Friday, June 29, 2007

I leave you with two thoughts...

On the Intriguing Possibilities side, there's the idea of vertical farms, which could bring fresh produce into large cities without the need for long-distance shipping or agricultural run-off. I hope to hear more about one of these being brought into existence.

On the Goofy Bits front, apparently you can now buy Froot Loops straws, which somehow reform their cereal into a crusty cylinder for getting that cereal-flavored milk effect even when you're not eating cereal. Inspired or eeeevil?

(via boing boing)

Sleepy kitty!

Flopped in haphazard ball as only a tiny cat can do...

Adventures in produce III: More leafy novelties

Ok, finally managed to get these uploaded. Some things we've seen before, but of course a few that send us on a recipe hunt...

cabbage, lettuce, peas
Cabbage, red-leaf lettuce, peas (not just tendrils!)

cauliflower, zucchini
Cauliflower, zucchini (big ones this time)...

green leafy things
Swiss chard, kale, and a bunch of cilantro

We found a great recipe for "South Carolina kale" (involving tomatoes and cumin) -- mmmmm -- and other things underway.

Quote of the day (esoterica edition)

Is it a wolf I hear,
Howling his lonely communion
With the unpiloted stars,
Or merely the self-importance and servitude
In the bark of a dog?

How many millennia did it take,
Twisting and torturing
The pride from the one
To make a tool,
The other?

And how do we measure the distance from spirit to spirit?
And who do we find to blame?
from Quell's "Poems and Other Prevarications"
quoted in
Altered Carbon (Richard K. Morgan)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cynicism: Part of the problem or part of the solution?

I'm not certain of the answer, but these biting e-cards are an excellent demonstration of the form!

cynical friendship card

(via Dana Goldstein, via XOverboard)

More things I cringe to read about

  1. The Senate is close to approving a national ID card, forcing it as an unfunded mandate on the states. Let your legislators know what you think of all this!

  2. The Supreme Court rules that school desegregation plans are racist, or some crap like that -- so much for good-intentioned local plans involving busing and other means of integrating regional schools... Bye-bye, Brown!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Holy crap!

forehead smackMr. Smells-so-manly apparently thinks it's perfectly ok to strap a dog on top of the car for a major road-trip. Needless to say, jury-rigged wind-screen or not, the dog wasn't totally thrilled...

(via Atrios)

Wasn't there some other Republican nut who took pride in beating his daschund? Ah yes, the lovely Rev. Dobson.

Bad news round-up

A new day for abhoring the Republican jihadis and the way they have raped the Constitution and the fuctioning of this nation over the last six years...
  • Dick Cheney's offics is so cavallier about classified information that most of the White House security office has quit. His being above the 3-branch division of our government is just the tip of the iceberg -- there's evidence here that our national security matters not at all to the VP.

  • Republican Senators, long decriers of the evils of the filibuster, are now blocking the progress of approved legislation by putting a hold on the House-Senate conference process. And in order to block what dire legislation? Ethics reform and implementation of the 9/11 Commission report recommendations. Again, national security getting the boot (over the spectre of unionization, apparently).

  • Going a bit farther back, the Republican Congress allowed hunting of endangered animals outside the US, and now the NRA is arguing that polar bears are doomed anyway, so why not enjoy the hunting while it lasts? I guess they're not worried about either climate change or our national legacy to our grandchildren...
These stories make more than my head hurt.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The power of free time

Some wacky kids have turned their entire apartment into a huge Rube Goldberg device, utilizing everything from the kitchen tap to a pair of cell phones (the latter of which vibrates to start the next action). Mesmerizing . . .

(via boing boing)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Quote of the day

For those who have come to grow, the whole world is a garden. For those who have come to learn, the whole world is a university. For those who have come to know God, the whole world is a prayer mat.
– M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
(via A Mindful Life)

Another reason not to flee to the suburbs

races intermingledJust being around folks of different races makes them seem less "other" -- from infants on up. Some scientists have argued that such "tribal" biases are innate, but this evidence supports the (really, more logical) explanation that we learn to define what's normal by what we spend time with. Fight on, crazy liberal multiculturalists! Perhaps some day nobody will understand what a test like this one was intended to reveal...

Questions I would never have thought to ask

Luckily there are sociologists of the modern age. A study of social networking sites claims that the MySpace/Facebook division corresponds to the class division in our society, with high achievers, military officers, and other hegemonic elites on the latter, and outcasts, grunts, and other less priviledged groups favoring the former. A fascinating dichotomy, and one which indicates how organic the growth of social networks can be.

Why do they even bother reporting this stuff

A scary incidence of deja vu: military lackeys have been giving the exact same forecast for Iraq (cutting back by fall, starting to pull out next spring) every year. Does anybody have the nerve (or intelligence) to call them on this crap? Or is everybody just keeping their fingers in their ears (LALALALALALLA!) all the time now?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday fun bits

wacky neon!Just a few amusements for your weekend...Finally, here's a quote to cap it all off:

Sometimes I get the feeling the whole world is against me, but deep down I know that’s not true. Some smaller countries are neutral.
– Robert Orben
(via A Mindful Life)

Kitty toes!

This photo captures what I hope to get out of the coming weekend . . . (the snoozing, that is, not my own pink toes!)

The fourth branch

Good to see that Rahm Emmanuel has a sense of humor, even if I'd prefer that Cheney's notion that his office is a fourth branch of government (somehow spanning executive and legislative) were a joke . . .

(via Medley)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Running (from?) the numbers

I knew Bush's approval ratings were down, but 26% is pretty impressive. (Heh, it's more like 6% among Democrats.)

(via Talking Points Memo)

More arguments against paranoia

E. coli pictureThat is, concerns about antibacterial soaps and other products that have taken over supermarket shelves in the last five or so years. Basically, the residues they leave behind create a perfect selective-pressure environment for the generation of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, which could become a nightmare for us a few years down the road. I've been worrying about this for some time, but it's good to see a major publication raise the alarm...

(via boing boing)

Wow, just wow

Bush is the king of verbal missteps, but I can't think of any way to read this that isn't jaw-droppingly offensive.

(via XOverboard)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Gratuitous cat photo

I just need a little kitteny cuteness today . . .

Pixel in the front window
Pixel lounging in the front window.

Image of the day

This guy informed us that 2007 will likely be "make or break" time in Iraq. I'm sure come Dec. 2007 we will discover that Iraq remains in a quantum superposition of make and break in perpetuity.
I find myself torn between heh and sigh...

Digby unmasked

I think Digby at Hullabaloo is one of the best analysts and writers in the blogosphere, and ever since Medley raised the question, I've suspected that the person behind the pseudonym might be a woman. Well, a major award drew her out of the woodwork, and it was worth the wait -- she speaks to the democratizing effect of the Internet on political discourse and its potential for changing the way people get involved, from investigative journalism to opinionizing and activism. Inspiring and eloquent, as ever.

(via Medley)

Update: Here's a quote from the midst of the description of the world of bloggers (the whole transcript is now online here), which captures Digby's power of getting to the point:
We may argue about tactics and strategy or the extent to which we are partisans vs ideologues--and believe me, we do. But there is no disagreement among us that the modern conservative movement Of Newt and Grover and Karl and Rush has proven to be a dangerous cultural and political cancer on the body politic.
Indeed it has. Thank goodness the Honorable Opposition has some voices such as this one. (I hope you already watched the speech linked above!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Call in the tea-leaf readers!

Here's one I don't know what to make of: Bloomberg leaves GOP. Just shaking off an increasingly extremist party, or preparing to throw a major wrench into next year's Presidential possibilities? Only The Shadow knows...

Paula's House of peacefulness

Another brief photo essay that takes you out of your head and into the natural world...

More evidence that feminism's job is done

glazed look of horrorThis spiffy new movement for the surrendered wife. Because too much thought just ruins a girl's looks...

(via Pandagon)

This crazy modern world

How likely is it that you'd stop into a Starbucks and then notice the woman who had stolen your identity in the line behind you? It must have been very gratifying for this victim to make the snag, but there's no getting back the months of her life she spent trying to salvage her reputation, credit, and other parts of her world, and the punishment was less than satisfying as well... (it's hard not to think that hot pokers should be involved)

(via kottke)

Monday, June 18, 2007

One of many reasons that I'm blogging less

My dread about the fate of our democracy is at a steady high. My head is already flat from all the head-banging, and sometimes I don't want to bring everybody else down...

(via Talking Points Memo)

Quote of the day

Do not commit the error, common among the young, of assuming that if you cannot save the whole of mankind, you have failed.
- Jan de Hartog,
playwright and novelist (1914-2002)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Nimrods don't make me feel safer

TSA logoYeah, because this lady's sippy cup was a threat to our nation (but note that the veritable flotilla of cups and bottles of another family were just good old-fashioned Americana). Makes me want to bite them all...

How's that port security coming?

Several things

Theme-schmeme, I say! Here are some pithy bits I've collected, that might be worth your perusal:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Science meets goofiness

Voila! the Pac-Man skull.
I'm a little ashamed of how much this amuses me...

Cat bends space and time

Or at least, cat does the near-impossible in terms of squishing self. Most amusing (and a little mind-bending). I prefer not to think how s/he learned this trick...

(via Medley)

Adventures in produce II: More spring veggies

Our second batch came in late last week -- thanks to Sid for picking up the crate while we were hiding in the shade of Cape Cod. A couple repeat entries, plus some new stuff. (We also got some strawberries, which were granted to Sid as partial repayment for his efforts.) It feels like we can eat the produce at the rate that we receive it, although it is likely to lead to more frequent (and more adventurous) midweek cooking...

A couple of nice lettuces: red leaf and one whose name I've forgotten.

zucchini and scallions
The first, tiny, zucchini of the year, along with another batch of scallions
(this time round and white, rather than long and purple-tinged).

tendrils and brocc
Another batch of pea tendrils, along with a simple head of broccoli
(which I've just learned that I don't know how to spell).

This week's novelty: kohlrabi.
I know my mom made this once years back, but I have no idea what to expect.

The tendrils, zucchini, and scallions have already vanished into another spectacular quiche, which, with salad, makes a great dinner. Not sure yet what the kohlrabi will go into; perhaps a stir-fry with the broccoli. Also fun was that I noticed this time there were flowers on the pea tendrils -- pretty purple ones. I guess that the peas must be on the way. Anyway, a single one teased out looks a little like the flourish at the bottom of some Elizabethan stationery...

pea tendril with flower

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Speaking of snark...

Tom Tomorrow does an excellent job of capturing the Justice Department amnesia on display in the hearings of the last few weeks. They seem to have forgotten just about everything they ever touched or did. Embarassing to watch...

Snark of the day

Joe's volcanoToo lovely: the chairman of the Connecticut for Lieberman party calls on Joe to resign after recent remarks about Iran. Lieberman's fatuous power-chasing knows no bounds...

Maybe a majority *can* acheive a few good things

The Dems plan to fast-track a bill to remedy the hole in labor law revealed (created?) by the recent Supreme Court ruling in Ledbetter (see prev. here). I think support for this is pretty broad, as the ruling seemed nearly inconceivable to reasonable folks of many stripes...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Good news, bad news

One step forward, two steps back, more head-banging all around...
Good news
A US Circuit Court ruled that the Bushies can't continue military detention of a US resident that they haven't yet charged (although, you know, they've had him in jail for six years now -- a lot longer than his master's degree would have taken). I'm sure there will be more appeals, but at least a ray of sanity in this ongoing madness.

Bad news
A Democratic majority was supposed to make some kind of difference in national law-making, yes? Apparently no change in backing for abstinence-only sex "education" programs beloved of the right . . . Amazing.

(via Medley)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Compelling glimpse

Time Magazine offers a photo essay called What the World Eats: each is a picture of an individual family surrounded by the groceries and other stuff they'd eat during an average week. Fascinating range of places, packaging, foods, scale. You'll end up looking at every one.

(via kottke)

Quote of the day

carved stone
Problems that remain persistently insolvable should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.
- Alan Watts
(via whiskey river)

Issues jumble

What on earth does party affiliation even mean anymore? I mean, if Democrats are introducing ridiculous bills like this, I have to say that generic anti-incumbency is sounding better and better...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Yeah, we're sure making things better

You know things are going well in Iraq (just like Mr. President says) when the college students there figure that staying in their country is a death sentence.
They said would leave their country feeling betrayed, by the debilitating violence that has killed scores of professors and friends, by the growing influence of Islamic fundamentalism and by the Americans, who they say cracked open their country, releasing spasms of violence without protecting the moderate institutions that could have been a bulwark against extremism.
I'd have to call that a vote -- with their feet -- of no confidence . . .

Say it loud

I didn't realize this, but Justice Ginsburg hasn't just been writing dissents in the recent Supreme Court mysogyny rulings; she's actually been giving rare oral dissents, speaking for the minority on the degree to which they think the majority ruling is misguided (and, specifically, putting politics above the law). Hear hear.

(via Medley)

Building a better... cow

milk bottles on the stoopApparently a chance gene mutation discovered in a cow in New Zealand has led to the breeding of a strain of lowfat milk-producing dairy cattle. This offers an "all-natural" alternative to the current process for removing the fat, which should make the organicizers happy. (But can the calves drink it??) There are also changes in the types of fat in the milk that give the butter derived from it some appealing qualities, such as being spreadable right from the fridge -- expect that to appear on your shelves in a couple of years!

(via PhillyFuture)

Don't let life pass you by

A columnist reflects on how quickly our life plans can change, and reminds us that the time to do the things we love, to risk change in hope for something better, is always now.
I doubt that she was thinking, when she turned her head and saw the truck coming, "Well, there goes that trip to Greece." But I thought that, later. I thought that the overlooked corollary to "it's never too late" is "it's never too early."

The day after Jeanne Steager died, I went into Mr. Stern's office and quit my job. I was out of there in an hour; I was back home for lunch. It's never too early. Plans are just guesses.
. . .
When you're young you think that life stretches out indefinitely and you can take this crap for another decade. And the lesson of Jeanne Steager is, No, you bloody well can't. Life is of varying lengths, and actuarial tables are only averages, and sometimes you gotta close your eyes and jump. Even if it's scary; especially if it's scary.
A good reminder.

(via This Modern World)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Daily snark

At the expense of Fred Thompson this time, and rightly so...