Monday, November 24, 2008

The Christmas Tree Reef

I just read in William Ashworth's book Great Lakes Journey about a wonderful idea they had in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. They (i.e. smart Canadians) collected discarded Christmas trees, stuck the trunks in cement, then sank the whole thing into Lake Ontario. Voila--a new reef for fish. The next year fish populations rose something like 1000%.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This year's vegetarian Thanksgiving

Last year I made these items for festive vegetarian meals around the holidays. I'd say both were better than average, though the white-bean thing gets a tad gloppy. Tomorrow, for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws (since we're going to Ohio for the actual day), I'll be making the Vegetarian Times' Holiday Cashew Nut Roast. It's true that when your vegetarian friend (or daughter-in-law) offers to bring the "Holiday Cashew Nut Roast," your smile grows a little stiff, and you say, "Wow! That sounds interesting!" But this one looks pretty good, and not too difficult. Unlike, say, the Tassajara Recipe Book's Cheese and Nut Loaf, which I guess was OK, but Jesus, it was a pain to make. The animal products are, I think, not a selling point, and it is about as heavy as a cinder block. Nothing against Tassajara, or Edward Brown, who seems like a wonderful person--but there's a certain assumption with these recipes that you are cooking as part of your Zen practice. Meaning you welcome, or don't notice, all the damn ingredients, or the fact that you forgot to cook the brown rice ahead of time (watch out for those recipe lists that say "1 cup brown rice, cooked"--the Cashew Roast has this, too). Anyway, making that loaf filled me certain un-Buddhist furor. But the Veg Times has yet to steer me wrong. Brewer's yeast is about $15 a pound, though.

UPDATE, 11-24:
So this thing turned out pretty good. I'd say 3.5 stars out of five. A few caveats: I think next time I will use roasted, unsalted cashews for more cashewy goodness. One could maybe add in other nuts, like walnuts, for variety. It should also be noted that sauteeing nuts is not an activity one can wander away from. They burn. I caught them just in time. I might make more layers: eggplant/stuffing/eggplant/stuffing/eggplant/tomatoes. But I'm like that with eggplant. I am not sure the brewer's yeast is all that necessary; you could probably use nutritional yeast, or just throw in some more herbs, like sage. Vegetarian / mushroom gravy and cranberry sauce* really do complement this.

*I finally made cranberry sauce from scratch--there's nothing to it. (I know you know that. But I grew up with the purplish stuff shlooping out of the can, so this is a thrill for me. Damn, it's good.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Slack is back

I am practicing being a glass-half-full kind of person. To that end, a Monday litany of good news:
  • Barack Obama is still President-Elect. Evidence is mounting that we did not dream it.
  • Our cat Bella took her first trip to the vet (that was bad) but she is OK. The vet is two blocks away, which is also good news.
  • The Slacktivist has resumed his Left Behind Fridays with his first critique of Left Behind: The Movie. And it includes a pretty fine explanation of why bad books make better movies than good books (even though, in this case, a bad book also seems to have engendered a bad movie, which is good news for Slacktivist fans). (OK, and technically that's Friday good news, not Monday good news, but I found it on a Monday, when I needed it a lot more.) (One thing glass-half-empty people do is nitpick about details and then use them to buffer their announcement of having enjoyed something, even though they did not, because they were nitpicking in preparation for the apology they knew they would have to issue for having pleasure.)(Well, I still enjoy the Slacktivist, and will probably save the LBFs for Mondays in the future.)
  • (Meanwhile Bella plots her revenge.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maybe not palinating

Two days later, I'm thinking--what if we just ignore her?

Growing up, I was taught that if someone bullies you, you should ignore them. Don't give them the satisfaction of reacting, and they'll go away. As anyone who's been bullied knows, this is bullshit. The solution is martial arts. Even if not applying the techniques to the bully's face and nuts, the training gives one bearing--an ever-so-subtle, don't-fuck-with-me stance. But I digress.

My point here is this: if you think of Palin as a bully, and I do, then she has to be taken down (I mean rhetorically and conceptually, not physically). The constant ridicule has been important in this regard. But what if we think of her, in addition, as a pathetic attention-sponge? Or maybe she's like those aliens in Star Trek (or the carnies in Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, which was a terrible movie, Wired's recent recommendation notwithstanding?)--what if she feeds on negative emotions, our twisted longings and resentments? We on the left have those too, you know. Since she's largely a media creature, if we ignore her, she will on some level cease to exist. Joe the Plumber has already been flushed.

Maybe I'm just finally saturated. Something snapped about 8:45 this morning when I popped over to Andrew Sullivan's for his latest SP tidbit, and, honestly, I just didn't care. (Also one of his readers begged him to give it a rest, and Josh Marshall has said the same thing--It's Over, Sarah.) If only.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Via Daily Kos, I see Sarah Palin is now both a noun and a verb. It does seem unfair to Michael Palin, who's done plenty to attach better meanings to the name.

Trev thinks I should let go of the whole SP thing, now that the election is over. I will, once I'm certain that she's been utterly and irretrievably destroyed as a political force. This Urban Dictionary entry should help.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I'm happy but...monotheism is bad

I think I'm more stunned than anything about Obama's landslide. (Is it a landslide? What's the cutoff?) I'm shocked that there weren't more dirty tricks from the Repubs. I'm amazed that after everything BushCo did, we still have a functioning democracy. Our slide into a new Dark Age has ground to a halt.


1. What Aravosis said. I'm still mad as hell at the right in this country. I do not want to offer them a seat at the table. We did that before. Each one of their asses took up at least two seats. They made us say grace to their mean, nasty little god. They threw food and knives. They spilled blood, human and animal, on our tablecloth and claimed it was their own. They hollered with their mouths full and cranked up Rush Limbaugh while we were trying to talk. Then they left us their mess to clean up.

2. And they will scorch the earth in retreat. See: passage of Prop 8, in California. This is shameful. But already the good guys are fighting back (again from Aravosis).

So here's why monotheism is bad. When there's just one god, it's too easy to confuse yourself with him. (Isn't it amazing how God always wants what I want? What a great God!) Whereas, if there are many, you have to wonder--well, Dionysis seems to want x, but Appollo wants y. What are ya gonna do? Either you throw up your hands, or you have to choose a side and let them battle it out on Olympos. Sort of like representative democracy.