August 2007 Archives

Lots and Lots and Lots of Water


I live near a great lake, and it doesn't do much for me. As far as I'm concerned, it's just a lot of cold, placid water, sitting in one place. I don't find it particularly dramatic or calming to watch; it doesn't soothe or inspire me to be near it. I mean, I don't pitch a fit if someone wants to go stroll along the beach; it's a perfectly nice way to pass the time. But I like strolling in other locations, too. Flat, calm water doesn't speak to my soul like a view of the Catalinas, the craggy, ragged mountains sheltering Tucson to the north, on a crystalline blue day as the shadows shift over the peaks and rocks.

But there's one part of the great lakes system I totally dig, and that's the part where Lake Erie drains into Lake Ontario, or in other words, Niagara Falls.

Avocados Again


I love avocados. I love them just about every way I've tried them. I love them in guacamole and milkshakes. I love them in this very easy appetizer a woman from Japan once served me:

Slice an avocado into thin but not-too-thin segments. Fan out on a plate. Douse in soy sauce, then sprinkle liberally with freshly ground pepper. Provide toothpicks for spearing.

I also love them in sandwiches. When I lived in Iowa City, home of the marvelous New Pioneer Co-op (which was only one of the many reasons it was much easier to be an almost-vegetarian there than in NW PA), I liked ordering the vegan Rock & Roll Avocado Tofuwich (scroll down to find this sandwich). I tried recreating this sandwich myself, and made an acceptable substitute. And then I just started making avocado sandwiches.

Currently my favorite sandwich is this:

Avocado and Jam Sandwich

two slices wheat bread
raspberry jam
one half of an avocado
white cheese of your choice; I used swiss for a long time but currently prefer a nice sharp cheddar

Spread the raspberry jam on one slice of bread. If you want to melt the cheese, put it on the other slice. (I melt the cheddar but didn't melt the swiss, mostly because the swiss came in big slices but the cheddar I buy comes in little wedges and the slices fall off the bread unless I melt them.) Mash or slice the avocado up and spread over the cheese if melted or on the other slice of bread if it's not melted. Sprinkle cinnamon liberally on the avocado. Smash both sides together and eat.

The flavors are all fairly strong but they blend together well. It's really good. I think I'll make one right now.

No Surprise for the Dickster

| 1 Comment

via Salon

Bourgeois Rap


I found the link to what is probably destined to be my all-time favorite rap song on The Egalitarian Bookworm (who also provides a pretty fabulous send-up of Becoming Jane which I haven't seen and probably won't see until it's out on dvd because it's not playing where I live because I live in a city in a ditch). Anyway, this rap song is so funny I can't believe there are references to it everywhere on the web, but there aren't. Anyone know anything about this? Not much turned up when I googled it.

Later.... a smart friend provided me with this article, which led to website for The Heist--but even there, you don't find many references to the song.

Itty Bitty Shoes


Long, long ago, when I went to Toronto and saw We Will Rock You with Dale and stayed in the room with the giant blue bathtub, I also visited the Bata Shoe Museum where, I bought these spiffy souvenirs:


The one in the middle is, as you can tell, a key chain pendant. The one on the top is, as you probably can't tell, a hammer: the heel is weighted so you can use it to pound nails, though the friend who visited the museum with me bought one too and said it broke almost as soon as he got it home, when his toddler dropped in on the carpet, so it probably won't work well for hammering nails. The one on the bottom has no function at all; it's just a pretty thing I admired, which, after all, is what Oscar Wilde said is what art really is.

The Scourge of the Plastic Bag


I've already written about how much I HATE those flimsy plastic bags you get at the grocery store or wherever, and my efforts to avoid using them. But there's a piece today in Salon about how truly harmful and awful those plastic bags are. Entitled "Plastic bags are killing us," the article states

The plastic bag is an icon of convenience culture, by some estimates the single most ubiquitous consumer item on Earth, numbering in the trillions. They're made from petroleum or natural gas with all the attendant environmental impacts of harvesting fossil fuels. One recent study found that the inks and colorants used on some bags contain lead, a toxin. Every year, Americans throw away some 100 billion plastic bags after they've been used to transport a prescription home from the drugstore or a quart of milk from the grocery store. It's equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.

Only 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled worldwide -- about 2 percent in the U.S. -- and the rest, when discarded, can persist for centuries. They can spend eternity in landfills, but that's not always the case. "They're so aerodynamic that even when they're properly disposed of in a trash can they can still blow away and become litter," says Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste. It's as litter that plastic bags have the most baleful effect. And we're not talking about your everyday eyesore.

The article includes a video shot at a recycling plant, discussing how plastic bags screw up all other recycling efforts. They gum up the works and generally create a nuisance. They're really, really bad.

But there's hope--not that we'll get rid of the plastic bags that already exist; they're most likely going to last longer than the human race. But there's hope that we can stop producing, using and discarding so many of them. There's a Campaign Against the Plastic Bag and some countries are either banning the bags outright or creating a surcharge than encourages people to bring their own bags.

If you don't already shop this way, go get a couple of canvas bags and use them every time you shop.

This story, about sharks being turned on by certain kinds of music, was too goofy for me not to post a link.

What I'm Reading Meme


I started this blog entry more than two weeks ago--in fact, in a conversation about this book, I told someone I'd finished the entry and would be posting it the next day--and that was two weeks ago. At the time, I really did plan to post this the next day--but then I looked at what I'd written and decided this book deserves a more interesting and thorough write-up. Here it finally is.

Anyway, here's a meme I've seen going around, along with its rules:

* Grab the nearest book.
* Open the book to page 123.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
* Do not dig around for the 'cool' or 'intellectual' book on your shelf. Do not go to the other room to find an old textbook. Just pick up whatever is lying at hand.

I grabbed the book I was currently reading: Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers, edited by Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil. It is a thoroughly fabulous book and I plan to blog all about it eventually, but for now I'll focus on the chapter in which page 123 occurs: Chapter 5, "War and Wellingtons: Military Footwear in the Age of Empire" by Alison Matthews David.

Dream Interpretation Manual


The other morning I woke to find a barely legible note I’d written to myself on my desk in my office. Seems I’d awakened from a dream and thought it was interesting enough that I should write it down.... I stared at the note and could vaguely remember getting up to write up, but the dream was pretty foggy, though as I contemplated the matter, a few details did start to return to me....

I dreamed I was at a hamburger making competition. A bunch of guys were trying to produce the very best burgers, as quickly as possible, and they had to make them to order for the audience. It was in some big tent on some lovely summer day and everyone was in good spirits, laughing, shouting, chatting, and the tent was therefore extremely noisy. Because I hate raw tomatoes (they’re vile, you know?), I kept shouting, “No tomatoes! Hold the tomatoes!” to the guy making my burger.

But he absolutely couldn’t understand me. No matter how I shouted, no matter how I varied what I was saying, I couldn’t make myself intelligible.

Some Pretty Nasty Shit


Warning: read no further if you have if don’t want to be grossed out, because frankly, my title should be taken literally. This entry includes a link to a site with thoroughly disgusting photos, as well as references to bodily functions many people prefer not to discuss.

In other words, don’t get to the end of this entry and leave me a comment about how I gave you too much information, because I’m telling you right now, if you don’t really want to know what I’ve been doing for the past five days, don’t read on.

So here it is:


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This page is an archive of entries from August 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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