Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween/Samhain



Some feel that Samhain (Sow-en) is today others feel that it's November 1st. Whenever you celebrate remember to bury apples along the road to assist lost souls, set a place at the table for your own departed souls, and gather marigold petals for tomorrow-Dia de Los Muertos.

On this most magical of nights may your jack-o-lanterns shine brightly and may you not run out of candy.

"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."
-- Linus van Pelt in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday Round Up

According to the Washington Post the American Red Cross is borrowing money and has admitted to underserving black areas. Well, what else is new. I am so glad that A. and I chose to donate money elsewhere for the Katrina victims. They will never, ever, ever get another red dime from me or my nice,rich, red A-blood. (you will need to register (GRRR) to read this article-you can use workinfortheman@yahoo.com for the signin name and hatethis for the password)

Knitting-yes, Crocheting-want to learn, quilting-love quilts, but can't see myself quilting-maybe a group quilting would be fun-Embroidiering-learned how as a kid-haven't picked it up since then. I always thought embroidering was fun, but I just seemed to take to knitting more. Perhaps if I had known I could make gorgeous art like Orly Cogan I may have stuck with it. WARNING!! If you are easily offended you may want to skip Ms. Cogan's art. Personally I think it's exquisite and wish that I could own some of it.

Speaking of quilts I was perusing the archive of the Astronomy Picture of the Day and this quilt caught my eye.

The other day I was talking with someone about cereal. I don't care for cereal. I've eaten lots of goodies that are made with cereal-Rice Krispie bars, no bake cookies, chex mix, but I can't deal with anything soggy and I've never been that crazy about milk. Our conversation wandered into Quisp and Quake. I had never heard of these cereals until a few years ago. A friend on antoher job was talking about them and I told her I had never heard of them. She educated me on everything I wanted to know about Quisp and Quake, but was afraid to ask. What I needed was Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide.

Speaking of cereal wouldn't this dispenser from Target be a great cereal storage unit? Storage plus dispensing. This device could get in the way of what I've come to see as the serial cereal eaters hobby-cereal box reading.

I leave you this weekend with some true food porn. These are some of the prettiest decorated cookies I have seen in a long time. Simple and nice. Thanks John & Kristie.

Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them".
-John Shirley

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Baking Powder and Women

Last night I started going through my cookbook. No, I didn't write a cookbook. "My Cookbook" is a binder filled with recipes that I have been collecting since high school. Every time I open this binder it's a trip down memory lane. Seeing my Gran's handwriting on some of her recipes gets me choked up, but it also makes me so happy that I saved these. Especially her fabulous peanut butter cookie recipie with her secret ingredient.

I came across my recipe for baking powder. I used to make my own baking powder, but I haven't down it in years. With my slow, but sure vow to decrease my sugar intake I should start making my own again. Store bought baking powder does contain sugar. Many, many, many items contain sugar that you wouldn't think do.

Here is my recipe:

1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Mix these ingredients together and store in an airtight container. This should yield approximately 5 teaspoons.

The amount is 1 1/2 teaspoons to replace 1 teaspoon in the recipe.

If I knew that I was going to be doing some baking I would just mix up a batch of this and then have it for the week.

I can't swim and one day I will go into a long and boring diatribe about my many attempts at learning. I have always loved the water though and have always been amazed that not only can humans swim, they can do so with a bunch of equipment strapped on their backs.

On July 7, 2005 4 American women of African descent (or African American women) became the first organized group of black women to dive on the WWII wreck of the Japanese Navy's The San Francisco Maru.

Brenda Berliner, Melvina Edwards,Tara Gauthier and Adrienne McAdory dove the Maru,which sits in over 200 feet of water. What makes this even more exciting is that the Maru, located in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia, has live ammunition on its deck.

Truk Lagoon is the final resting place for more than 6 submerged Japanese vessels. This undersea phenomena is not only covered with coral and numerous varieties of fish, but is also the home for many naval artifacts. (heard the story on Black America news this morning even though I can't seem to locate the story on the site)

Check out the Women Are Persons monument and read the story behind it to learn about some gutsy Canadian women.


"Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult".

-Charlotte Whitton, Canada Month, June 1963

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Book Catalogs

I receive a ton of catalogs. They cover everything from make-up for redheads, horse paraphernalia and books. Two of my favorite book catalogs are A Common Reader and Bas Bleu.

When I got home from work yesterday the Bas Bleu catalog was waiting for me in my mailbox. I was thrilled to see that they have the The Besler Florilegium: Plants of the Four Seasons . This edition is written by Gerard Aymonin. It's $195.00 so it's certainly not a book that I will be purchasing in the foreseeable future, but what an awesome book to have in one's library.

The original of this 542 page tome was published in 1613 by Basilius Besler. Besler documented the garden of the Prince Bishop Johann Konrad von Gemming of Eichst├Ątt, Germany. The Prince had created what was probably the first comprehensive botanical garden devoted to flowering plants. The Florilegium is considered to be one of the greatest books of botanical illustartion of all time.

The Besler family controlled the sale and distribution of the books until 1817. Today, fewer than ten colored copies are on record. The original copper plates were melted down at the Royal Mint in Munich in 1817.

I was reading some of the comments that were left on Amazon about this book. One person said that this "is not a book, it's an event". This facsimilie edition weighs over 14 pounds. Filled with gorgeous botanical plates this would be a showpiece in anyone's library.

I'm trying to track down where some of the originals are located. I've checked WorldCat and I'm not getting a lot of information on the original. If anyone has any thoughts on this could you let me know? Thanks.

"If minds are truly alive they will seek out books, for books are the human race recounting its memorable experiences, confronting its problems, searching for solutions, drawing the blueprints of it futures". - Harry A. Overstreet

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sad News and Poppin'



I have said before how I have this thing about Poppin' Fresh. I had him and his wife Poppie and their stands and even took them to college with me. There's just something about the doughboy's cherubic countenance that never ceases to cheer me up. Well last night I saw the doughboy's latest commercial. He's shakin his groove thing to Barry White singing I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Babe. Cutest darn thing I have seen in a long time. And I must say Poppin' has got some rhythm. I always have been a sucker for a man that can dance.

And speaking of adorable commercials I think some of my favorite commercials have been any of the Hershey's Kisses commercials. Especially the ice skating kisses. Very cute.



On a sadder note the world had to say goodbye to the incomparable Shirley Horn last week and to the legend Rosa Parks this week. Ms. Horn died last Thursday (10/20/05) in her native Washington, DC after a lengthy illness. (She actually lived in Upper Marlboro, MD). She was 71. The jazz pianist and vocalist was often compared to Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, but I always thought she brought her own unique sound to the standards. If you have never heard Shirley Horn give yourself a treat and listen to her rendition of Here's To Life.


Rosa Parks is the woman who "sat down so that many could stand up". Rosa Parks received many honors in her lifetime to include the NAACP's Spingarn Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. For the last few years Rosa Parks had been suffering from dementia. She died Monday, October 24, 2005 at the age of 92.

On Sunday night I watched Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking. My favorite portrayor of Sherlock Holmes is Jeremy Brett. To me he is the quintessential Holmes. Like so many others I was crushed when he passed away. He was an amazing actor.
I was pleasantly surprised at Rupert Everett's portrayal of the famous sleuth. He was amazing. I did have some problems with the this rendition of Silk Stocking. There was quite a lot of forensics that seemed as if it was an attempt to combine CSI with Edwardian costuming. There were just a bit too much of the 21st century creeping into the storyline for my tastes, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

"Because I could not stop for Death --
He kindly stopped for me --
The carriage held but just ourselves
And immortality
."
-Emily Dickinson Because I Could Not Stop For Death

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday Round Up


Spending a fortune on a purse is not something that most of us can do, but I know many of us would like to. Wouldn't it be fun to be on the list to purchase a Birkin Bag? (3rd image down)

I think the most I have ever spent on a purse was maybe $125.00 and that was a big splurge for me. I remember other women always telling me never to put my purse, any purse on the floor. I wonder if one of those women had anything to do with the invention of this nifty purse holder called the Dangle.




Sugahara Glassworks is a Japanese glass company. They have some gorgeous items on their site, but I was particularly struck by their black matte items, appropriately enough called "The Black Collection".



National Geographic has come up with a list of the 100 greatest adventure books ever written. I love this genre and I was shocked to see that I had only read two on their list. I loved Terra Incognita by Sara Wheeler. I enjoy anything about Antarctica, Arctic or any sort of cold-weather story. Terra Incognita is number 82 on the list. Want to know what's number one. Check it out.

I am always referring to the wonderful Internet Movie Database (IMDb) for one thing or another. Now the Internet Broadway Database (IBDB) provides the same sort of information for Broadway theater information.

Have a great weekend.

And in the words of the great Harry Wayne Casey (K.C),
" Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight, get down tonight".

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ice Cream and Airmen



I think this ice cream ball is such a good idea. I guess it's something that you could take camping, etc. You would still have to cart along rock salt and ice, but it would still be fun to see how it works. Sort of like an edible science experiment. You can purchase this from the L.L. Bean website or Amazon. I guess it's a "higher tech" version of this.

Seven Tuskegee Airmen are traveling to Iraq this week. They will be visiting with soldiers, touring bases and receiving commendations. They will also be visting the 332d Expeditionary Air Wing at Balad. This group is the descendant of the 332d Fighter Group, the original Tuskegee Airmen's unit. Old school meets new school. Very cool (information from Black America Web)

"Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone".
-Jim Fiebig

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sounds

I was reading an issue of Utne magazine over the weekend. This was the Jul-Aug 2005 issue and it was devoted to sounds and noise.

One of the intersting factoids that I read was that Harley Davidson is copyrighting (or perhaps already has) the sound their motorcycles' exhaust/engines make. When I was reading this I was reminded of MGM wanting to or maybe they did copyright the roar of the MGM lion. If anyone has any definitive information on either of these situations please let me know.

I have always been interested in copyrights and I find the copyrighting of sounds very interesting.

The articles in this particular issue of Utne really made me think so much about sounds and noise. I have always been very sensitive to noise. I like peace and quiet and that's probably a deep-seated reason why I have always worked in some sort of library. I am extremely annoyed by loud-speaking individuals, lawn mower noise, slamming doors,etc. I really think we just don't understand how much damage we are doing to our hearing with all of this noise pollution.

I saw a photograph of Gwyneth Paltrow holding her daughter Apple. They were attending a performance of Apple's daddy Chris Martin's band Coldplay. You will notice that Apple is sporting a cool set of pink, noise reduction headphones. Very smart.

One of the articles in Utne was discussing what sorts of sounds people find appealing. They asked Utne staffers what sort of sounds they like. Of course I only need a small excuse to make a list so after much thought and deliberation I came up with sounds that I like.

A's voice

standing totally still in the woods while it's snowing-that whole abscence of sound is amazing (or is it really an abscence?)

children playing

wind chimes

laughter

geese honking while they are flying overhead

rustling leaves

wind blowing the leaves on the trees

wind blowing the leaves on the ground

wind blowing

the thud a big book makes when it's being closed

horse biting into a carrot or apple

rain

waves

tintinabulation-any sort,sleigh bells, but especially church bells (and before anyone starts getting on me about church-love church architecture, love the bells-don't want to go inside and listen to what's being espoused)

crackle of a fire

What are some of your favorite sounds?


"The sweetest of all sounds is praise."
-Xenophon

Monday, October 17, 2005

Flu Shot

Well, it's that time of year again. Do I get a flu shot this year or not? Every year I go through this. Yes, I have asthma, therefore I am in a high risk group so I should get a flu shot. I did get a flu shot 2 years ago at my doctor's and others urgings. Before that I hadn't had a flu shot since I was an undergrad.

I was attending an all female school and I lived in the dorms. They were always telling us to get a flu shot each year. You know, the close quarters, etc, etc. I did get a flu shot one year when I was in school and promptly caught the flu. From that point on I hadn't had a flu shot until 2003.

Last year I was furious because my 80 year old father had to wait to get his flu shot while perfectly health 20,30,40 year olds were lining up to get there shots. I was ready to smack every single one of them. I really do think there are some people who feel that if something is free they are going to stand in line to receive it. I don't care if it's shit on a shingle-if it's free they'll be there.

That being said the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has a flu shot finder on their website. Just type in your zip code and you should be able to find where to get a flu shot in your area.

yamai wa ki kara
"sickness is a thing of the spirit"
-Japanese Proverb

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday Round Up

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter was one of my favorite books when I was a teenager. There was just something about all of that angst and guilt that appealed to me. I never gave much thought to Hester Prynne having to wear the letter "A" because after all, A was for adultery-or was it.

According to the November/December 2004 issue of Mental Floss (okay I'm a bit behind in my leisure reading) "A" could also have been for Antarctica. Apparently Hawthorne wanted to visit Antarctica, but his application was rejected when he applied to be part of an expedition. A few years later The Scarlet Letter was published. A story about a woman that was rejected from society and forced to wear the letter "A". Hmmm.

I have always thought that National Geographic is the cat's pajamas. (that means good or great). I have been badgering my cable company to offer the National Geographic Channel in their Basic package, but alas they stil have not. This cam is wonderful. Give it a minute to load and then feast your eyes.

Would you like to have access to over 7,000 scholarly journals? Free Full Text does just that. Free Full Text allows either some or all of the journals content to be viewed, you guessed it, for free.

If you have ever wondered who the voice is behind AOL's "You've Got Mail" utterances his name is Elwood Edwards. Mr. Edwards has his own web page and there's also a photo.

For those in the Washington, DC area you might want to catch the Solar Decathalon. Eighteen teams of college students from around the world are constructing energy-efficient, solar-powered homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Homes in the temporary solar village will be open for public tours October 7 to 16. If you aren't in the DC area check out their website.

This is the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March. On Saturday, Oct. 15, 2005 the Millions More Movement will be commemorating that historic day. For more information on the festivities visit their site.

I have little to no interest in cars. I could very easily live some place where the main mode of transportation was feet, horse or bike. As I have stated numerous times before I am incensed by how much vehicles cost, and the cost keeps climbing and I am constantly irate at how many SUV's are on the road. Then why oh why am I so crazy about this show? One of the parts of the show that I love is when they read the credits. There's a listing on their site so get ready to chuckle.


Have a wistful weekend. I for one have been enjoying this wet, gloomy weather. I love it.

"Be who you are, say what you feel, because those that matter don't mind, and those that mind don't matter". Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Posse

Because Catharine over at The Catharine Chronicles is saying exactly what I was blathering to poor A this morning on the way to work, and because she has the exact law that I was wracking my brain trying to remember this morning on my way to work, I will let my 2 loyal readers look at what she has to say about Dubya and the possible flu pandemic. It's her October 4th entry, second entry on the page. Bravo Catharine.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Food Blogs

I have been reading a lot of food blogs lately and I came across a site that lists food blogs called International World of Food Blogs. I think this is a great list, but it doesn't include the USA. I will probably be sorry for this, but I want to create a listing of all of the American food blogs. Once I compile those I'll start on an international list.

If you have a food blog or know of any please leave me a comment.

Yes, I have become obsessed.

Friday Round Up

Yes, this is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there are oodles of ways to contribute, but this is one of the most ingenious I've seen. I used to have the laminated shower card, but this is even better.

On September 23, 2005 the American Film Institute announced the Top 25 Film Scores of all time. I agree with most of them, and was glad they have the theme to Magnificent Seven (#8) listed.

I've always thought it might be interesting to go on work field trips. You know rent a bus for the day and just go somewhere with your co-workers. As much as I hate work, I always thought this would be a good way to breed camaraderie. I think it would be a hoot to go here. Unfortunately, there aren't any in my general location, but it would be fun.

FirstGov.gov is the "the U.S. government's official web portal". It's a fairly decent site. This was put up as an aid to Katrina victims, but I think it is very helpful for anyone who needs to replace vital documents

Trains, trains, trains. I've always loved them and prefer them to other modes of transportation (like planes). Railpictures.net has a over 88,000 photographs and a really kick-ass search engine. The site can be searched by locomotive type, railroad, photographer, country or state,category or key word.

Your Daily Art blog provides a daily art lesson with images and a little bit of the history of the piece. Very cool idea.

I will admit that most of the time I feel horribly powerless to effectuate any sort of positive change in the world. Some days I actually feel that I can't even effectuate a postive change in my own life. Apparently the owner of So What Can We Do felt the same way so she developed this site. This public service weblog has a lot of great ideas of what we can do to make the world a little bit better.

I'm sure everyone has heard of Flickr, the personal photograph storage, sharing and searching site. In my wanderings I found the Libraries and Librarians section of Flickr.

That's all for now. Have a wacky, wonderful weekend.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jane Austen

While going through some papers the other day I happened to find a listing of factoids about Jane Austen and the era in which she lived. Why did I have such a thing? Why did I take the time to collect these factoids? I haven't the foggiest idea.

I like Jane Austen and I find what little I do know about her life fascinating, but I can't for the life of me figure out why I compiled these items.

I want to actually get rid of the list, but I would like to hang on to the factoids so I thought one way to do that would be to post it here. One strange thing I did when compiling this was I didn't put down what resources I used to gather this information. I am giving myself a good swat for not giving attribution.

Jane Austen seemed to dislike Ramsgate-whenever she wanted to place a fictional character in a compromising position she would send them to Ramsgate.

In Austen's time traveling on Sunday was considered disrespectful to the Sabbath.

It was customary in Austen's time to stay home on nights with little moonlight. Travel along unlit roads was very hazardous.

In Austen's day relations by marriage were generally referred to as relations of blood. The tern in-law exised, but it was more an affectation than common usage.

Only intimates of the family were accustomed to visiting before noon, while acquaintances usually paid calls before dinner.

In the prescence of several family members of an untitled family, it was customary to address the eldest child by the title Miss or Mister, with younger siblings distinguished by the title and their first names.

During Jane's time a new carriage was generally ordered made for a wedding. The groom paid for this.

A tyger was a small boy arrayed in livery, almost as a mascot, whom the rich employed to ride on the exterior of their carriages.

In Austen's day it was customary to travel about the streets in hired sedan chairs carried by a man both fore and aft.

Nuncheon was a common term for food taken between breakfast and dinner. The term luncheon did not exist.

Surgeons were considered common village tradesmen rather than the educated professionals that physicians were thought to be.

"The Monster" was a common term given to Napoleon Bonaparte.

At the age of 14 Jane wrote her first novel-Love and Friendship.

Jane died from Addison's Disease in 1871,at the age of 41. She is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

October is ...

I have been having such a hard time accessing Blogger lately. Hmmm..

As I have said previously October is my favorite month and October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, National Dental Hygiene Month, Family History Month, Lupus Awareness Month, Clergy Appreciation Month, Vegetarian Awareness Month, National Kitchen and Bath Month, Month of the Hedgehog, Auto Battery Safety Month, Spectacle of the Geese Month, Fall Car Care Month, National Work and Family Month, Children's Health Month, National Popcorn Poppin' Month, National Pet Wellness Month, Movement Disorders Month,National Arts and Humanities Month, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, International Bubblegum Month, National Statistics Month, National Eat Better,Eat Together Month, National Pork Month, Energy Awareness Month, Herstory Month, Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, Computer Learning Month, National Clock Month, National Pizza Month, National Roller Skating Month, Seafood Month, Dessert Month and National Stamp Collecting Month.

Sad good-byes to August Wilson, M. Scott Peck and Nipsey Russell. You have made me laugh, made me cry and made me think.