Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chef Tony brings a pumpkin fest to our attention.
Middle-aged bar conversation:

"So, do you come here often?"

"No, I was passing by on my way home. My son works in the kitchen."

"This is the second time I've been in this this bar. My stepson is the bartender."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quip of the day:

From Lyman's son, at the last wedding he attended, speaking to his ladyfriend who remarked that she had forgotten her camera:
"Never mind. You can bring it next time."
On another note, what to do with bridesmaid dresses:
Kim Eaton of Pleasant Hills has been a bridesmaid a dozen times. By the time she got engaged at age 38, she had a rogues gallery of dresses in storage -- spanning several decades, styles and sizes.

"You've got to get the shoes that are dyed to match the dress," she says. "Guess how many times I wore those lime-green pumps."

She was at work one day when her friends secretly raided her attic. The night of her bachelorette party, the guest of honor went to the Ruddy Duck, Downtown, where she was flabbergasted to be greeted by a covey of friends, resplendent in her assorted bridesmaid dresses.

"We boarded a mini-bus and spent the evening hitting the 'bars of my life' -- from Froggy's to the bar I played softball for in the '80s, to the Oakland bars from my law-school days, to Chiodo's, to my hometown local bar and several in between. They wore the dresses all night and in every stop. Needless to say, the gowns were not of much use after that trip, but I couldn't think of a more fitting end for them. Who says you can never wear a bridesmaid gown a second time?
(Thanks, Pittsburgh Live.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quip of the day:

"I always suspected you pretended to sleep so you wouldn't have to listen to me sing. It is not one of my greatest talents."

Elizabeth Peters, He Shall Thunder in the Sky, p. 92, William Morrow, 2000

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good grief, I'm boring and tiresome.

So I'm instituting the quip of the day from my reading.
I have two:

From Gawker in a discussion about Meghan McCain regarding Christine O'Donnell:

"Isn't that the bimbo calling the airhead blonde?"

From comments at Jordana's site, on the issue of having large families:

"We come in peace."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Charles Gore has been violated today, and he was so furious with me that he wouldn't speak or whistle or tweet while I was in the room. He has a right.

I took him in for a beak, toenail and wing clip today, and they butchered his flight feathers. The point of the clip was to prevent him from breaking his neck by taking a long glide through the living room with a curve to the enclosed porch where I have heard him bonk against the windows.

Now, if he takes a leap, he's likely to break his keel (or his leg) on the floor.

I love my vet, but I'm afraid she needs some training in aerodynamics, and needs to oversee her aides better.

I'm far less afraid of the birds getting lost than of them being injured in the house.

Look at Lucy here. Her secondary flight feathers have been clipped. Those provide lift. The primaries provide thrust. Trim some of the primaries to lessen thrust, and leave those secondaries to provide glide. Without the secondaries, the bird will drop like a rock. I can't say that's what happened to Lucy because I didn't see, but it's logical.

Charles has a big new cage since you've last seen him. Bless his heart, he'll just have to stay there. Or we can do floor exercises.

I watch these two little creatures like a hawk. Poor things must be nervous.

UPDATE: For reference, Proper wing trimming

Friday, October 15, 2010

Now, why would a couple of rednecks in Louisiana need star anise?


Thai Sea Scallops in a Rich Red Curry Sauce


8-10 medium to large sea scallops (Serves 2 for a main entree, 4-8 as an appetizer), OR 20 bay scallops
handful fresh coriander
1-2 whole star anise, plus more for garnish
wedges of fresh lime or lemon (optional)
1/2 cup coconut milk

1 shallot, OR 1/4 cup purple onion, chopped
1 thumb-size piece galangal, OR ginger, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp. white pepper, OR substitute black pepper
2 Tbsp. fish sauce (available at Asian stores)
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 tsp. Thai chili sauce (or substitute 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper or crushed dried chili)
1 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian stores)
1/2 cup coconut milk

1. Place all curry paste ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process well to form a thick paste/sauce.
2. Place 2-3 Tbsp. of the paste in a mixing bowl. Add the scallops and gently stir, so that scallops are covered with paste. Set aside.
3. Drizzle 2-3 Tbsp. canola or other vegetable oil into a wok or frying pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the rest of the curry paste/sauce.
4. Add the whole star anise and stir-fry the paste/sauce until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Gradually add 1/2 cup more coconut milk. Reduce heat slightly and simmer another minute or two, until the sauce is nicely blended and bubbling.
5. Now add the scallops. Cook the scallops by stirring and turning them in the bubbling curry sauce.
6. Check the inner flesh after 3 minutes to see if they are cooked. Tip: Scallops are done when ridges begin to form around the outside, and the inner flesh is no longer transparent. Look for flesh that is white and opaque. Large scallops may need up to 5 minutes to cook, while smaller ones may need only a minute or two.
7. When scallops are cooked, remove from heat. Do a taste test. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce (1/2 Tbsp. at a time). If too sour for your taste, add 1-2 tsp. more brown sugar. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add more chili flakes or a dollop of chili sauce.
8. Transfer the scallops along with the sauce to a serving bowl. Accompany with jasmine-scented Thai rice, or my Easy Coconut Rice. Garnish with wedges of lime or lemon, fresh coriander, and whole star anise. Serve with Thai jasmine-scented rice, OR Easy Thai Coconut Rice and ENJOY!

Janis: This is a deep, dark sauce like those of the gumbos down here. Different flavor, same comfort.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Star anise is available in Natchez.

None of the Loy's have it, and Lehman's doesn't have it, but the Mexican taqueria up 61 north does have it. They keep a small rack of spices. They had two bags. Lyman bought one.

I called before he went. The Hispanic woman who answered the phone spent some time making sense of my request.

"Do you know who you have called? This is Mi Tiendita."

"Yes, I have been there. Do you have a spice on your rack called star anise?"

"Rack? I don't understand."

"You have a place in your store where you sell epazote and cumin. Do you have star anise?"

"Star anise? Yes, we have it. Two bags. I'll hold them for them you."

Problem: Merriam-Webster vs. howjsay (Needs speakers)

Dammit if Lyman wasn't right there, too. (And the spice looks fresh.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Let's track back to the visual aid in Chris's post.

What is the opposite of anguish? Don't check Google. I'd say "exhilaration." Not so sure I could come up with that at, say, 15.

What is your answer?

UPDATE: Roget's states: comfort, ease or health.

What is the opposite of exhilaration? Agitation, upset, depression, worry

Let's look at the OED:

Anguish is primarily a feeling of excruciating discomfort. Secondarily, oppressive grief or mental distress. Hmm. Chris needs to put up lessons more often.

I think I'll take issue with the opposite in this case. The other, maybe, or resting state, but not opposite.
Stupid food reality TV. "If you're stranded on a desert island, what is the one ingredient you want?"

My BFF, Lyman, says "fresh water." Yo. Not a suckling pig.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Chris is livid about the crap teachers are expecting from her teenaged children.

Read the comments. How do you draw "manifest destiny"? Can you, like, do it as graffiti? As Diego Rivera? A map? Romance? A westward ho? (Somebody did their homework at Deadwood. Trixie looks like the spirit in the painting.)

I am utterly confounded as to how you would draw the word "such" in any way other than graffiti.

I've never understood the bitching about public education. But I left the public education system in 1974. Now I have a clue.

Thank you, Chris.

UPDATE: (From Chris's comments) "In my opinion, Middle School should just be banned entirely. One of my boys has to write a poem using every one of his spelling words every. single. week. We might as well take him to the dentist and ask them to remove each of his teeth with a rusty pair of pliers and no novacaine while playing classical music or talk radio in the background."

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Just in time for cool days ahead, a new keeper that Lyman picked off the Food Network:

Asian Chili Chicken Noodle Soup

About This Recipe (from the chef)
"I love one-dish meals and this fantastic soup fits the bill. Adjust the heat to your taste and substitute other noodles like rice noodles if you like. For those who don't like cilantro use basil in a smaller amount, and please don't leave out the lime juice! Adapted from a Food and Wine cookbook."

1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more if you like a lot of heat)
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes (from a can)
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
3/4 lb spaghettini or 3/4 lb rice noodles
1/2 lb bok choy, sliced 1/4 inch (add more if you like)
1/2 limes, juice of
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

1. In a large pot heat oils over medium heat.
2. Add onion, celery, garlic, ginger, chili powder and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring now and then.
3. Add the broth, tomatoes, chicken, fish sauce, 1/2 cup cilantro and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 1/2 hour.
4. While the soup cooks bring a pot of water to boil and cook the spaghettini to al dente. Drain.
5. Add spaghettini, bok choy and lime juice to the soup. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. Garnish with the 1/4 cup cilantro and serve.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I've been thinking about this little scenario that Ben Wetmore and James O'Keefe (keep those names in mind) put together.

That little video would have been so much funnier and more effective if the director cut from the scene of the reporter crying and begging to be let off the boat to one of the boat captain rigidly guiding the boat back to shore with a Lady Smith pointed at his ear.

The revolver is more traditional. For girly girls, The Pink Lady. At 12 ounces, the Pink Lady would be comfortable and inconspicuous to tote.

The boys have made a top-notch case for concealed carry. They should sell it to the NRA. Or Smith & Wesson, or Charter Arms... Is that the "punk" they were looking for?

Our ideas of "funny" differ, don't they?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

As a bird lover, I would be remiss if I didn't pass on this article about the Northern Saw-whet Owl.

Hard to get cuter than that.

(Thank you, Mr. Blair.)

Friday, October 01, 2010

I've told you that I love a good blog blow-up.

I am still gathering my wits about the senseless plot to discredit CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau.

The mentor of the script is at Esquire.

James O'Keefe is this young man.

Abbie Boudreau tells a story included in this synopsis.

And I'm staggered because it is beyond silly.

I can't see at this day and time why a bunch of women would call the whole escapade a source of "sexual humiliation." Big girls call it "sexual harassment," and if a woman doesn't have legal recourse, backhand him, punch him out, or make him strain against his gonads. The boys fantasize that she'll be crying and begging to be let off the boat.

The whole notion of sexual humiliation is out of the books, boys.

I popped two of the buggers when I was working at the newspaper in Texas. They weren't sources though, they were managers. Could be why I live with a defense lawyer.

UPDATE: At Media Matters, Ms. Boudreau says that CNN has held back parts of the 13-page memo because it was "too sexually explicit" for its audience. What sort of fever dream was Wetmore entertaining?

Andrew Breitbart must have the whole thing. And he wants an explanation.

UPDATE: Mr. O'Keefe explains.

So why the boat at all? And what about that dumb girl, Izzy Santa? Excitable women -- what to do with them?