another that left her body peppered with bullet holes and scars.
May she rest in peace. My prayers are with her family.

You may recall that last week I posted the parody video of Radi-Aid: Africa for Norway. As a follow-up, here's a terrific interview with the people who created the project, explaining why and how they did it and what they want it to accomplish. Good stuff.

Finally, on the Confirm not Conform blog, I hope you'll check out this interview I got to do with my friend Emily LeBlanc, talking about how the church can better work with people with autism. Really helpful stuff.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to cook a Thanksgiving turkey

At last, a cooking professional who dares to tell the truth!

Tante Marie's Thanksgiving Recipes, including roast turkey with pan gravy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Various & Sundry: Patriotic Food, as women bring home the bacon and Alan drinks his tea

Well, I'm not done with all the work I set for myself today, but I crossed a good chunk off my to-do list and I've hit a wall on the lesson I'm revising for CnC Adult, so I'm taking a break to write another blog post of odds and ends goodness before taking the dogs for a walk. Ready? Here you go:

Let's start with bacon. September 1, as I'm sure you know, is International Bacon Day and to celebrate, Archie McPhee posted this 1901 essay on the patriotic nature of American Bacon. "Without bacon, this superbly flourishing domain would in all probability be a howling wilderness at the present moment," it explains.

Let's follow this up with some patriotic ale. I'm pleased to report that, in response to an on-line petition, the White House has released the recipe for its Honey Brown Ale, reportedly the first alcohol brewed or distilled on the White House grounds. Kegger at Obama's!

And while we're talking about food and politics, I'd like to point out the article headlined Canadian Thieves Pull Off  Big Maple-Syrup Heist. Note the lead (emphasis mine):
TORONTO—Sticky-fingered thieves made off with as much as 30 million Canadian dollars (US$30.4 million) worth of maple syrup from a little-known strategic reserve in rural Quebec—leaving authorities to investigate just how much is missing and where it has gone.
Yes, my friends, if they can tap Canada's strategic maple syrup reserve, America's bacon is next! Be alert!

On a less frivolous note (not that there's anything frivolous about maple syrup), PeaceBang explores the "woeful undercompensation" of new clergy
For too long, ministers have jumped with joy at the very notion of getting a pulpit. It’s time to partner more respectfully and professionally with our churches, to negotiate ethical compensation packages and to nicely inform underpaying, over-demanding congregations that you’ll work X amount of hours or weeks for what they’re able to offer. Be clear about that hours, and keep them firm. Then get a second job at someplace local and interesting, tutoring or teaching or making coffee or selling books. The church won’t get into the cozy habit of exploiting clergy and you’ll get to hold a healthy boundary around your professional obligations to them, while staying in touch with non-parish sources of income.
Preach on, PeaceBang.

Tangentially related, I'm interested in the new book The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povitch, coming out next Monday, that describes the fight of the women at Newsweek over the opportunity to become writers and reporters. The New York Times has a good write up about it.

Meanwhile, Hanna Rosin, author of the new book The End of Men, also coming out next week, thoughtfully answers the question Why are boys doing so badly?

And then, to finish with a cup of tea, please settle in for seven minutes of Alan Rickman intensity. Oh, I do love this.

Or you can watch it in real time, which is 11 seconds.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Various & Sundry, no exertion required

All right, who's staying up until 1 in the morning (Pacific Time) to watch the women's triathlon? Me either. I've set the DVR, though, and will watch it while lounging about in my sweats with a cup of tea tomorrow morning. Hey, at least I'll be wearing athletic clothing.

I could, of course, always watch the triathlon while also commemorating the life and invention of William Staub, the man behind the treadmill we know and love today. He died, as seems only fair, at the age of 96.
Early on, Mr. Staub’s son Gerald designed an on-off switch that could be mounted on the handlebars. His father was perplexed.

“My father said, ‘Well, why would you want to do that?’ ” Thomas Staub said. “My brother said, ‘To make it easier for people.’ And my dad said, ‘But it’s an exercise device.’ ”
He has a point.

Another notable obituary this week for Thelma Glass, "the last surviving member of a black women’s group that in 1955 organized a yearlong bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala." She was 96. She taught geography at Alabama State University for 40 years. The obituary ends, "On July 20, just a few days before her death, Professor Glass attended a black tie gala at the university, clad in an elegant gown." That's the way to do it.

Speaking of elegant gowns--well, I'm not sure "elegant" is the right word, but Tom & Lorenzo have a fabulous (and opinionated) take on the gown that Kate Beckinsale wore to the premiere of Total Recall. Behold:
You got a big-ass science fiction film coming out? You don’t wear something demure and colorless; you wear something big and science-fictiony. You break out your muthafuckin Lizard Queen dress, bitches, and you conquer that red carpet like it’s loaded with potential slaves for your Space Lizard Empire. This is the kind of dress that immediately causes its wearer to stand up a little straighter and resist the overwhelming urge to shout things like “SEIZE THEM!!!!!”

Where's my Lizard Queen dress, minions? Oh, right. I'm looking forward to wearing sweats. To watch the Olympics. While potentially eating some zucchini and apricot muffins. I've got to do something with all these zucchinis. 

I don't know, though. It seems cruel to eat them when they're all snuggled together like this. Besides, does a Lizard Queen actually eat vegetables?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Various & Sundry, July 13

Oh my goodness! A plethora of goodies has piled up over the past week. Let me see if I can place them in any coherent Can't. So here they are all jumbled for you to pick through at your leisure.

What would you name a SuperPAC? is one of the questions being asked by Andrew Sullivan's blog. Good luck finding any combination of "future" and "America" that isn't already claimed. Readers came up with some excellent suggestions, my favorite being the "I can't believe it's not coordinated PAC."

Jonathan Feldman scoffed at the World Domination Summit...until he went. He loved it. Then he wrote a very interesting article about the Corporate Drain Brain that happens as a result of (to use a word that should be used as frequently as possible) pettifogging. He calls it "the inflexible and unyielding thumb of corporate America." I say it's pettifogging. Pettifogging, pettifogging, pettifogging. Oh, and I think a lot of what he has to say can be applied to why people leave the church as well.

Is there anything Campbell Whalley didn't do? I mean, he showed Jane Goodall how chimps use tools; he witnessed the H-bomb test at Christmas Island; he showed Ernest Hemingway around big game preserves; he taught Australian Aboriginal students about their culture; he posed for a cricket manual. Oh, and
He was known for his affinity with the camels introduced to that region by 19th-century Afghan railway builders, for his storytelling and playful humour, and for teaching both his white and Aboriginal pupils to make teddy bears, more than 4,500 of which have now been given as a source of comfort to those in need, from cancer patients to impoverished children as far away as Haiti and Zimbabwe.
Anything else you forgot to mention?

But let's leave overachieving behind for a while. This Harvard student wrote a gorgeous essay on Effortless Perfection that I strongly encourage you to read in full. "My duty to the world isn't to be perfect," she says. Instead, looking at an imperfect report card,
As the sting of that first transcript faded, I looked back on what I had done with my semester, and I acknowledged its worth. Before, I had thought not working my hardest selfish. Now I saw it was the other way around. By taking away time from being perfect, I built in time for others.
How wonderful that she learned it now. I'm certain she has a much better life in store as a result.

In case you were wondering, here are 10 signs you shouldn't be getting married in a church.

Also in religious news, Bible-believing Christians should be concerned about the overwhelming conspiracy to undermine your faith with the heretical notion that the moon does not emit its own light. Can you believe that? As the writer of this satire notes, "Not only is it ridiculous to believe that a rock could reflect the light of a sun millions of miles away, but it’s also unbiblical!" Horrors! To think I have been led astray! Next you'll be saying it isn't made of cheese.

Which is a very bad segue into marking the untimely death of Daphne Zepos who is one of the people who made it possible for us to eat fabulous artisan cheeses today. Just last week I was eating a Cowgirl Creamery Mount Tam and thinking I owe this to you, Daphne. Thanks for the cheese. May you rest in peace.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Various & Sundry: What To Do Once You Get Your Burrito

Let's start with the burritos.  Sunset Magazine had a fun article about the great NorCal/SoCal Burrito Battle.  The author is totally biased, being from Orange County, but does her best to be impartial, giving her hints on where to find the best burritos of both the Northern and Southern persuasion.  I am shocked--shocked--that Ramiro and Sons didn't make the cut.  And I am completely impartial about that.

Now that I've got my burrito, I am ready to head out to clergy conference--especially now that Lent Madness Supreme Executive Committee member Tim Schenk has written the Clergy Conference Survival Guide.  It's full of helpful hints like, "During the inevitable evening social hour (cash bar), always carry two drinks with you. This way if an especially wind-baggy colleague corners you to talk about his/her most recent Maundy Thursday sermon, you can escape by pretending you’re taking the other drink to someone else. Repeat as necessary." An excellent technique.

You should also use clergy conference to catch up on your reading.  No need to read Bad Religion, according to this delightfully vicious review by Charlie Pierce. ("In Bad Religion, Douthat breaks a great deal of rock to come around to the unremarkable conclusion that American Christianity would have been infinitely better off if somebody had stopped the banjo Mass in its tracks.") If you're thinking about reading any of the Man Booker Prize nominees, you might want to check out this infographic tracing the themes of each book. (Hint: the black lines connect to the books about death.)  Or, if you'd rather, you can read one of these Six Princess Books For  Parents Who Really, Really Hate Princess Books.  Oh, they're for children? Well, whatever.  Clergy Wellness, people.

Or, if you prefer, you can just look as some of these great photos of dogs diving.  That's what I'd do.  You can do that and eat a burrito at the same time.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Psst...need a Lenten program?

While I'm on this self-promotion kick, I wanted to make sure you know about the Lenten program I wrote for Every Voice Network.  Called Eat, Pray, Grow (which was not my choice, I admit) it's a five week program (natch) on food: how it's viewed in the Bible, how we use it in the church, its history, and its current place in our culture.  And I think it's pretty good.  If you're still casting about for what to do at your church for Lent, this program will give you everything you need. You can find out more about it here.

I just finished completely redoing the last session to talk about how we waste food.  This session was first inspired by The Big Waste, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago and was a total eye-opener.  From there, I found the book American Wasteland and the blog, both from Jonathan Bloom who has made reducing food waste his #1 priority.  After reading his book and blog, I can see why.  He estimates that in the United States, we throw away (are you ready?) about 40 percent of the food that is produced here.  FORTY PERCENT!

Between food left unharvested in the fields, food that is damaged in transport that grocery stores won't even put on the shelves, food thrown out by stores when they reach their sell-by date, and food left to languish in refrigerators, enough food is thrown away in this country to "provide three meals per day for 43 million people." Wow!

I highly recommend this book.  It will change the way you look at food wherever you may be.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Various & Sundry, Friday the 13th edition

And it's your lucky day because I have lots of good stuff to share--so much stuff, that I'm going to do a separate Obituary All Stars post, probably tomorrow.

It was not a lucky day for this poor guy, Patron X, whose cell phone went off during the last movement of the Mahler 9th the other day.  Oh, I feel his pain! Apparently, he had no idea it was his phone because it was a new phone to him and he'd turned it off and there was an alarm set and he didn't know the alarm would go off when the phone was in silent mode--oh, the misery in his apology is just palpable.
“You can imagine how devastating it is to know you had a hand in that,” said the man, who described himself as a business executive between 60 and 70 who runs two companies. “It’s horrible, horrible.” The man said he had not slept in two days.
It must be agony, but I hope he'll be able to laugh about it some day.

I'm not laughing about the post on bullying that Dirty Sexy Ministry posted earlier this week. Boy, do they nail the experience of bullying in the church.
Bullying is, in short, repeated actions that cause harm to others through verbal manipulation, intimidation, gossip, psychological assualt, and even physical assault.  Most bullying behavior is extremely covert and subtle.  Studies of people who engage in bullying behavior show that they use verbal and/or physical intimidation, that they demean others to promote themselves, and use guilt as a way of manipulation and control, and they are obsessed with authority (their own and others).
That is way too familiar to me, and to so many others. And the question of how to address it...well, I wish I had an answer.

I'll be setting up the DVR today to record the rebroadcast of a show on Food Network called The Big Waste.  In it, Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell, and Alex Guarnaschelli need to make a 4-course meal for 100 people using food that is designated to be thrown away. A big tip o' the hat to anibundel for bringing this show to my attention.  She writes that "I had to pick my jaw up off the ground at least twice. Every segment."

MadPriest had a post on a topic near to my heart: the strange demand for tithing.  I need to write about this myself one of these days, but in the meantime, I recommend his post on how tithing oppresses the poor as worthy of your attention.

Finally, also from MadPriest, this video is only worthy of your attention if you are a total Anglican Communion geek.  If you are, you'll think it's very funny.  If not, you'll probably just say, "huh?"  So this one is going out to the geeks. Enjoy, compatriots!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Epistolary Pastry Petulance: An open letter to Peet's Coffee

I am posting this on my blog because, when I tried to send this via the feedback form on the Peet's site, it said "The specified URL cannot be found." And because it may help you to know this yourself. Did you know that restaurants with 20 or more outlets are required to include calorie labeling on menus, and to provide additional nutrition information on request? Very useful info. At any rate: rant follows:

To: Peet's Coffee

Let me start by saying I love Peet's, not least because you actually take tea seriously. I'm grateful to have a place to go that has a wide range of teas and treats them well. 

This letter to you relates to the labeling of your pastries.

Like many people, I'm counting calories, and I'm very grateful that you provide nutritional information about your baked goods.  I'm especially glad because I was surprised at how little relation there was between those items that were low calorie and those labeled "low fat" or "reduced fat." 

It was very strange to see that (for example) the Reduced Fat Fruit and Nut Scone had 100 more calories--and 90 more calories from fat--than the Cranberry Walnut scone.  Is not Cranberry a fruit and Walnut a nut? What on earth makes the "reduced fat" scone merit that name when so many other things on the menu have less fat and fewer calories?

When a customer sees that something is labeled reduced fat, we expect that it will, in fact, have less fat than other items that are not labeled reduced fat.  The designations given to your pastries now seem ambiguous at best and deceptive at worst.  I would urge you to revisit your labeling policy to make it easier for your customers to make the choices that are best for their health and dietary needs.

Incidentally, I had the whole wheat honey bran muffin. It was delicious.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Is this not the Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch you have ever seen? We managed to get 5 pumpkins this year. Four of them were mostly orange.

In case you're counting, I had already picked one (hence, ouch).
And did you know that those stems are prickery? I actually used sandpaper on them so I could pick them up--after experiencing some serious ouch.

 Also, before it's no longer pertinent, I wanted to pass along this recipe for Carrot-Ginger Quinoa Pepper Jacks which sound really good, though I doubt I'll be able to get them so picture-perfect. Just the thing with leftover Snickers.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Various & Sundry, October 21

Whew! It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm gearing up for a garage sale tomorrow, but I wanted to post a couple of things to keep you occupied this weekend. Let's see here...

Loved this story about the man who accidentally received as size 1,450 slipper--not the 14.5 he ordered. Or it may be a PR stunt. Either way, this is a great photo:

In baseball-related news, according to the Futility Closet, "In 1990, weary of repetitive interviews, Phillies pitcher Don Carman posted this list of responses on his locker." It certainly...covers the bases.

Alton Brown also offers a great list of responses on how to fake it as a food and wine connoisseur. e.g.:
How to fake it as a wine connoisseur: Look at the wine list and narrow in on something like the Brunellos. Then look for a year that's missing, and say, "Do you have the '84?" And the waiter will say "no." And then they might recommend a different year, but you should reply, "Yeah but that year was too 'wet'" and they'll agree because they won't know the difference. And soon the conversation will get going and you're safe.
Very good, sir.

 I was touched by this report in Stars and Stripes about gay and lesbian servicemembers adjusting to life after DADT. The video interviews are particularly lovely.

I thought I knew both cheeses and fonts, but Cheese or Font showed me I don't. Quick now: Carnova--cheese or font? See? It's tough!

 And finally, the fabulous PeaceBang stands up for the rights of fat people to have opinions about aesthetics. Preach it, sister:
Vocation does not come in small, medium and large. The love of beauty and aesthetics is a calling, an orientation of the eye and of the heart. Pigeons, never let anyone tell you that you have the wrong sized body for the work you were called to do. Never let anyone tell you that you’re too ugly to be out in front. And never stop helping your people see the difference between admirable self-discipline around diet and exercise and moral righteousness. They’re two different things but have been intentionally, ingeniously and successfully conflated by the multi-billion dollar diet and beauty industries to be equivalent in the public mind. Self-hating people are much more susceptible to the latest weight-loss or beauty product. There’s a lot of economy riding on you and me feeling bad enough to go spend some money about it. 
Jesus never said nothing about loving only skinny kids. I was no better a person when I weighed 105 lbs than I am now. It just takes a whole lot more denim to get around my butt.
Amen, amen.