Thursday, February 21, 2008

While Be shoots the moon, another satellite sustains a direct hit.

Go Navy!

I've always been a sucker for a good dog story.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And how did you spend your evening?

8:45 pm

9:10 pm

9:30 pm

9:50 pm

10:10 pm

Spent the clear, cold evening outdoors fiddling with the toy camera while watching the show. Of course the shots don't do justice to what my eyes actually saw, but one does get an idea of the progression of the moon's little game of cache-cache in tonight's sky.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Life is good.

Oh my gosh! Full episodes from the first season of my favorite TV show ever are viewable on the CBS site!

What a treat, since I heard somewhere that these were always difficult to find due to copyright issues.

Oh! First three seasons are available on DVD on Amazon. That's a good start.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"I used to feel I feel I’m doing something.”

Life imitates art yet again.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain."

-Mark Twain

Bait with your heart, but don't lose your head.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Darn. I really need to keep the internal monologue internal.
Pensée = Pansy = Heart's Ease

Une petite pensée tricotée for the Frenchie this Valentine's Day.

Heart's Ease

Thanks to Anna at Mochimochiland for the original inspiration!


(Last year's Valentine.)
Ravelry is awesome! I'm so hooked! (Seriously! No pun intended!)
I don't miss the sweets, but the coffee thing is a problem. Granted, I'm fairly over the caffeine withdrawal. However, I miss the warmth, the smell, the sweetness of the first sip of the morning.

Never smoked, but I can understand why people would have a hard time quitting.
What to have? What to have?

Tonight I'm trying to decide between curried cauliflower and a zucchini frittata.
Comfort Food.

Compared to other years, this has been a relatively mild winter. As a result, the oven's been on much less than normal and the crock pot's been languishing all but forgotten in the upper kitchen cupboard.

It took this weekend's weather, with the wind howling and the snow blowing horizontally, to get me in the proper frame of mind for a stew.

Since I had a Christmas gift that I'd been dying to try out,

Jihadi Saffron!

Jihadi Saffron(!!) from an African market in Puteaux

decided to try out one of the fussy Food-and-Wine recipes my boss forwarded me.

Chickpea Tagine

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 quart plus 2 tablespoons water
1 large onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
One 14.5 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 small zucchini, diced
1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon rind
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
Yogurt and harissa, for serving

In a saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, 45 minutes. Drain.

In a bowl, crumble the saffron in the 2 tablespoons of water; steep for 10 minutes.

In a deep skillet, cook the onion and gar­lic in the butter and oil over moderate heat until golden, 8 minutes.

Add the cumin, cin­namon stick and crushed red pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the saffron water, chickpeas, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, the quart of water and a large pinch of salt; bring to a boil, then simmer until the squash and potatoes are tender, 30 minutes.

Add the zucchini and the preserved lemon; simmer until the zucchini is tender, 5 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick. Season the tagine with salt and pepper and stir in the cilantro. Serve in bowls with yogurt and harissa.


Instead of the preserved lemon (was out of it), I just grated the peel of a fresh lemon and added that. Parsley substituted for cilantro, as I didn't feel like schlepping out to get a bunch. I did have the harissa, but opted out of that, because the stew was already so aromatic. Served it over some basmati rice instead of couscous. Was so pleased with how my modified version turned out and especially loved the perfume that filled my kitchen during cooking.
Heere Bigynneth the Tale of the Asse-Hatte...

(as for the story behind it, well, better them than us.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I know that there was a severe weather alert issued for this afternoon,! (or as my old roommate in the Den of Men Satish used to say, "F*cking amazing!")

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Well, this is a pity.

I'll be honest: I'm not particularly thrilled with McCain for a variety of reasons*. But what other choice do I have now that it's down to him and either Laurence Harvey's Mom or Tabula Rasa?

Gosh, I know that Romney's no Tsongas, but I'm feeling like I did when the latter gave up the race to Clinton way back when.


* McCain-Feingold for starters. I'm not so sure that McCain-Kennedy's such a good idea, either. The last attempt at immigration reform kind of led us to where we are now, so I didn't see how trying it again was going to help. Also, how is this guy under pressure as a result of his time as a POW? I hate to sound ungenerous of spirit or whatever folks want to call it, but I do think that this is a concern. Whether these issues are larger than those that I have with his opponent-to-be remains to be seen.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."

"They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer — not an easy answer — but simple."

"I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life."

He'd have been 97 today. Happy Birthday Dutch, and God Bless!
As rotten as I feel, I do know that things could be a whole lot worse. I could have woken up looking like this.

Poor Pablo. Am trying to decide which is worse - the glare

or the sneer.


Decided to give up both sweets and coffee for Lent. The walk into work was miserable, too. At least I remembered to bring the second set of clothes along with me, anyway.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

To bed now with the Mill Girls of Lowell and an essay on the Reconstruction.

For you night owls out there, here's a nice little something my dad sent along:

(Sweet dreams.)
So, how does a political high yellar deal with the inevitable questions about who one voted for*?

Out in west techistan, Pavel's been alternating between write-ins for Aaron Burr and Margaret Thatcher. Of course, this begs other questions that he's been cutting off with a polite "let's not talk politics, okay?"

For me, I've found that an emphatic RON.PAUL. followed by the Ampersand Stare kills a conversation about as well as a cantabridgian's "racist."

(She voted early and often today.)


*This quesion was more dreaded than yesterday "aren't you sad the Patriots lost?"
Yeah, and the black and white's real subtle, too.

Sat through about a minute and a half of this godawful thing. Had to turn it off at the part about "healing the nation." Geez, I'm not looking to hire someone to heal the country; I just want them to govern it.

More from Pavel:

I just sat through that entire nauseous Obama video. Four minutes and thirty seconds irretrievably gone. “Okay, now, the concrete policy prescriptions? Now, the ideas? NOW???” Nope, sorry.

It’s ironic that this video succeeds in making a monotony out of “change.”

Of course one of the cute scrubbed young peeps in the montage was a female ASL signer. That made it quite complete.

Great. Now for the "spin war." November can't come soon enough.
Of course, Cambridge is a whole 'nother animal, as my girlfriend's partner found out when he tried to submit his ballot.

Following is the complaint she sent to the state elections commission:

Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 9:24 AM
To: SEC-DL-Elections Inquiries
Subject: Cambridge Thorndike & Eighth Polling Station
Importance: High

I am writing to complain about the ballot attendant at the Cambridge Thorndike & Eighth Polling Station. When my boyfriend went to place his vote today as an unenrolled voter using a Republican ballot, the ballot attendant told him instead of putting it in the tally machine, he could either “put it on your daughter’s head or throw it away.” Is this considered appropriate behavior for someone who is allegedly supposed to facilitate the democratic process in an impartial fashion? Is voting Republican now considered a criminal activity in Massachusetts?

I am extremely angry about the treatment he received when attempting to participate in the primary. What is being done to protect the right for people to vote for the Republican candidates?



Their response:

Subject: RE: Cambridge Thorndike & Eighth Polling Station
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2008 09:36:06 -0500

Dear XXX,

We called and spoke with Cambridge regarding this issue and they assured us they would take care of the situation and handle it appropriately.

Elections Division


So much for tolerance of differences. I wonder what appropriate handling of this sort of situation might be?
Got to my polling station at about 9:00 am figuring that what with all the pre-primary hype, it'd be a mob scene. As it turned out, there were fewer voters than poll-workers on site.

Breezed on up to the check-in and gave the lady my information. She found me, saw that I had a big "U" after my name, so then asked which ballot I wanted. Their obvious surprise at my response was pretty tactfully restrained*; the fellow who handed it to me even wished me good luck and a good day.

Filled my card out, then handed it in. Done deal! The lady at the ballot-eater even gave me a parting gift:

I was really happy, as the only other person I saw get a cool flag sticker was a toddler.

Happy Super Duper Tuesday!


* Somerville still has a token Republican or two kicking around. Still, a typical 30-something female, even in my not-yet-so-gentrified part of town, would be an enrolled Democrat.

Monday, February 04, 2008

No, I didn't sleep well last night and yes, I got up on the wrong side of the bed. Got some rotten news at work, too. Oh yeah, and I still haven't received the gifts I bought myself (one of which is a necessity) not quite two weeks ago.
Celebrity Endorsements.

So, Arnold backs McCain while his wife is endorsing Obama. I also see that both Oprah and Eisenhower's granddaughter are stumping for Barack. What bearing does any of this have on, well, anything?

Also, what's going on with Caroline Kennedy? Either she's very confused or someone's trying to hoodwink folks, as I cannot see how the Obama could ever remind people of her father: a budget-cutting, military building hawk of a President who stood down the Soviets and escalated Vietnam. Criminy.
By the way, it's not just the Sarkozy thing, it's this whole idea that the Democratic hopefuls have to curry favor or campaign in Europe for some reason. Kerry did it during the last round; Clinton will no doubt do the same if she gets the nomination. Didn't we fight a war (or two or three) to separate ourselves from their influence?

On a similar note, I remember reading about how annoyed everyone was both in France and the US with Segolene's and (to a lesser extent) Sarkho's politicking abroad during their campaigns.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

...By the Company He Keeps.

Last night, someone came and rang my doorbell. Since I wasn't expecting anyone at that time, I just ignored them. Later on, when a friend came by for dinner, he brought along the pamphlet that the (darn persistent, I have to say, as they waited on my porch for 10 minutes before giving up) canvasser left in the mail slot. Made for some interesting pre-dinner reading.

Based on his endorsements (a veritable who's who of people I've vowed to forever vote against), I'd have to say that I don't know if merely holding my nose while pulling the lever would suffice. I'd probably have to be drunk as well. As if that all weren't enough, I find this in today's news:

Obama Offers Encouragement to the President.

But is it enough to console him? Though lacking the support of the French, Nicolas Sarkozy got some encouragement yesterday from Barack Obama, candidate for the Democratic nomiation for the American presidential elections. "He is an energetic man with much talent. I am impressed by his manner of looking at the problems specific to France with a new vision," declared Obama in an interview to appear in next Thursday's Paris Match. "His hands are not tied by tradition or dogma. He should serve as an example for other leaders," added the senator from Illinois. He also stated wanting to meet Nicolas Sarkozy during his European tour if he wins the primaries (against Hillary Clinton) The two men had already met in May, 2007."

Much as I was trying to gear up for supporting Class over Experience, I really can't stomach this. Guess I'm back where I started: either the guy I'd figured I'd support or my boss as a write-in.
Where I come from they tend to root for the NY teams. My mom likes to stir the pot, though, by telling everyone at Church or work that her daughter is from Boston, so just is dying to see New England win the trophy again.

Actually, I told her, I really didn't have a dog in this fight. New England has won enough, and besides, it's easier on the city when the fans don't have something to rampage over*.


*Interesting bit of trivia: more people have been killed in Boston due to rowdy sports fan activity than have been killed during the so-called Paris Intifada. In all fairness, however, one has to add that more people have been killed by Parisian police wrongdoing than by the Boston Police.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Life is good.

Such a pretty day today. Maybe it's time to go out and take a serious walk.

How luxurious to finally be in a space where one can make time (when one doesn't actually have it) to smell the proverbial flowers. The knee doesn't feel half bad, either. Gosh, I'm spoiled.
Pattern Recognition.

Let's see:

Obstructing the entryway to a legitimate business: Check.

Posters showing graphic nastiness: Check.

The use of the term "baby killer" or "murderer" to describe those whose practices they oppose: Check.

Smug sense of total moral authority: Check.

Maybe I'm just having a relapse from all the drugs I didn't take in college, but these folks sure seem an awful lot like the ones I'd get accosted by a couple times a week when I worked next to an abortion clinic in the early 90s.
And in the end, each got their just desserts.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Hooray for me!

Yesterday was my birthday, by the way. I turned 37. That's a prime number, just like 01/31/1971. How come nobody seems impressed with this like I am?

(This was to celebrate a milestone in my roommate's* life last weekend. I actually spent my birthday in the bathtub reading about the Monroe Doctrine by the light of a single candle. Pretty, too, though not as nice as this.)


* She's pretty neat as she puts up with me photographing everything from her dinners to her cat and candles.
And I'd always just figured that tantrums were endemic to a certain age and that one had to train a kid to know that this sort of behavior was unacceptable.

Guess it's good I never decided to breed. Surely by not paying attention to all these studies (even the inconclusive ones) and not having the money to spend on the child psychologists/parenting classes a parent of a certain socioeconomic class "needs" nowadays, I'd have dealt some poor wretch a lifetime blow.