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virtuous cooking

Does anyone else sing the phrase "beans and rice" in place of the "Jesus Christ" in the Jesus Christ Superstar theme? "Beans and rice; beans and rice. Who are you? What have you sacrificed?"

No? You will the next time you are confronted with beans and rice, I bet, now that I've put it in your head.

Anyway, since I'm running behind today, a quick picture of my lunch for the next week: beans and rice.


The red chunks are beets, tossed in with the beans during their first hour of cooking. Then I scooped the beets out, peeled them and cut them nto pieces. I put some aside for both Cory and Scott, who seem to be able to eat their weight in beets. Neither, however, will eat the black beans. Maddy, for reasons unknown, has gone from liking beets to hating them, which I found out when I tried to give beets to her when this batch came out. She will, however, eat the beans. But not the rice. Because that would make it too easy.

Long story short, I'm the only one who will eat all three in combination. Which suits me fine, because I like to not have to think very hard about what to have for lunch and know that I am my only competition for it.

It does need a little umph and I can't quite figure it out what. Feta, maybe? Thoughts? What are your easy lunches, the sort where you just make a big pot o' stuff and reheat throughout the week?

arm park rangers

I'm going to spend most of my day dealing with a student who has pushed me hard enough that I now have to push back. Since my teaching style (such as it is) is inspired by the cliched immovable object, the sheer fact that I am going to push back should tell you something about how irritated I am. Feh.

So, while I'm away, more Seth Godin:

We almost want to blame the thing we're anxious about on the person who isn't panicking. "Don't you care! Can't you see that we're all gonna die! That we're going to go bankrupt? That the world as we know it is going to end?"

More people are killed by deer than sharks, but you don't see park rangers running around like nutcases.

Read the rest of it here.

Also, the fact that the CDC has had to officially answer the question "can I get Swine Flu from eating pork?" makes me sad. We really have given up on teaching science in schools, haven't we.

Also, from Teresa Nielsen Hayden:

We are reasonable human beings. We can seek out reliable information, and have useful, reasonable conversations about issues that matter to us. So what if we’re not all experts on every possible subject? We can help each other understand. If it’s not our turn to be the expert this time, it may be our turn next week; and a good discussion makes everyone smarter.

many things make a post

* Modern Life is broken: Seth Godin on broken stuff, which is a must-watch for anyone in business, design or comedy. My favorite sign is still the first one about soccer fields.

* I'm starting to think that the best response to chowderheaded political ideas is to mock them mercilessly. If they buckle under the mocking, then they weren't all that great to begin with.**

* The next sampler I might have to make: "Thank you Internet for letting me Observe so many Crazy People from a Safe Distance."

* Have I ever told you about Robin Chotzinoff? Short version: when I worked for Metro Pulse, an alt. weekly, we used to get free copies of alt. weeklies from around the country. While the guys would wrestle for The Stranger, I would stake out the Colorado paper (I can't remember which city right now) because it had Chotzinoff's column in it. This was pre-Internets, btw. I lost track of her at some point after buying her books -- but, thanks to a wacky coincidence, I've found her again. This blog post instantly made me fall in love again.

* Yet another reason to love Craig Ferguson.

* Yet another use for mismatched teacups.

* And you thought you were having a strange day.

* The economics of breast-feeding, which is something that doesn't get talked about enough.

* Glad to see Knoxville's own Kruze Dairy getting some love. Chef John Fleer, btw, cooked one of the best meals I've ever had. Also glad to see that he's opening a new restaurant.

* If you should need a break from the doom and/or gloom, watch Max Raabe's interpretation of "Super Troopers." (roundaboutly stolen from Scalzi)

* Practical Tips for Combating Swine Flu.

* BREAKING: Because I am the last to know everything, Patty Griffin, Scott Miller and John Oates (!) did a show a la Storytellers. Here's two clips of, conveniently, two of my favorite songs ever: Red Ball Express and Rain.


** I am aware this sentence contains a huge logical fallacy. I hope you get the idea, tho.

actual knitting content, with bacteria and cat

It is perfectly normal to spend your morning arranging a 3/4s knitted sweater on a picturesque tree stump in your backyard, right? How about when it's already 70 degrees at 9 a.m.?


I just attached the sleeves* and am about four rows into the yoke. A quick knit, I must say so myself. Which I probably shouldn't have said because it will now go horribly wrong.

I also made yogurt on Saturday.


I used this story from the City Paper as a jumping off point (and their picture is much better than mine.) Fankhauser's Cheese Page is a great resource. I mostly used his recipe but cut it in half. I also called Doula K's husband (also a K, an economist, hereby known as "Dismal K," unless he informs me otherwise.) Plus, I've been gleaning various yogurty tidbits from various bloggers. So I went in with some idea, one just slightly more baked than usual.

The result is good -- I'd like a bit more tang and will work on that because there are sure to be more batches in my future. The texture is runnier than the commercial stuff but not in a displeasing way. I've been eating it with a dollop or three of local Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup. When the season permits, I'll move on to apple butter, fruit, etc.

In other news, the weather went from 37 (3 C) on Thursday to 88 (31 C) on Saturday. Which is enough to make one's head spin (and sweat, natch) because it was such a rapid shift. Upstaters don't do well with 88 degrees anyway -- but do even less well when its in April and we haven't even put our wool sweaters away yet. The trees haven't leafed out yet either, which means there's almost no shade. It'll shift again, I know. But today should be in the 90s. Woo.

Barney, however, is taking advantage.


Just out of frame is a squirrel that is about to hand Barney's ass to him. Like most teenagers, our cat B is all talk with little effective action.

* one of which I had to do a couple of times because I am not spacial. Special, yes. Spacial, no.

qotd, eat the rich edition

[Glenn] Beck has an audience that’s been trained that the rich are not appropriate targets for anger, unless of course they’re Hollywood liberals, or George Soros, or in some other way linked to some acceptable class of villain, to liberals, immigrants, atheists, etc. — Ted Turner, say, married to Jane Fonda.

-- Matt Taibbi - read his whole post here.

Also, if you are in the mood to listen to a fascinating podcast on how to get into the Somali pirate business, listen to this one from NPR's Planet Money. Random fun fact: pirates have timesheets.

Also also, Planet Money has been extra good this week. Check out this piece on how to think about a trillion dollars.

qotd, bujold bonus

Years ago I read an interview with a forensic pathologist who said he had never gone into a bad crime scene, where he had to clean the blood off the walls and whatnot, in any place where there were a lot of books.

-- Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vorkosigan Companion

Given that it has been the sort of day where time keeps getting away from me -- you know, where you look up and wonder how it can be 1 p.m. already and you've not really gotten anything accomplished even though you've been in constant motion -- you get an extra Bujold quote. Which is a good thing, imo.

On the yogurt thing, however -- Trish sent a link to this Slate piece about making your own staples from scratch. So now, not only am I totally making yogurt this weekend, I will also be forced to make bagels. Thanks, Trish. Thanks a lot.

what I did on Sunday

First - two kid-related things:

-- The Diva made it home safely, if exhausted and (I swear) a foot taller. She also desperately needs a haircut. The trip was a blast, it appears. Re-entry has had its challenges -- like, what do you mean I can't stay up until 10 p.m.? -- but we are inching back to normality. Whatever that means.

-- The Dude, for reasons known only to him, decided to strip off all of his clothes this morning and watch Spongebob au naturale. Why? I don't want to even speculate. I'm just glad he didn't pee on the couch.

So, on Sunday, the TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association) held a Stitch 'n' Pitch Day at the Baseball Hall of Fame, just up the road from me in Cooperstown.


The idea behind this event was to teach willing baseball lovers either how to crochet or needlepoint. Simple projects were on hand. Lots of kids were thrilled to give it a whirl. Most of them had a moment where their hands suddenly got it, which was great to see. One of the kids I taught, a 3rd grader, didn't want to stop needlepointing her bookmark and had to be bribed with the promise that she could have it back in the car during the ride home.

Some adults gave needlework a whirl as well. Dads seemed to stick with needlepoint; I suspect there's a Rosey Greer thing going on.


Libby and Barbara -- the TNNA folk who could not have been more pleasant and organized -- hope to make this an annual event. I'll be there.

many things make a post

* Two book industry related links: why publishers should buy each book reviewer a Kindle and why writers shouldn't pay attention to publishing trends.

* Further proof that Appalachia isn't conducive to robust mental health. I do wish there was a map to go with this, however. (A day after I added this, Gwenda found a version of the story with a map. Oh, internets. How I love you.)

* My country makes me so sad sometimes. Also.

* Why am I suddenly so taken with the idea of making yogurt? I don't even like yogurt that much. Weird.

* Mythbusters' Kari Byron is pregnant (mazel tov!) and has put together a top ten list of the unique hazards she faces in her job now that she is knocked up.

* Better Off Ted is my new favorite show -- seriously, the episode about the water fountains is pure comic gold -- and its ratings are mediocre at best. Which is just further proof that I should stop watching TV, because if I like a show it is dooooooomed.

* Knitted Peeps! How did I miss these?

* Also knitting: even though I am not a fan of super bulky yarns, I want to make a knitted quilt from Blue Sky Alpaca. The price of the kit made me choke on my coffee, however. Now researching other options.

* I'm already a big Sarah Haskins fan but she didn't  beat around the bush with this one. NSFW, if your workplace doesn't approve of laughing fits and suggestive one-liners that involve alpaca. And if they don't approve of those things, why do you work there?

hug your loved ones

I had planned to write about the Stitch 'n' Pitch at the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, which I will do this week. But not today. Kay's husband died over the weekend and, well, I just don't feel like talking about crocheted wrist warmers right this second. I'm sure I will again, mind, just not right now.

Go hug your spouse/kids/pets/family and friends. No one gets off the ride alive, granted. Sometimes the ride is just too short.