Sunday, September 30, 2007

The return of the magic box?

If the gods are to be believed, DirecTV will arrive at my house tomorrow to install my service. I won't believe it until the truck pulls up, actually until the technician pulls away and the service is working. For you see, I still don't have phone service and DirecTV needs that to update. [fist shaking].

So how did I get into this boat, nearly two weeks after moving in, to be without TV service (and phone service - but that's another rant). Let me share an email I sent to DirecTV last week. I will admit here that I didn't realize how much of a TV junkie I was, until I missed premiere week, and the final week of baseball season, and the new Ken Burns documentary, and . . .

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to you today to express my displeasure with DirecTV, specifically my recent move. I have been a DirecTV customer for more than five years and for the most part, have been completely satisfied with my service. However, five years of good may have been irrevocably damaged based on DirecTV's actions in the month of September.

First, at the end of August, my DVR box ceased working. I called DirecTV to see what could be done. It was determined the box could not be repaired and that I would need to purchase a new one, which I did. Inadvertently, I was charged for two DVRs. I am requesting a refund for one of the DVRs, as I only received one. Additionally, I should be credited for those days that I was without DirecTV service, until the new DVR arrived. Those dates are August 22 through September 4, 2007.

Next, on September 10, I called to inform DirecTV that I would be moving on September 18 and would like to have my service set-up at my new address. I was given an appointment for September 20, between the hours of 4 and 8pm.

On September 20, at approximately 5:00pm, I called DirecTV to check on the status of the service call. When I reached a representative, they told me that the service call had been canceled on September 10, after I had set the appointment up. I was informed the service call had been canceled by DirecTV, without notifying me. Subsequently, DirecTV representatives showed the service appointment was set for September22, but that, it too, had been canceled. I was ultimately informed that a new service call would take place on October 1. This was unacceptable to me.

I had several conversations with DirecTV representatives on September 20, including those with Movers Connection, the local contractor installers, and DirecTV representatives. One of the DirecTV representatives hung up on me when he determined that he couldn't help me. I called back to DirecTV and asked to speak with a supervisor.

After a prolonged wait, I was finally transferred to a supervisor named Hector. I explained my situation to Hector and asked for a resolution, namely to have DirecTV installed at my new address prior to October 1. Hector assured me he would try to get me an earlier service appointment. He then told me he would call me back within 24 hours. He has never called.

I am on the verge of canceling my service with DirecTV. I would like to hear from someone by the end of business today to discuss my account.

This was the response I received:
We appreciate your taking the time to write. I am sorry for the problems that you have had with your equipment and our delay in responding to your need. I see that the second charge for the equipment has been removed already and have taken care of the time you were without service. (This does include the time up to October 1 since we have not been able to reschedule). Your current balance is a credit amount. I release that the time frame is not what you wanted but hope that the credits will in some measure make up for the delay.

Thank you again for writing.

Norma B U6917
DIRECTV Customer Service
So what do you think I can squeeze out of DirecTV tomorrow on the phone? NHL Center Ice Package, free movie channels for six months? Anyone have any ideas? Technician is supposed to be here first thing in the morning . . .

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Maybe You Could be Nicer About It?

While I am currently in just a plain aggressive mood lately (stay tuned for a rant against Verizon and DirecTV in the days to come), I found this site recently (courtesy of the Southwest Airlines in flight magazine. Had I only found this when I was looking for the fifth blog to include in my Blog Day post. This blog was profiled in the Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine (have I already said this has great stuff in it?). Go ahead and visit the site below if (as the magazine proposes), "your coworker keeps stealing your yogurt and you need inspiration."

Passive-Aggressive Notes. You know who you are. You don't like to confront people, but will never miss an opportunity to point out what they did wrong. Most prevalent in the dorm room, the office lounge, and other community spaces, they are often instant classics. The blog features submissions from around the world "spotted in the wild."

Here's a few samples:
"Peter, I'm not too happy with your inability to provide me with some cookies. If we could fix this situation, that'd be great. Thanks, John"

"If you leave the coffee pot low, you fail at life. Please make more coffee!"

"To the fiend who took my Deer Park water out of the freezer on May 30: It was tap. I hope you enjoyed it."

"Ian, If I catch you eating this delicious cereal, I'll kill you in your sleep. Love, Dan"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The World's Hardest Quiz - Part Deux

While I continue to put stuff away, here's another quiz for you. Don't bother to call me for the answers, I still don't have a phone. Or TV. But luckily there is the Interwebs and I can see that the Yankees won their game and the Red Sox didn't. Too bad, so sad. 2 games back, 3 to play.

Answers as always next week.
  1. How many birthdays does the average man have?

  2. Some months have 31 days; how many have 28?

  3. How many outs are there in an inning?

  4. Divide 30 by ½ and add 10. What is the answer?

  5. If there are three apples and you take away two, how many do you have?

  6. A doctor gives you three pills telling you to take one every half an hour. How many minutes would the pills last?

  7. A farmer has 17 sheep, and all but nine die. How many are left?

  8. A clerk in the butcher shop is 5' 10" tall. What does he weigh?

  9. How many 2-cent stamps are there in a dozen?

  10. What is the least amount of coins it takes to make 55 cents if one of the coins is a quarter?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Another Recipe Bailout

While I have found the cookbooks (I have actually "isolated" all of the books in one room - now I just have to find the pegs for the shelves), I don't have a recipe for tonight. Special K was kind enough to forward one that she received from Mrs. OSG. I hope you enjoy it!

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 4 cups thinly sliced onions (about 1 pound)
  • 3 ½ to 4 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup canned chicken broth
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from soft white bread
  • 2 cups (packed) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until onions are light golden, about 8 minutes. Add squash; sauté 4 minutes. Sprinkle sugar, salt and pepper over vegetables; sauté until onions and squash begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Spread vegetable mixture in prepared dish. Pour chicken broth over. Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes. (Squash mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat in 350°F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes.)

Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, rosemary and thyme in medium bowl. Sprinkle over squash mixture. Bake uncovered until top is golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes.

Makes 10 servings

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Little Rock Nine Remembered

I'm off momentarily to the final Washington Nationals home game at RFK stadium. Before I left, I wanted to make sure that I noted today's "date in history." Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. On this day, nine black students walked past a mob of more than 1000 whites to enter the school, testing the waters of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which had been handed down by the United States Supreme Court.

While one of the Little Rock Nine graduated from Central the next spring, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus closed the school in September until residents could vote on the integration. Not surprisingly, the citizens voted to keep the schools segregated. But federal intervention continued and integration took a strong hold throughout the South.

Central High will open a new visitor's center and several other events to commemorate the event. In conjunction with the anniversary, the Bill Clinton Presidential Library will display the original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Yes Virginia, it's only September 21

My wife has an rule with her family. One is not allowed to question one's Thanksgiving plans (specifically hers) until Columbus Day and one may not inquire as to Christmas plans until Veterans Day.

I myself (having toiled in retail hell for several years) bemoan the earlier and earlier arrival of Christmas decorations in the stores. Here we are several weeks away from Halloween and I am sure that garland and tinsel is hanging somewhere.

These two nuggets lead me to today's "This Date in History" entry, for it was on this date (September 22, 1897) that little Virginia O'Hanlon wrote to the New York Sun asking if there was a Santa Claus. It is one of my favorite Christmas stories and I posted a blog entry about the story last Christmas Eve.

I am still breaking open boxes and finding places for our stuff in the new manse. I have some posts in the queue and will hope to be back on track again soon. Happy weekend everyone!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Recipe from C in DC: Caldo Verde

It is possible that I might make C in DC a frequent commentator / contributor to Order from Chaos. When I reported that I had no recipe to post last Monday, she sent me one. She actually has done this before so she's got some cooking skills. So here it is. Let's hear those comments if you want some additional commentary other than my own. There's certainly enough fun to go around.

Caldo Verde
(from Sophie Grigson, Travels a La Carte, Network Books, 1994)
  • 1 lb. potatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 oz. couve (curly kale, spring cabbage, or Savoy cabbage may be substituted)
  • 4 oz. chourico (Portuguese sausage), sliced (Spanish chorizo, linguica, or andouille sausage may be substituted)
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Peel and slice the potatoes. Place in a *large* saucepan with the garlic, onion, salt and pepper, and enough water to cover generously. Simmer until tender. Pass through the fine blade of a mouli-legume or mash to a smooth puree. (I find that a hand-held drink blender works well.) Add a little more water if necessary to thin to a soupy consistency. Return to the pan and adjust the seasoning, adding plenty of pepper.

While the potatoes are cooking, cut the stalks from the kale, then roll up the leaves and shred very finely (the resulting threads of cabbage should be about 1/8 inch thick). Bring the soup back to a boil. Stir in the couve (hence the large pot) and sausage and simmer for 5 minutes. Ladle into 4 soup bowls, pour a tablespoon of olive oil over each one and serve.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Wisp Weekend

We've returned from our "last vacation ever." Mr. and Mrs. Brave Astronaut had long standing plans with Mr. and Mrs. "Ed" (no, not the horse - good friends who live in Pittsburgh) to get away for the weekend, no kids, just two couples, and some golf. I had a gift certificate which was set to expire at the end of October, so we didn't want it to go to waste.

So Friday, Mr. and Mrs. BA headed out of town and made a stop in Hagerstown here. Mrs. BA needed some maternity wear and I used the opportunity to go to the Black and Decker outlet and buy this and this. Then we continued on and arrived in Deep Creek Lake after a quick lunch here. Gotta love the Peanut Buster Parfait.

We rendezvoused with our friends and decided a dip in the resort pool was in order. Then we showered and changed and headed out for dinner. I had done some research and we all decided on this wonderful restaurant for dinner. Despite being far from the Chesapeake, we had really good Cream of Crab soup and we all had various forms of steak (I had the prime rib).

The next morning we got out and explored the area, finding our way here. We wandered about the trails and saw the waterfalls and then headed back for some lunch. Arriving back at the hotel, it was determined that we had enough time for Ed and I to do this. Nothing like careening down a mountainside on a scooter wondering if you will fly off the track. I must have enjoyed it, because it was reported by several people that my cackling could be heard all down the mountain.

Then it was golf time. Let's just say that Ed beat me (as he usually does) and I didn't break 100. It was a nice course and we had a good time. Isn't that all that matters? Then it was time for dinner (it's always about the food, in case you haven't noticed). We had a really good dinner (did I mention I overate?) and since we overate at dinner, we had to go here for dessert. There was some doubt on the part of Mrs. BA that I didn't know where it was, but I have a nose for ice cream places.

Back to the hotel and we all retired to our rooms for one more night of slumber without baby monitors and slept the sleep of four tired adults (we might have been in bed by 10:00). As Sunday morning dawned, we checked out and put McHenry, MD in our rearview mirrors and headed here for breakfast before going our separate ways and heading home to our children and [gasp!] work tomorrow. Mr. and Mrs. BA stopped here on the way home to see the interesting rock formations, while Mr. and Mrs. Ed reported they were stopping here.

The BA family is going to head over to the new digs this afternoon and get an idea of where the furniture will be placed by the movers on Tuesday. I am bringing a full load of stuff of odd items that is easier for me to move than leaving it to the professionals. It can be noted that this post was written as LBA finished up his afternoon nap. There will be a period this week where the posts will likely be sporadic as the moving frenzy ramps up, coupled with the fact we won't have Internet access until Thursday evening.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Quest for 99

Astute readers of my blog may have noted the "perpetual to-do list" that graces the right-hand side of this blog. One of the items was my goal of breaking 100 in my golf score by the time I turn 40. Of course, now that I have joined the ranks of "house-poor" Americans, my practice time on the links will be curtailed. And the list has been revised as a "honeydew" list.

A recent article came across my desk that illustrated for me that it might not be within reach anyway. I am getting away tomorrow morning with friends for a round of golf and some relaxation and a long weekend. I'll have a recap for you on Sunday night.

Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine (a wealth of blog fodder, by the way) contained an article by a freelance sports writer, Brett Topel, who also wrote this book, which looks like a good read. The article begins, "About ten years ago, I decided to stop fooling around on the golf course and to start playing the right way . . . the Quest became a common bond of futility . . . the more I failed to break 100, the more I had to break 100 . . . I'm still obsessed, and I'm not alone."

These words were followed by an ominous prediction, "Unfortunately, if you haven't broken 100 yet, you probably never will." According to the National Golf Foundation, the average adult golf score is 99. Topel notes "the math is as easy to understand as it is hard to accept." He continues by noting the answer begins with physical limitations. Then we "lose the game in our heads."

Hey, golf, a thinking game? Really? Duh. It is clear to those of us so afflicted that the mind game is much more important than the physical game. As much as I tell myself every time I play that the game is not about power, the more likely I am to try and kill the ball (and hook it into the woods). Golf experts evidently can now tell us why our brains let us down on the golf course.

It's about the number.

"Players on the quest to break 100 are constantly adding up their score," says Dr. Bob Rotella, former head of the University of Virginia sports psychology department. "They are usually trying to figure out what they need to do on the remaining holes in order to break 100. It really becomes a curse."

That's not true . . . OK, maybe it is . . . Um, yeah, I do that . . . Every time.

So the secret? Stop keeping score. But then, how would we know if we break 100? Relax and enjoy the game. But how can we do that if we have hurled our driver into the woods after another shank? I'll keep trying and I'll be sure to let you know how I do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What Have We Done?

Yep, it's ours. As of 3:00 EDT, The Brave Astronaut Family have a new place to call home. Our eternal thanks to everyone who helped make it possible (you know who you are!). Once we get settled, we'll have some folks over.

Mrs. BA and I are getting away for the weekend for some R&R (the last vacation we may ever take - ah, the joys of home ownership) and we will move in next week. More to come soon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

To Remember

I know I missed putting a recipe out yesterday, but I have been busy with packing up the house for our move, which will take place one week from today. We will close on our house tomorrow.

I wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on the day. I put my flag out today. My mother was a stickler for flying the flag on holidays. Not that this is a holiday, although it is proclaimed as "Patriot Day." Last year I wrote about what I was doing on this fateful day six years ago.

As I did last year, I want to tell everyone. Stop. Take a Moment. Be thankful. Give the one you love an extra hug and a kiss. Remember those we lost. Be well, all.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Nugget from the Southwest Airlines Magazine

While flying my favorite airline back and forth to Chicago last week, I found this in the pages of Spirit Magazine.

"Lefties earn 15% more than righties."

The statistic was further explained. "We're talking about male southpaws only. [Hey, that's me!] There was no difference among women. Why the disparity between lefties and righties? Researchers have no clue, but a group from Australia may be on to something. They found that left-handed kids spend less time on educational activities and more time watching television than right-handed kids. [Wait, a minute, that seems like a dig, but I missed it because I was watching M*A*S*H reruns] Maybe everything bad is good for you, after all."

I will just point out, as I usually do when someone takes notice of my left-handedness. And thanks, Mom for making me so. Just remember, "if the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, only left-handed people are in their right minds."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Baseball statistics

You would think after a year of this, I would have the hang of this . . . I had an extensive post all written about the history of JAL Tours SAA Baseball Outings . . . and then it disappeared on me! Crap! So I am revising and replacing.

As I echo in the email that I sent out to the entire JAL Tours Baseball list (all 132 of you), I want to express my personal thanks to all of you for supporting the baseball outings over the years. We have done this seven times since 1999 and we will go for number eight next year in San Francisco.

It was expressed to me at last Thursday night's game that they thought we had seen the home team lose more often than not. With the help of this website, I have been able to prove that statement wrong. It has also gotten me to update my records, which were woefully incomplete and scattered across several file folders. Hey, now that I work with electronic records, I managed to pull everything into one spreadsheet, which I have sent out by email to everyone who has participated. Go look for your name on the all-time roster (yes, even you Anna, are on there).

But, to the statistics.

I started attending the Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting in 1995. My first meeting was here in Washington, DC, but while I lived and worked in New York. The following year the conference was held in San Diego, California and I didn't go. In 1997, the meeting was held in Chicago (at the Fairmont - where I am sure the meeting that just ended was negotiated - how else could we secure a room rate of $149 in a five-star hotel?). The Society organized an outing to Wrigley Field that year, and I passed, much to my chagrin. Luckily, I was able to rectify that this year. The following year, we all went to visit the Mouse in Orlando, Florida, staying at a hotel named for a mammal, but with a fish on the top of it. There was no baseball.

Then came Pittsburgh. We arrived in the Steel City with the Pirates finishing up their final year at Three Rivers Stadium. I organized an outing to the game on Wednesday August 25, 1999. The stadium was but a short walk away (over the river, via a pedestrian walkway). There were 37 of us that first year, when we saw the Pirates defeat the Colorado Rockies, 9-3.

In 2000, we were off to Denver and to Coors Field to see the Rockies play at home. They faced the Milwaukee Brewers (who we saw again this year play against the Cubs). On September 1, Colorado won that game, 5-3. When we were there (30 of us), 1B Todd Helton was trying to match the record of Ted Williams, by batting over .400 for the season. He was not successful, although he did hit a homerun that night.

In 2001, with no baseball as yet in the Nation's Capital, I organized two groups to visit Camden Yards. On Wednesday August 29, 10 people traveled up I-95 to see the Birds fall to the Oakland A's by a score of 4-1. Sunday September 2, 15 of us went to see the Birds lose again, this time to the Seattle Mariners, 1-0.

The next year (2002) we went to Birmingham, Alabama. While we did not take in a Barons game, we did have a great evening at "America's Oldest Baseball Park, Rickwood Field, and a great "session" featuring several Negro League players, followed by a barbecue and a game.

Then it was off to Los Angeles and an opportunity to visit Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers won both games that we saw that year. First on Wednesday night (8/20), 29 archivists watched the Dodgers beat the Montreal Expos (soon to become the Washington Nationals!), 4-1, in extra innings! Two nights later, 42 of us took in the Dodgers victory over the New York Mets, 2-1.

In 2004, I was otherwise involved, working for SAA on the meeting and did not organize an outing. But two intrepid JAL Tour Devotees took up the mantle and managed to get 30 people to commute out to Pawtucket, Rhode Island to watch the Paw Sox. The bums who play in Fenway were out of town that week but we did have a nice reception at Fenway, so we had that going for us.

In 2005, I organized my favorite outing so far. The Annual Meeting was held in New Orleans, Louisiana (right before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city). I organized an outing to Zephyrs Field, home of the New Orleans Zephyrs, then a farm team for the Washington Nationals. We traveled in style that year, taking a motorcoach to and from the stadium, and had great seats behind home plate. All for the low price of $20 per person. You gotta love minor league ball. And did I mention I got to throw out a ceremonial first pitch?

Last year, the Annual Meeting returned to Washington, DC. I served as Host Committee co-chair and the Nationals were inconveniently out of town. So no outing was made. Which led us to Chicago this year and two games at Wrigley Field, where the Cubbies took on the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs lost the first game on Wednesday night, 6-1, but took the last game of the set, 5-4.

Next year, we are off to San Francisco. Will it be AT&T Park or McAfee Coliseum? Stay tuned and thanks again for supporting JAL Tours SAA Baseball events! If you are a reader of this blog and not an archivist, but would like to come out and have fun with us, please let me know!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Order from Chaos Turns One and Other Anniversaries

I had grand dreams of posting last night. But those dreams were taking place on the couch where I fell asleep. The Brave Astronaut family is on a new schedule this week. Little Brave Astronaut has started at a daycare center downtown and is commuting with Mrs. Brave Astronaut on the subway. Train ride - fun / New schedule - not so much. We are now leaving the house about 7:15am (instead of the previous 8:45am) and I am now working an earlier schedule than last month. But this all means that our evenings are going to have to end earlier. So last night my evening ended about 9:30 on the couch (waking up about midnight and stumbling off to bed). Oh, and we are eating dinner together as a family (previously he had dinner before we picked him up) and that is taking some getting used to. But we are now eating at a more reasonable hour.

Last night's post was to be a summary of my SAA Annual Meeting experience, which will hopefully appear in this space tomorrow. I have several draft posts ready to go and they will all appear in due course. Yesterday's post was likely to be preempted anyway as I discovered lots of things that I wanted to publicize. I noted the following anniversaries yesterday:
  • In 1941, The New York Yankees clinched the pennant on the earliest date in baseball history. In related baseball notes, check out this article from yesterday's Washington Post, on the final month of regular baseball. All six divisions in both leagues feature races that may all come down to the final games of the season.

  • Yesterday also marked the fiftieth anniversary of the biggest flop in the business world. Yes, the Edsel hit the road on September 4, 1957.

  • On September 4, 1888, George Eastman received a patent for his roll-film camera and registered his trademark: Kodak. I still use a film camera. I don't get that fancy digital camera stuff. But here is a picture of the Brave Astronaut at the Cubs game last week, courtesy of ADR and his digital camera.

I also noted the following stories in the Washington Post yesterday and wanted to share with you, my dear readers.

  • In the mixed feelings category, I spotted this story about a man and his truck and his taking on city hall to let him park it where he wants. Evidently, in Coral Gables, Florida, you can't park those big pick-up trucks on the street overnight. The city codes evidently are legislating aesthetics.

  • Then there is the liquidation of the Watergate Hotel inventory. The sale starts tomorrow. It costs $10 to get in. Anyone want to go? Hey, I'm buying a house, I could use some things . . .
Finally, today marks a big anniversary for me. Order from Chaos and I have made it to the one-year mark. 279 posts later, I have spewed out on a variety of topics. I wasn't sure what I was going to write about when I started this blog, but evidently, I found enough to talk about. It has been a lot of fun and I look forward to continuing for a while longer. My thanks to all of you who visit, read, and comment. It has been a pleasure. Keep coming back!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Mom's Tiramisu (via the Waldorf-Astoria)

Many years ago, my mother had the opportunity to take a cooking class at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. For many years, my parents would go to a Christmas party at the Waldorf, back when the hotel meant something. Now it's just owned by Hilton, which is just sad. But that's a different rant.

Here is the recipe she got from the cooking class. She took it when Tiramisu was taking off in popularity. It is one of the few varieties of Tiramisu that I like. It is much airier than most I have tasted. See what you think. Don't forget the Espresso sauce.

(the recipe from the kitchen of the Waldorf-Astoria)
(yield 8-10 servings)

  • 1 lb. Mascarpone cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp. Kahlua
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup strong coffee or instant espresso (room temperature)
  • 2 cups sponge cake, lady fingers, or biscuits

Mix Mascarpone, egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and 3 tbsp. Kahlua in a large wooden bowl with a wooden spoon. Do not over mix.

Whip egg whites, slowly adding sugar until forming a medium meringue. Fold into above cheese mix.

When above base is ready, fill a medium bowl with alternating layers of base and sponge cake pieces brushed with coffee mix. Use all cheese base, reserve remaining coffee mix for sauce. Cover and rest overnight. Serve with espresso sauce (recipe below) and fresh raspberries.

Espresso Sauce

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 oz. coffee/Kahlua mix

Combine all ingredients and whisk gently over a double boiler until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (Mixture may also be microwaved for 2 minutes). Add mixture to sauce and chill.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ken Burns Fights Another War

Later this month, Ken Burns' latest documentary will air on PBS. This time he has brought the fight to the Twentieth Century. The new series, The War, will be shorter than the actual conflict, but still comes in at a weighty fifteen hours.

I had the opportunity to see a preview of this documentary at the National Archives, when Burns sat down with the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein. I expect it to be outstanding. Burns has chosen to focus on four American communities and uses "a vast range of archival footage"! to convey his message. It promises to give a very raw view of combat, yet we have become a populace desensitized in the era of embedded journalists, who often become the story as well.

In the spring and early summer, Burns weathered additional controversy, when he was accused of neglecting the efforts of Hispanics and American Indians in the war. Burns was urged to edit his documentary to include their contributions. However, as Burns based the documentary on specific communities, which did not contain members of that particular ethnic grouping. After intense pressure, Burns added 29 minutes to the documentary. Interviews with two Hispanic soldiers will appear in the first and sixth episodes and a story of a Native American soldier was added to the end of the fifth episode.

Burns opted to make the documentary when faced with the statistic that nearly 1000 World War II veterans die every day. He interviews 40 veterans and other survivors of the war era. Tom Hanks and Samuel L. Jackson provide voice to other reminiscences. Fire up the TiVo as the premiere is scheduled for during network premiere season.