Thursday, October 29, 2009

Highs and Lows - Happy Halloween

Marking a high, 40 years ago today, someone threw a switch and the Internet was born (no, it wasn't Al Gore). So feel free to spend a little time down the rabbit hole today. Have some birthday cake.

As to the lows, today marks the 80th Anniversary of the first Stock Market Crash that sent the nation and the world spiraling into the Great Depression. What is that saying about history? "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it?" Yeah, something like that. Got any money in your wallet? Maybe we could all go trick or treating for money, instead of candy on Saturday. Remember Unicef boxes? If you are of a certain age, I'm sure you do.

LBA and SoBA will celebrate Halloween at their daycare tomorrow with a costume parade and then on Saturday there will a parade in town and later trick or treating around the neighborhood. Coming of age in the late 70s and early 80s, I trick or treated during the Tylenol scare, stories about razor blades in apples, and being forced to give up loose candy (which to this day I am convinced that it was just my parents way of getting the candy they liked - hey that's what I would do).

Trick or treating today is very much an organized, structured event. In my neighborhood, one only goes to lights with the porch light on, only from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, and never alone. It's a far cry from when I would hit the pavement moments after getting home from school and trick or treat on my own (usually covering most of my neighborhood - about 100 houses at least), arriving home at dark with a sack full of candy. Then there was the inevitable sorting, trading with siblings, losses to parents, etc. But I usually wound up with enough candy to survive a few weeks on sugar rushes.

I will take LBA trick or treating on Saturday, while Mrs. BA and SoBA will stay home to greet the neighborhood children. LBA is dressing up as a robot this year (handmade costume by yours truly) and SoBA will parade around as a fireman.

And if you are at a loss for something to do on Saturday and Halloween is not your thing, but lighthouses are, you could take a trip to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Cape May Lighthouse (New Jersey). I would go, but I've already climbed that lighthouse. Maybe some of you MARACians returning home from Jersey City will make the climb?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's Time for the Fall Classic

The great American pastime gets underway tonight. The Fall Classic. The World Series. It should be a great series. Let's see how the two competitors got here.

In the first National League Division Series (NLDS), the defending World Series Champions took the NL East crown and faced off the NL Wild Card Winner, the Colorado Rockies. In the other NLDS, the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers faced off against the NL Central winners, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers easily swept aside the Cardinals in three games (leading me to the prediction that they would be in the World Series, pitting Joe Torre against his former team, The New York Yankees). The Phightin' Phillies lost one game in the series to the Rockies and won in four games. In the National League Championship Series (NLCS), the Phillies and the Dodgers had several great games, but in the end the Dodgers only managed one win. The Phillies blew out the Dodgers in Games 3 and 5, to win the Pennant in five games, punching their ticket to the World Series for the second year in a row.

In the American League, for the second year in a row, the Minnesota Twins needed an extra game to wrap up a title. In game 163, the Twins defeated the Detroit Tigers to capture the AL Central crown, sending them to New York to face the AL East Champion Yankees in the first ALDS. The Twins were quickly dispatched and swept aside by the Yankees. In the other ALDS, the Wild Card winner, the Boston Red Sox traveled to Los Angeles to face the AL West winning Los Angeles Angels. The Angels overpowered the Red Sox and swept the Sox in three games also. In the ALCS, the Angels took on the New York Yankees. The two teams fought epic battles, including two extra inning games, which each team won a game. The Yankees emerged victorious in Game 6, winning their 40th pennant and a trip to the Series.

My prediction? Would you be surprised? Yankees in 6. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Baked Brain

It's Halloween Week! Here's a special Monday recipe to celebrate the spookiest holiday around! It was forwarded to me by C in DC, who saw it here.

  • Round of brie cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Bacon
  • Poblano peppers
Dice everything into small dice. I added some pepperoni as well. Pour some olive oil in a saute pan. Saute everything and add some salt and pepper. Let this mixture cool.

For this recipe I just buy puff pastry rather than make my own. Cut the brie in half. Scoop some of the cheese out to make an indentation. Scoop some of the sauteed mixture on to the brie and spread it around. Cover with the other half of the brie.

Fold the puff pastry over the brie. Press all the ends together. Cut pieces from the second piece of brie and roll them into strings. Curl them on top of the brie to look like a brain.

Crack egg yolks into individual bowls and add food coloring. Then spread these mixtures over the puff pastry brain. I used black, red and green. Bake this in a preheated 475 degree oven until brown and bubbling on the edges.

Voila.....baked brain!!! Cut into it and it oozes all over the plate. When serving this at a party bring it straight from the oven to the guests. It makes a wicked presentation. Serve it with crackers. Baked brain might look gross but it is GOOD!!!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Mrs. BA has a rule that you are not allowed to discuss Thanksgiving plans until Columbus Day and no talk about Christmas until Veterans Day. As a result, we have discussed our Thanksgiving plans and it looks like we will be home for that holiday. Christmas plans are only a murmur at this point, but they are likely to involve a trip to New York to see my father and hopefully, my brother, who will make the trip from Maine for a few days.

Well, folks, today is October 25 and Christmas is but two short months away. (You've already noticed the decorations in the stores, right? That started in September, but don't get me started.) The economy is still struggling and people are already bargain hunting for what to buy this year. If you have survived the economic downturn and have a little extra folding money, the Annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is out (and even that shows some signs of belt tightening). But there are still those luxury gifts. Feel free to reward the Brave Astronaut in your life.
  • Customized Cupcake Car - put on your matching hat, slip under the muffin top of your Cupcake Car, and let the world figure itself out for awhile. Get (or give) the sheer, joyful chaos of a gift that is mind-blowing, triple-dog-dare, double-infinity forever cool. Make the kids or grandkids literally squeal with joy. Bring it to work and buzz the breakroom. Crash parades! Putter about the ‘hood. Ever had a crowd of kids chasing after you just for the crazy gleeful heck of it? (No worries, the top speed is a comfy-safe 7 mph.) What’s it made of? A 24-volt electric motor, a heavy-duty battery, sheet metal, wire, fabric, wood . . . and mad genius. Launched at Burning Man as a cooperative art car project, the Cupcake Car sprang from the fevered mind of Bay Area artist Lisa Pongrace and her less-rules-more-laughs posse of artists and techno geeks. Yours will be tricked out with your favorite topping, so start thinking flavors. Price $25,000.00
  • Algonquin Round Table Experience - Imagine hosting the brightest minds of modern literature, journalism, and the arts. An exclusive private dinner party of fine food, engaging wit, and sparkling conversation at New York City’s legendary, literary Algonquin Hotel. You and a guest will be part of an extraordinary gathering drawn from this impressive array of literati (possible attendees: Christopher Buckley, Roz Chast, Delia Ephron, Nora Ephron, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Gopnik, John Lithgow, Anna Deavere Smith, George Stephanopoulos, Ali Wentworth). This evening promises to be one for the books. Price $200,000.00
  • Hall Artisan Wine and Art Experience - Kathryn and Craig Hall have spent the past 15 years perfecting precision winemaking using artisan standards, small-vine viticulture, and Earth-friendly practices. For wine and art aficionados, we offer a unique immersion into the art of great winemaking. You and a guest can learn organic, artisan winemaking firsthand, tour the estates, enjoy tastings of exclusive private vintages—and have the singular chance to create your own personal vintage in a private blending session led by HALL Winemaker Steve Leveque. There’s also a personal tour of the Halls’ world-class contemporary art collection with Kathryn as your guide, and in the evening, Kathryn will host a private gourmet dinner and wine event at the winery’s breathtaking Rutherford Estate cave. Your luxury accommodations at the Auberge Resorts Calistoga Ranch will include activities customized for you and your guest. The best part: after your custom blend has aged in French oak barrels, your personal cuvée will be bottled and delivered to you. Available separately: an exclusive selection of handcrafted Cabernet Sauvignons from the Halls’ personal collection, not available to the general public. Price $20,000.00
  • The 2010 Jaguar XJL Supercharged Neiman Marcus Edition - Unveiled to the world this summer, the Jaguar XJ flagship line has been totally re-imagined from the ground up—and is the star of the international auto industry. Presenting the heart-racing mix of next-generation engineering and world-class luxury that is ours exclusively: the 2010 Jaguar XJL Supercharged Neiman Marcus Edition. The challenge: Only 50 will ever exist. The reward: One of them could be yours. Let’s start with the all-new frame. It is pressure cast from aluminum and magnesium to give the XJL a strong, light architecture that improves fuel efficiency and structural rigidity. The new panoramic safety-glass roof provides a tremendous sense of spaciousness in the cabin and an amazing view for every trip. The powertrain? A new third-generation supercharged 5-liter V8 that delivers 470 horsepower. The Jaguar Sequential ShiftTM six-speed ZF automatic transmission adapts to its driver, with wheel-mounted shift paddles and Sport, Standard, and Winter modes. So, let’s give you a taste of the intuitive technology. Instead of dull dials, there’s an interactive 12.3" high-def screen to display all the pertinent info in your line of vision. An integrated navigation and entertainment system is at your fingertips to access audio, Bluetooth, hard-drive based GPS navigation, and climate control systems via touch screen or by speaking your commands into the Interactive Voice system. There’s a media hub with docks for MP3 players and USB devices, a Bowers & Wilkins 1,200-watt premium sound system with Dolby ProLogic IIx Surround Sound and an aural-inspiring 20 speakers throughout the cabin. Let’s see: massaging front seats, electric sun blind, heated steering wheel, four-zone climate control, integrated security system—we could go on forever. Our Neiman Marcus edition also features an exclusive Celestial Black metallic paint outside and the NM nameplate on the custom interior intaglio, of course. Dazzling 20" double-10 spoke polished alloy wheels complete the exterior. Inside, there’s a custom interior of butter-soft navy and ivory leather and Zebrano matte wood accents. Other refined details of our automotive masterpiece include illuminated tread plates and trunk finisher. We’ll even throw in a five-piece set of matching Jaguar luggage, in navy blue leather. Did we already mention that only 50 will ever exist? Just checking. MSRP $105,000.00
  • Maker's Mark Master Distiller Experience - Any whiskey aficionado will tell you it is perfection in amber. Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is handmade in small quantities of just 19 barrels, each batch distilled and aged with the same exacting standards the Samuels family has passed down for seven generations. As Master Distillers for a day, you and a friend will have an all-access VIP experience like no other, with Master Distiller Kevin Smith as your host. You will participate in the unique whiskey-making process step by step, for an insider’s look at how every detail makes every glass a special occasion. This gift experience includes a two-bottle memento of the rarest Maker’s Mark bottles ever: Two golden bottles will be etched with your likeness and dipped in gold wax with 24-kt. gold flecks. You’ll also get to hand dip six of your own 375ml Maker’s Mark bottles in signature red wax and take them home. The experience includes luxury accommodations in Louisville and a gourmet dinner hosted by Bill Samuels, Jr. (the top dog at Maker’s Mark). Price $7,500.00 [the bargain of the luxury gifts!]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Geek Alert: Star Wars Architecture

Yoda: Told you I did. Reckless is he. Now, matters are worse.
Obi-Wan: That boy is our last hope.
Yoda: No. There is another.
As many of you know, Fridays (tomorrow) are movie night at the Brave Astronaut launchpad. Of late, the main movie in the queue is the ORIGINAL Star Wars (as Mrs. BA determined the time was right for LBA to be exposed to Luke, Leia, and Han - he already knows of them from his older cousins and books he has read). Our neighbors very graciously offered us their copy of Star Wars (on VHS - he has the movie on his iPhone) and we have been watching mostly non-stop since then. Our neighbor also reminded us, "he is too old to begin the training," prompting Mrs. BA and I to think of the quote above.

Now don't get me started on the whole Canon of Star Wars. If you need to lose several hours, feel free to consult the Wookiepedia. But let's just say that I haven't ever seen the movies that came out after Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. I saw no reason. LBA is still working out that since both Mrs. BA and I saw these movies when we were "young," we "must be experts on them." Well, sure.

Spotted a while back in my Google reader was an article from the Architects Journal regarding the architecture of Star Wars. It listed the Top 10 buildings and structures from the movies.

10. Cloud City, Bespin
9. Senate Building, Coruscant
8. Sandcrawler, Tatooine
7. Bright Tree Village, Endor
6. Echo Base, Hoth
5. Artisanal Dwellings, Tatooine
4. The planet Coruscant
3. Jedi Temple, Coruscant
2. Jabba's Palace, Tatooine
1. The Second Death Star

Thoughts? Will thousands of Star Wars fanatics come out of the woodwork to berate me? Stay tuned.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Being a Regular / Boeuf Bourguignon

There is a man who lives up the street from OSG who embodies the definition of a "regular." Mr. Smith (really, that's his name) eats lunch everyday in the same place. Each evening you can find him and his wife eating at the local diner. Regular as clockwork. Are you a regular? Do you want to be? Grub Street offers some tips on how to be a regular (seen first on Kottke, of course).

I used to be a regular. Every Friday night my friends and I would descend upon the Syosset House diner and have something to eat before heading home for the evening. We had our own waitress (Jackie) and a regular seat in our favorite booth. There was another older gentleman who used to frequent the diner at the same time and we often sat with him while Jackie would take our orders and often talk with us during our stay. We were always greeted by the host with a friendly, "Hi guys!" before he would show us to our seats. Diners are like that, I think, by nature. If they're good, the experience is one to savor.

I would be a regular again. But when you show up now with two kids in tow, there is sometimes fear on the face on the host or hostess and the waitress may become concerned about her station getting disrupted. Not to mention that eating out is something that we do less frequently than when we were all unattached and let's say, more liquid in our assets.

Conference attendance is one of my remaining opportunities to try out restaurants in other cities (often unencumbered by children). Having toiled in the retail trenches and worked a job that also relied on tips (valet parking), I have a soft spot for waitstaff and will usually make sure they know that I will take care of them, provided they take care of me. When visiting a restaurant for the first time (or at a conference, with friends), I have a tendency to reward good service. However, my poor math skills nearly got us rubbed out at an SAA meeting several years ago in Boston. I went out to an Italian restaurant with OSG, Special K and another colleague in the North End. After the meal, the check arrived and we proceeded to divide it up according to what people had eaten and we collected funds to cover the check. We handed over the cash and sent it off. Moments later, the maitre d' / manager showed up at our table, asking, "Was there a problem? Is everything OK?" Confused, I told him there was no problem, we had had a great meal. So he asked, "I ask because you tipped very little on your meal." In doing the math, we had neglected to add a proper tip, coming up with only a few dollars over the check. Duly embarrassed, we all ponied up some more money to make up for our mistake, and left - quickly (so quickly that I seem to recall Special K walking into a tree - but that's a different story).

But enough about me. I know you're all here waiting for Monday's recipe. Here's one that might make an appearance at the Brave Astronaut launchpad this week (from the New York Times):

Boeuf Bourguignon
Adapted from “The Pleasures of Cooking for One,” by Judith Jones.
  • 1 2-ounce chunk bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 pounds beef-stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/3 carrot, from the thick end, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Herb packet of 1/2 bay leaf; 1 large clove garlic, smashed; a handful of parsley stems; 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme; and 5 peppercorns, all tied in cheesecloth
  • 3 or 4 baby onions or 4 (1-inch) pieces of leek
  • 4 baby carrots, or the thin ends of larger ones
  • 2 or 3 new potatoes
  • French bread (optional)
1. Brown the bacon in a heavy 3 1/2-to-4-quart saucepan. When it has lightly browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a medium bowl, leaving the fat in the pan (ooh, fat, yum).

2. Pat the pieces of beef very dry with a paper towel, then season all over with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the pan, and when it’s hot, brown half the pieces of beef over medium-high heat on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the bowl of bacon. Brown the remaining beef and add to the same bowl.

3. Keep the pan over the heat and sauté the onion and carrot until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the meats to the pot, sprinkle with the flour, season with a pinch of salt and pour in the wine and stock. Tuck the herb packet into the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook at a bare simmer until tender, 2 hours or more.

4. Add the baby onions, baby carrots and potatoes, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve yourself 4 to 5 chunks of meat with all the vegetables and a good French bread to mop up the sauce. The dish benefits from sitting overnight in the refrigerator.

Serves 1 or 2.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Today is Opening Day for "Where the Wild Things Are," a live-action film based on the children's book by Maurice Sendak. The book is one of my son's favorites and it makes an appearance now and then. Sometimes I let Barack Obama read to him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I am so there for this!

Most everyone knows I am a sucker for the disaster flick. This one is from the same director of The Day After Tomorrow. I am so going to see this movie. As with The Day After Tomorrow, I had to go see it by myself, as Mrs. BA passed. Anyone want to come with? The movie opens November 13.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sex and Graham Crackers

You know that saying about someone's desirability being linked to if you would let them eat cookies in bed? Evidently, someone has discovered the original intent of the dry, sweet square that winds up on the bottom of most cheesecakes including my mother's. What's up with this?

Evidently the graham cracker was originally marketed to curb sexual desire, according to this article, the recipe below comes from the article. Go make your own - it's evidently better than a cold shower.

Graham Crackers
Makes about 10 4" crackers or 20 2" ones. The math is easy.

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry or all-purpose flour. Unbleached. Dr. Graham loathed bleached flours, so please bear that in mind.
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
  • 1/3 cup honey (mildly flavored, like clover)
  • 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
For the topping:
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse just enough to incorporate the ingredients. Add butter and pulse until mixture is the consistency of coarse meal.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse until the dough just comes together. Don't worry, it's supposed to be sticky.
  3. Turn dough onto a lightly-floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch in thickness. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm; anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.
  4. Prepare the topping by combining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  5. Divide the dough in half and return the unused half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto your work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8" think. The dough will still be sticky, so flour as needed. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4" wide. Working with the short side that should be facing you, cut the strip every 4 1/2". (I chose to make mine 2" wide, but that is a personal preference.) Place crackers on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with topping, and refrigerate. Repeat rolling and cutting actions with the second half of the dough. If you are frugal and not lazy, gather the remaining dough scraps, re-form, refrigerate and repeat. The crackers should chill to firm for another 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350º F and adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower positions.
  7. Make a vertical line through the middle of the crackers, being careful not to cut all the way through the dough. Score them. That's the better word. Prick the dough in decorative rows. But not too many. Mine look rather like dominoes.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm-to-tough. Rotate baking sheet (or sheets, depending on how many you are making) half way through baking to ensure an even doneness.

Friday, October 9, 2009

100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

Are these them? I prefer the funniest words, myself. But that's just me. Anna? I'm sure you have something to add. Words like these we used to call SAT words.
  • Ailurophile - A cat-lover
  • Assemblage - A gathering
  • Becoming - Attractive
  • Beleaguer - To exhaust with attacks
  • Brood - To think alone
  • Bucolic - In a lovely rural setting
  • Bungalow - A small, cozy cottage
  • Chatoyant - Like a cat's eye
  • Comely - Attractive
  • Conflate - To blend together
  • Cynosure - A focal point of admiration
  • Dalliance - A brief love affair
  • Demesne - Dominion, territory
  • Demure - Shy and reserved
  • Denouement - The resolution of a mystery
  • Desuetude - Disuse
  • Desultory - Slow, sluggish
  • Diaphanous - Filmy
  • Dissemble - Deceive
  • Dulcet - Sweet, sugary
  • Ebullience - Bubbling enthusiasm
  • Effervescent - Bubbly
  • Efflorescence - Flowering, blooming
  • Elision - Dropping a sound or syllable in a word
  • Elixir - A good potion
  • Eloquence - Beauty and persuasion in speech
  • Embrocation - Rubbing on a lotion
  • Emollient - A softener
  • Ephemeral - Short-lived
  • Epiphany - A sudden revelation
  • Erstwhile - At one time, for a time
  • Ethereal - Gaseous, invisible but detectable
  • Evanescent - Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time
  • Evocative - Suggestive
  • Fetching - Pretty
  • Felicity - Pleasantness
  • Forbearance - Withholding response to provocation
  • Fugacious - Fleeting
  • Furtive - Shifty, sneaky
  • Gambol - To skip or leap about joyfully
  • Glamour - Beauty
  • Gossamer - The finest piece of thread, a spider's silk
  • Halcyon - Happy, sunny, care-free
  • Harbinger - Messenger with news of the future
  • Imbrication - Overlapping and forming a regular pattern
  • Imbroglio - An altercation or complicated situation
  • Imbue - To infuse, instill
  • Incipient - Beginning, in an early stage
  • Ineffable - Unutterable, inexpressible
  • Ingénue - A naïve young woman
  • Inglenook - A cozy nook by the hearth
  • Insouciance - Blithe nonchalance
  • Inure - To become jaded
  • Labyrinthine - Twisting and turning
  • Lagniappe - A special kind of gift
  • Lagoon - A small gulf or inlet
  • Languor - Listlessness, inactivity
  • Lassitude - Weariness, listlessness
  • Leisure - Free time
  • Lilt - To move musically or lively
  • Lissome - Slender and graceful
  • Lithe - Slender and flexible
  • Love - Deep affection
  • Mellifluous - Sweet sounding
  • Moiety - One of two equal parts
  • Mondegreen - A slip of the ear
  • Murmurous - Murmuring
  • Nemesis - An unconquerable archenemy
  • Offing - The sea between the horizon and the offshore
  • Onomatopoeia - A word that sounds like its meaning
  • Opulent - Lush, luxuriant
  • Palimpsest - A manuscript written over earlier ones
  • Panacea - A solution for all problem
  • Panoply - A complete set
  • Pastiche - An art work combining materials from various sources
  • Penumbra - A half-shadow
  • Petrichor - The smell of earth after rain
  • Plethora - A large quantity
  • Propinquity - An inclination
  • Pyrrhic - Successful with heavy losses
  • Quintessential - Most essential
  • Ratatouille - A spicy French stew
  • Ravel - To knit or unknit
  • Redolent - Fragrant
  • Riparian - By the bank of a stream
  • Ripple - A very small wave
  • Scintilla - A spark or very small thing
  • Sempiternal - Eternal
  • Seraglio - Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem
  • Serendipity - Finding something nice while looking for something else
  • Summery - Light, delicate or warm and sunny
  • Sumptuous - Lush, luxurious
  • Surreptitious - Secretive, sneaky
  • Susquehanna - A river in Pennsylvania
  • Susurrous - Whispering, hissing
  • Talisman - A good luck charm
  • Tintinnabulation - Tinkling
  • Umbrella - Protection from sun or rain
  • Untoward - Unseemly, inappropriate
  • Vestigial - In trace amounts
  • Wafture - Waving
  • Wherewithal - The means
  • Woebegone - Sorrowful, downcast

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Return to Pooh Corner

Tonight's bedtime story consisted of another chapter of "Runaway Ralph" by Beverly Cleary. The Beverly Cleary oeuvre was a popular favorite of mine growing up and LBA seems to have taken to it as well.

Occasionally, I will read to him from a Winnie the Pooh book that was mine and my siblings when we were growing up. So it's old.

But now, there's a new choice.

Pooh is Back, and He's Got Company reports CBS news on the first authorized publication of a sequel to the Winnie the Pooh stories by A. A. Milne. Time Magazine gives us a short history of Winnie the Pooh.

If particularly into the evening bedtime reading, I can adapt voices for the characters in the stories. So it seems I now need to find a voice for a pearl choker-wearing otter . . .

Monday, October 5, 2009

Maple Gingerbread

I am not a big fan of the gingerbread, but this one sounds tempting. I know, OSG, it's like you don't know me. I'm still a little scarred from last year's gingerbread bake-off at work. There is talk of a bagel taste test coming soon to the lunch table.

They are threatening to blindfold me and feed me bagel pieces to see if my declaration that I can taste the difference between a New York bagel and one from anywhere else. Bring it on. I'm waiting.

The recipe comes from the Cheverly Community Market Blog, which posted it via S&S Maple Camp in Western Maryland.

Maple Gingerbread
  • 1/2 cup Grade B Maple Syrup
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
PREHEAT oven to 325 F. degrees.Combine and sift dry ingredients. Mix maple syrup with beaten eggs and add sour cream. Combine the mixture and bake in greased 8" x 8" pan for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or favorite ice cream. Yield: About 8 to 10 servings.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Poltical Answers

Here are the answers to last week's quiz:

1. Who represents the wealthiest congressional district?
  • (b) Gerry Connolly (D-VA)
2. Who represents the congressional district with the highest percentage of Hispanics?
  • (a) Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
3. Even though he won by six percentage points, this incumbent senator spent the most money in 2008. Name the senator.
  • Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
4. How many women in Congress have given birth while in office? (Bonus question! How many can you name? Hint: five current members, three former.)
  • Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
  • Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD)
  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR)
  • former Rep. Susan Molinari (R-NY)
  • former Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz (R-UT)
  • former Rep. Yvonne Braithwaite Burke (D-CA)
5. Which congressional race was closest percentage-wise?
  • (b) Perriello vs. Goode - 727 votes
6. Which three former members of Congress were defeated in their party primaries in 2008?
  • David Davis (R-TN)
  • Chris Cannon (R-UT)
  • Albert Wynn (D-MD)
7. Which U.S. representative is a former governor?
  • Mike Castle (R-DE)
8. Which freshman senator became his state's senior senator in 2009 after spending just 16 days as junior senator?
  • Mark Udall (D-CO)
9. Who is the youngest senator?
  • 42-year-old Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
10. Who is the longest-serving Republican senator?
  • 33-year veteran Richard Lugar (R-IN)
11. Who are the two Buddhists in Congress?
  • Hank Johnson (GA) and Mazie Hirono (HI).