Monday, April 30, 2007

I get emails

Got a link in an email entitled "Superfund Bedroom"
It's quite odd that environmentalists have embraced the CFL, which cannot now and will not in the foreseeable future be made without mercury. Given that there are about five billion light bulb sockets in North American households, we're looking at the possibility of creating billions of hazardous waste sites such as the Bridges' bedroom.
Right. It's back to candles for me!

Common Sense

I know, I'm stealing my title, but there's only so many words in the universe, you know? When I opened up the following URL sent to me by a friend, my first thoughts were, "Of course. Of course someone should be doing this."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Not Losing My Religion

Look, I'm not in Israel right now, so I can't see what's actually going on.
I read a lot of reports (like this one) that Israeli soldiers are overtly violent, and causing clashes. Every time I see a report like that it makes me very sad, indeed. I need to feel like the side I'm on is the side of peace, and these reports do not make me feel like that.

I've been pro-Israel for so long that it's hard for me to believe these things. A voice in my mind tells me that sometimes journalists lie, or spin the truth. While that does indeed, happen, one of the other voices in my mind (what, you don't have multiples) tells me that I am not that naive, and that Israel is definitely more aggressive than I can legitimately support. Plus, the whole Lebanon debacle... I cannot believe that when Israel invaded, they didn't just go in full-force and destroy everything. Yes, that's terrible, and yes that's beyond destructive, but it would have at least declared them the winner, which their half-assed Rumsfeld-style attack did NOT.

So here's my philosophy - don't attack, and if you do attack, win. Stop acting like a brute force without a brain at home, and try to keep the respect of the people who support you.

I find I am still pro-Israel, if pro-Israel means that I want there to be an Israel. I cannot, however, support policies that eliminate all possibilities of non-violent negotiations.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My Brain's on "Dim" Today

... or so a friend told me.

Seen at the Truffle's:

What Classic Actress Are You?

Katharine Hepburn.She is an icon but beyond that, she was one of the most highly respected and talented actresses in film history.

Unconventional, Independant, Intelligent, Feisty

You are never afraid to speak your mind and make no attempt to conform to other other people's demands or social norms. You might be seen as haughty and demanding at times but you just want to make sure you do your best on your own terms. Whenever your capabilities are questioned, you end up proving your critics wrong. You have the brains and the brawn to be the alpha-female in a man's world, always holding your own. Go, you!
Take this quiz!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Cutting Edge Tactics

They're (we're?) building a wall in Baghdad. This is state of the art technology at it's best people - 16th century state of the art, that is.
And Britain's Independent newspaper reported April 11 that U.S. forces are planning a counterinsurgency operation that would seal off large areas of Baghdad, using barricades to create "gated communities" that could only be entered with newly issued ID cards.
Ah, yes, nothing says "freedom" to me like gates and mandatory ID cards! Oh, yeah!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sad News

Yesterday afternoon I couldn't take my usual route home because it was blocked by a police barricade and news cameras.
Mahwah woman's body recovered
MAHWAH – Police on Wednesday recovered the body of a Mahwah woman who drove off a rain-slicked Route 202 and into the Ramapo River during the height of Sunday's nor'easter.

...left a party in the Rio Vista section of town during the heaviest rains of the storm on Sunday night and never arrived home, police and family members said. Police said they believe she either failed to negotiate a sharp turn or lost control of the car as she was driving home.
This is very sad news, I know, but it's just not that surprising. The news told us over and over that a big, dangerous storm was coming, and this woman went driving on a twist-and-turn-filled mountain road just above the Ramapo River. There have been a few times that I've taken the long way home in bad weather, because I stopped and thought about road conditions on 202 between me and 287. I'm very sorry that this woman didn't come to the same conclusions.

Please, if the weather is bad, seriously consider whether or not your ride is dangerous. Being reasonably cautious doesn't make you weak, and it can keep you alive.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

As Seen on TV

You may or may not know, I'm a big fan of General Hospital. I love that silly soap opera. To me, it embodies all the ridiculous and melodramatic things that can ever happen to a person, all happening at once, over and over again, to the same set of people. To be fair, the set of people does change sloooooowly over time.

Anyway, lately there's a story line featuring two particularly good-looking young men, Coop and Logan.

Logan and Coop are two half-bad, half-good guys, which makes no sense at all, but that's not important right now. Their characters are two young men who are back from Iraq, where they were MP's, and in to some questionable endeavors. Every time I see them, I wonder what it is about them that bothers me. It's not their dubious moral code, that's standard for soap operas, and it's not that they're unusually good looking, also standard fare. Still, something about them just doesn't sit right. What could it be? They're just young men who went to war, and now are having trouble adjusting to life back on the home front - wait, that's it - they've come home whole and sane. That's what seems so wrong.

*bonus unverified soap-secret conjecture: I suspect that Scotty is Logan's father!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wolfman Fairies Dressed in Drag for Homicide

Holy crap. There I was, waiting in the long line of cars to see where the detour was leading us so that I might eventually get to work today, when the universe sent me a sign that I should cut it the hell out. That's when I called my boss and left the follwing message:

"Hey, it's Tami, I was trying to get to the office, but the weather wins. I've been on the road for 40 minutes and I haven't left Somerset, because oh my god is it flooded, here. I was all right until I saw the ambulance towing a rescue boat pass me. I'm going to head home where there's a foot of water in the basement, I can do some work on the laptop without logging in."

OK, I exaggerated, there's only about 8 inches of water in my basement. And really, I'm only going to do the amount of work I have to in order to keep from screwing up my deadlines.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

About the Weather

I live in New Jersey. Whatever powers that be seem to be attempting to put my state into the ocean. While one friend calls to tell me that she's been evacuated from her house because the water was coming up the steps, another tells me she's gone for a walk outside because it's "just rain".

I'm somewhere in the middle with a sump pump that can't handle the pressure. I'm glad I keep my things in the basement in plastic bags and bins.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Imus Fired, Breaks Corzine's Leg

I am completely shocked that Imus' radio show has been cancelled. See, I never thought he was funny, but after 30 years, I didn't think it mattered any more what he said. Well, the world went and proved me wrong, when an off-hand insult to women athletes that was probably uttered without significant thought caused a giant uproar.

The hoopla in the media went so far as to get to the point where Imus was to apologize in person to the Rutgers women's basketball team. The meeting was to take place at Drumthwacket, and Governor Corzine was to attend.

Yes, he was scheduled to be there, but on his way, his SUV was hit by a white truck that swerved when cut off by a red truck. A lot of trucks in this story. Now Corzine's in critical but stable condition, with a laundry list of broken stuff:
When Corzine arrived at the hospital, doctors said he was conscious but had suffered several injuries: a femur bone broken in two places that had lacerated his skin, a broken sternum, six broken ribs on each side, a head laceration and a minor fracture on a lower vertebrae.
So here's my logic - if Imus hadn't been so flippant about other people's reputations and feelings, Corzine wouldn't be facing months of rehab. Bad Karma going on here, people.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


"Goodness me the clock has struck / Alackaday, and fuck my luck"
- Kurt Vonnegut(1922-2007), Slaughterhouse Five

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Trend Towards Food Blogs

Sharon GR has one, Jill is talking about starting one, Tata's blog has long been food inclusive, and we all know of my fascination with cheese, and perhaps now, brisket.

Head CakeI haven't ever even mentioned my fascination with making cake sculptures. (I should have trimmed that mustache a bit, huh?)

Dino Cake

Still, last night, as I wandered close to awakening, I very vividly dreamed of making up a pan of scrambled egg whites with shallots in truffle oil. When I actually did awaken, I realized that I don't have any truffle oil and I was disappointed.

Now I wonder why so many smart women I know are thinking about food so much, lately. Is it because politics has finally sent our brains running to something we can actually control? Maybe, but at least this neurotic retreat contains actual nutrition.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just a Quick Comment

Re: The whole Imus dust-up.

Insulting the looks of a women's basketball team is just mean, whether you use racist terms or not. When I heard that the whole conversation started off with a disparagement of women who have tattoos, my first thought was "Jeez, Imus is old and out of touch, all right".

Do people talk about how the Seton Hall players look? Not that I can recall...

I also don't think that Imus deserves the free publicity, but here I am, talking about it, anyway.

Friday, April 6, 2007

My Local News Sometimes Goes National

Perhaps you've heard about the FBI agent shot at the scene of an attempted bank robbery, yesterday April 5, 2007? They caught two of the perpetrators yesterday, and I read that today they've caught the third.

The robbery attempt was in Readington Twp, NJ, which is in my county, and not all that far from my gym. It was all anyone could talk about around the treadmills last night, which made it kind of surreal when it was on the TVs over the treadmills at the same time. All three of the alleged criminals are from New Brunswick, the town next to mine, so my whole ride home was peppered with an actual dragnet of cops. They were everywhere, man. My ride home was creepy. Also, my ride home was conducted at exactly the speed limit. Now I know it takes me 28 minutes to go 8 miles.

I find it odd to read that this is the first FBI agent to be killed by a bullet in 10 years. I also find it odd to read this:
The authorities said the robbers in those cases wore ski masks, baseball hats, black gloves, hooded sweatshirts, trench coats and work boots, and carried a big money bag.
A big money bag? Did it have a dollar sign on the side of it or something?

All of it seems surreal to me, even though I saw the effects of it on the area first hand.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

I Love the Internets

...and what they can do for targeted marketing.

Yes, I just got an email from Lawry's, makers of the seasoned salt that I keep in my pantry. Recipies! Inspirations from their test kitchens!

I am very amused, and now I find myself wondering what's in the Lawry's seasoned salt. I assume paprika, because it's orange...

OK, I looked it up: Salt, Sugar, Spices Including Paprika and Turmeric, Onion, Cornstarch, Garlic, Tricalcium Phosphate (Prevents Caking), Paprika Oleoresin (For Color), Natural Flavor, Soy Lecithin. Contains NO M.S.G.

Hmmm. I don't like it when an ingredients listing tells me what's not in there. Like the hair conditioner that says on it "contains no wax". You know it says that because it's waxy enough that people would ask.

So, back to the seasoned salt. I could do without the sugar, and the cornstarch, the soy lecithin and the nebulous "natural flavor". Maybe I'll just buy a bottle of turmeric and see if I can't mix up my own. Salt, paprika, onion & garlic I've got.

Now I'm depressed. I liked that stuff.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

And More Things

Running Scared is back up, and I am no longer pissed off at Powerblogs. Turns out we both made mistakes, although I believe that I made fewer than they did.

I was right, no one could make it to the first seder. No worries, I stuffed everything in the fridge and freezer and we had a lovely time last night. Brisket just gets better when you let it sit, anyway.

Only one of my personal projects is done, ugh.

I hope to get back to the point of writing political opinion any day now, but in the mean time, I feel like sharing the brisket recipe I used. I started out with the recipe by Emeril from the Food Network site, but when I saw that his called for ketchup, chili sauce & brown sugar, I decided to deviate.

Tami's Brisket
1 beef brisket, mine was 4.7 pounds
4 cups broth or stock, I used chicken broth, because it's what I had
Garlic cloves - lots of garlic cloves
1 medium onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
Lawry's seasoned salt
Onion Powder
Dried Thyme
Coarse ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

(like I said, I start out like Emeril)
Using a paring knife and your fingers, make holes in the brisket and stuff them with whole garlic cloves, all over. I recommend making the hole then stuffing, rather than making multiple holes and trying to figure out where they were when you go back.

Place brisket in baking dish/pan, and put in oven to brown (about 5 minutes)
Turn brisket over and brown it on the other side.

Turn the oven down to 350.

Add enough liquid to go to about 1 inch deep in the pan (don't remove the brisket). Tent with foil. Continue cooking about an hour.

Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the onions. Adjust heat so that they're cooking slowly, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they're carmelized, about 20 minutes. Remove onions from heat.

(this is where I broke away from the recipe)
When the hour is up, add the carmelized onions and the rest of the spices to the meat. Replenish liquid if necessary. Turn the brisket over, season the other side, and return to oven, 1 hour.

After an hour, turn the brisket again. Tent if it looks like it's drying out. Add more liquid if necessary. Return brisket to oven.

After another hour, test the tenderness level of the brisket with a fork. If it's still too firm, continue cooking, and check every 20 minutes or so. I took mine out at the 3-hour 40-minute point. Your brisket should not be so tender that it falls apart, or you won't be able to slice it.

Let brisket rest 10 minutes, slice it (against the grain). Reserve pan juices to serve with the meat.

Brisket can be served immediately, but invariably tastes better if it's chilled for at least a day and then served re-heated.

Everybody liked the meat. I especially loved the way the garlic cloves looked when I sliced it up.

Monday, April 2, 2007

So Many Things

So the first thing I noticed this morning is that Running Scared is down. No response yet, btw, so I'm still pissed off.

Then, I went and checked for bad news on the blog of a friend. Bad news obliged me by showing up right on top.

Then, I tried to get a handle on the 3 projects I'm doing at work.

I have 2 personal projects I need to get a handle on, today, as well.

I have 1 personal project that I need to let go of because I just can't figure out when to do it (I probably could have been doing that instead of this).

My cousin is still in the hospital after her back surgery, causing everyone stress, because we thought she'd be home by now and she didn't think that she'd hurt as much as she does.

Tonight's the first seder, and I don't know if anyone in my family, including me, is going to be able to show up.

I cooked a brisket yesterday, anyway.

Powerblogs is Pissing Me Off

When I tried to ask them how to pay for a blog, they completely blew me off.

Months later, they sent me a threatening email stating that if I didn't pay immediately, that they would take down Running Scared. The email also included the instructions for how to go about paying that I had been waiting for all along.

So, I went, and I followed their directions, and I set up payments. I replied to my email threat, and the email bounced. I found that very disconcerting, but when the payment went through, I assumed it would be all right.

Well, today Running Scared is down, with the message that the blog has been cancelled for non-payment.

They have my money. It's not a lot of money, but it's what they asked for.

I'm pissed.