Thursday, March 30, 2006


There's more regrettable food here. Some funny, funny stuff. "10 P.M. Cookery" and "The Unbearable Sadness of Vegetables" are particularly amusing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Recipe corner

Stuffed chicken wins Bake-Off's $1-million prize

Way to go, chicken! I bet this is the first time a non-human has won!
Anna Ginsberg of Austin, Texas, nabbed the $1-million grand prize at the 42nd Pillsbury Bake-Off held last week in Orlando. Ginsburg won for her Baked Chicken with Spinach Stuffing in the Cooking for Two category.

Oh. I thought the chicken ... well, never mind.
Ginsburg used Pillsbury Dunkables frozen Waffle Sticks (the sticks and syrup) in two ways. The syrup is an ingredient in the sauce that the chicken gets basted and baked with, and the waffle sticks become the bread for the stuffing.

Bake-Off recipes require using at least two things from a list of qualifying products from Pillsbury, General Mills and other food companies. Ginsburg used the waffle sticks and Green Giant spinach.

It's a quick and easy dish to make and is well balanced, pairing the sweet-tasting chicken with the savory stuffing.

There is no truth to the rumor that the runner up was Roast Pork Stuffed with Uncrustables.

You can't get there from here

A tip for you: If you're trying to find out how to get somewhere, you're stopped a at a red light, and you roll down your window to ask me for directions ... I will get you lost.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Smackdown!: Girl Scout Samoas vs. the island of Samoa

Image hosting by Photobucket Samoa

What?: The best cookie sold by the Girl Scouts. Caramel. Chocolate. Coconut. Cookie. Are you drooling yet?

Pros: Chewy texture. Taste. Sheer sweet deliciousness.

Cons: If you ate a whole box, there go 1,050 calories. Not that I ever ate a whole box. Really. But I'm just sayin'.

Image hosting by Photobucket Samoa

What?: Pacific island known for its beautiful beaches.

Pros: Seriously, are you looking at that picture?

Cons: Facial tattoos are kind of scary. Island is not named after the cookie, which is surprisingly hard to find there.

Winner: I'm going to have go with the cookie.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Blessed are the cheesemakers

I love the TV blurbs in The New York Times. They seem to be written in some other language, then translated back into English with every third word missing. I guess the word I'm looking for here is inscrutable.

Monday's listings include:
8 p.m., ch. 11: Everwood: Obstacle.

9 p.m., ch. 11: Everwood: Conflict.

Well, that's paring things down to the dramatic essentials.

But my favorite listing for the coming week is a spotlight synopsis for a PBS special on Sunday afternoon--and please keep in mind this is the Times, not the Onion:
3 p.m., ch. 13: The Cheese Nun follows Sister Noella Marcellino, a nun from Connecticut, as she makes a 20,000-mile odyssey through France--and becomes a champion for artisinal cheesemaking in the process.

I'll be glued to the tube, hunk of runny brie in hand. (Don't worry--this starts right after the VH1 Classic marathon of "99 Luftballoons.")

Friday, March 24, 2006

Get your TiVos ready ... or not

'99 Red Balloons' Video to Air for an Hour

NEW YORK - They're kidding, right?

VH1 Classic will present a full hour of the English and German music videos for the 1984 hit "99 Luftballons," aka "99 Red Balloons," by German rock group Nena.

The music video presentation, to air Sunday (2 p.m. EST), caps off the cable channel's "Pay to Play for Hurricane Katrina Relief," which raised over $200,000 for Mercy Corps, a humanitarian relief organization.

Viewers could request one video to be played on VH1 Classic for every $25 donation. For a $35,000 donation, they could select an hour's worth of music videos from the 1960s through the early 1990s.

However, one viewer chose something different for his allotted hour, requesting continuous playing of "99 Luftballons," said VH1 spokeswoman Maura Wozniak.

"99 Luftballons" is a Cold-War era protest song that tells the story of 99 red balloons floating into the air, triggering an apocalypse when the military sends planes to intercept them.

In related news, VH1 will be holding a relief drive to help victims of Nena overexposure.

Somewhere, a tree is weeping

Honest-to-goodness press release regarding a magazine set to debut next month:
It is the first magazine of its kind aimed specifically at the community of frequent TV shoppers. ShopTalk: The Magazine For TV Shopping Fans will provide insight into the lives of program hosts, vendors, on-air guests, models and other TV shopping personalities when they're off camera. The spring issue of the 24-page magazine will launch in April 2006 and will be distributed across the United States, available only by subscription.

I'm pretty sure that last sentence is supposed to read: "Available only by prescription."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Word of the day: Smenita

No, it's not a real word. It's one of those word-verification nonwords that Blogger has you type in, to keep out comment spam.

I tried to leave a comment on another blog this morning and got what certainly looks like smenita to me. I typed it in and was refused. Usually when that happens, Blogger comes up with a new word. Not this time--again, smenita. Still no luck, and again the same word.

Hmm, I thought. Perhaps that's not smenita. Maybe it's srnenita.

Nope. One more attempt and ... nope.

So I gave up.

Regular visitors Peter and God Is My Co-dependent left comments for the post below. I attempted to reply and, you guessed it, got smenita again. And it still won't take, so I can't comment on my own damned blog. Is this some odd cache hiccup? I can't figure it out.

For the record, my comment was:
Peter: I used to love Tom Waits, but he completely lost me post-"Rain Dogs." It all sounds like random clanging and growling to me now. (Grrrrrrrrrrrrr CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr CLANG!)

God Is My Co-dependent: Everything you know is wrong.

UPDATE: God Is My Co-dependent points out I'm not the only one. Smenita! Smenita!! Smenita!!!

Turning off word verification for the time being.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ten albums I'd bring with me if I knew I'd be stranded on a desert island with an endless supply of batteries for my CD player

No, I don't have an iPod, but my birthday is in July (hint, hint).

Prefab Sprout: Jordan: The Comeback. Referencing Gershwin or Elvis in a song is dangerous, but Paddy McAloon pulls it off because he's that good. "Jordan" is nothing if not ambitious, about an hour long and made up of four themed sections. The second part is about Elvis (he faked his own death and is waiting for the right comeback song; he gets it, then promptly dies and goes to the moon to escape Col. Parker). The third is about girls (he's in favor of them, if a bit leery). And the fourth is about God, forgiveness, and reconciliation. See, I told you it was ambitious. Oh, and I have no idea what the first part of the album is about, though it seems to involve both girls and God.

Jane Siberry: When I Was a Boy. She's an odd one. Started out as a folkie. Went electronic for a while. Then came "The Walking," which fits no label, really. "When I Was a Boy" had the benefit of Brian Eno's production on a few cuts, and it has some of her best songs.

Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend. A power-pop masterpiece. Nothing he's done since then has come close.

Nilsson: Pandemonium Shadow Show/Aerial Ballet. If I could write songs, I'd write songs like Nilsson. (Or Paddy McAloon.)

The Beatles: 1. Yeah, you could make an argument for a number of Beatles albums, but, hey, all the hits are here.

Swan Dive: Circle. Terrific American pop duo from Nashville, for some mysterious reason more popular in Asia (they love 'em in Japan and Korea) than here. (For more info, see Swan Dive site on my list of links.)

Fountains of Wayne: Utopia Parkway. No one is putting out catchier pop songs these days. Who else could cover "...Baby One More Time" (on the "Out-of-State Plates" collection) and make it sound cool?

XTC: Apple Venus Vol. 1. Their oddest, and prettiest, collection of songs. Love the arrangements.

Nick Drake: Pink Moon. Yeah, depressing as hell, but beautiful.

Various artists: Pop Till You Drop Vol. 1

That last one is a show I put together for Theme Scheme Radio (see links at left). PTYD is the third wave of mixes I've done for myself or friends over the years. First came Radio From Hell. Not sure how many there were of these. They tended to feature very odd juxtapositions of songs. The second wave was Mood Music For Manic Depressives. Like Radio From Hell, MMFMD volumes were on cassettes, but they tended to have an upbeat side and a more melancholy side. Unfortunately, I had no tape-to-tape deck, so if I made them for friends, I don't have a copy.

Damn, I wish I had kept better records of what went on those things...

Oh, and that list is in no particular order and would probably feature at least 5 different entries if I did another list in a month.

Do share your own desert island disks in comments.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

Which is the real "reality" show?

Celebrity Garage Sale: Down-on-their-luck celebs compete to see who can raise the most money to pay back taxes by holding a garage sale. Confirmed so far: Grease's Jeff Conaway and Project Runway's Wendy Pepper. Produced by Stanley "M.C. Hammer" Burrell. On TLC.

Celebrity Cooking Showdown: Celebs (yet to be named) team with famous chefs (including Wolfgang Puck) in an elimination cookoff. Produced by Sean "Diddy" Combs. On NBC.

Celebrity Paintball Challenge: Celebs (including famed chef Wolfgang Puck) team with world-champion paintball wizards in elimination paintball-off. Produced by Chris "Ludacris" Bridges. On Spike.

Celebrity Rap-off: Celebs not known for their hustle or their flow are paired with former rap stars in a weekly elimination rap-off. Confirmed so far: Deborah Gibson, Young MC, Rick Springfield, Damon Wibley (from the Fat Boys). Produced by Robert "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle. On VH1.

For crimes against fiction? For wasting hours of my time?

'Da Vinci Code' Author Brown Takes Stand

For plagiarism? Man, that is so five minutes ago. You've got to do a lot more to get on Oprah these days.

I know next to nothing about da Vinci. So when your da Vinci-expert hero takes PAGES to realize the script he's reading is mirror writing when it took me five seconds, well, you've got a story-telling problem.

Oh, sorry: SPOILER.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday photoblogging

I bought a digital camera a year or so ago, and after that I pretty much forgot about my old film camera. Which, as it turned out, had a roll of film in it. I got it developed last weekend and was surprised to find pictures I shot in Montreal in the fall of 2004. I'd completely forgotten about them.

Anyway, here's one that I like a lot. The framing's a little off, but I like the golden color of the light coming in from the street.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Well, I'm glad it's understood by the devices

Actual E-mail I received this morning. Emphasis mine:

Dear Sir,

I reviewed your company website in detail and thought of communicating. I write to you from E---- Technologies. E---- Technologies, based out of Mumbai - India, is a diversified technology leader, focused on embedded software and services in the area of electronic. Recently we have developed a BACnet stack for ARM7TDMI core to receive message at BACnet interface and translate it to another proprietary protocol, which is understood by the devices. Its is developed on ATACD micro-processor & NOHAU ARM Emulator using eCOS, Porting of eCOS to ATACD, UART Device Drivers for eCOS, arm-AT91-elf-gcc toolchain, BACnet Stack & BACnet Services, FC Stack & Conversion Module from BACnet to FC. ...

Please let me know if we could discuss this value proposition with you in slightly greater detail.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

B---- P----l
E---- Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Slightly greater detail? Er, thanks, no.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

BTW, I recently began working from home a few days a week

The growing trend towards working from home was likely to breed a more productive and liberated international workforce, according to a worldwide survey of 941 remote and mobile workers.

The survey, conducted by SonicWALL Inc., a provider of integrated network security, and Insight Express, indicated that 76 percent of the employees surveyed believed working remotely enhanced productivity. ...

All respondents were relaxed about their personal habits when working remotely. While about 39 percent of respondents of both sexes wore sweats while working from home, 12 percent of males and seven percent of females said they wore nothing at all.

Thank goodness I don't have a video link with the main office.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Oh, it's Friday--write your own damned post

I fully intended to write an entry about the lyrics to the Oscar-nominated song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," but it's just too easy--and besides, I have to get pages to the printer. I'm just hoping they get Ann Reinking to perform it.*

*Boy, is that an obscure Oscar-telecast reference!

Friday photoblogging

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On the grounds of a monastery in Magog, about 90 minutes from Montreal.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Because if you have Ice T, you really need Ice Cube

I don't know why, but celebrities often make cameo appearances in my dreams. Sometimes, they're people I like; sometimes, people I don't care about.

Guest performances I've had in the last year or two:
--Cloris Leachman
--Cyndi Lauper
--Tony Bennett
--Justin Timberlake
--Ice Cube and Ice T (same dream)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Whew--that's a relief! I thought he was going to screw this up.

Bush Confident Bin Laden Will Be Captured

KABUL, Afghanistan - President Bush, on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, vowed Wednesday to stand by this emerging democracy despite a resurgence of violence, saying "the United States is not cut and run."

He also pledged that Osama bin Laden and other planners of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks would be caught despite a mostly futile five-year hunt.

"It's not a matter of if they're captured and brought to justice, it's when they're brought to justice," Bush said, standing side by side in the Afghan capital with President Hamid Karzai.
--Yahoo News

Let's look at this part:
"It's not a matter of if they're captured and brought to justice, it's when they're brought to justice," Bush said...

Actually, it is a matter of "if"--just as it has been since 2001.