Tuesday, March 31, 2009

another blog to check out

Smittenkitchen: This one isn't as funny as the last blog Lynnis said to check out, but its good in another way.
Its a cooking blog (that also has really nice photographs). So far I've made Chocolate Stout Cake, Giant Chocolate Butter Cake (a 1/4 recipe makes 18 cupcakes, 1/2 recipe makes 3-9" rounds), Lemon Cake, and Meatball Sliders (with ground turkey). All were very good and not too complicated...as you can see, I make lots of cakes. I know a lot of you are vegetarians, so here is the list of vegetarian recipes on her site. Also, here is a list of all her recipes involving chocolate (i'm not actually sure if it is complete).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Public Record

Lona just turned me on to case search. You can see the history of any court proceedings entered in Maryland. Of course I looked up everyone I could think of.... boy did I learn some juicy things. For instance, my one time romantic interest currently has 10 separate criminal cases against him (though that's not as many as he deserves).

You totally need to check it out.

The ticks of the clock of life.

Yesterday, as is known to many of you, Matt and April were married at Chapman's Landing. It occurred to me that the aggregate numbers of newborn viewings, weddings, funerals one attends are the ticks of the clock of ones life. They are part of the rhythm of life and are an essential part of it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Art Opening

Some people have expressed interest in knowing what goes on at an art opening. I happened to catch some video of some cultural elites hobnobbing at just such an event recently.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's cheap but it ain't free

On eating cheap:

I went to safeway for lunch and spent $2.15! Here is what I got...
Small clamshell of field greens at salad bar. I avoid the heavy stuff but splurge and add edamame and bleu cheese. I skip the dressing and add balsamic vinager and a sprinkle of sugar I keep at work. Salad bars are the cheapest way to buy field greens and baby spinach. Expect to pay $4-$7/lb vs $11/lb if you buy it in a bag. Spent $0.86

Bakery roll= $0.59
Dannon yogurt= $0.70
Total= $2.15

It taste purdy good!

Hilarious Pursuits

You MUST go to www.boobbator2009.blogspot.com

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Computer woes

My computer is hosed. Don't expect normal email for a while.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gross National Happiness

I am reading a book about Baltistan (in the Himalayan region of Pakistan) that is helping me get over my "we're doomed!!!" phase. Everyone there is poor, basically just clinging to the side of a high mountain, but what they value most is literacy. I don't see why we won't maintain literacy after the crash. It was also in the Himalayas, in the tiny country of Bhutan, that the king decided that there needed to be a new way to define prosperity, that would measure actual well being rather than consumption. He called this measure "Gross National Happiness". An important point was that there should be an infusion of moral and cultural values into the core of the economic policy, something that has been clearly lacking in the US. In using instead the "Gross National Product" to define prosperity, we have clearly been following strategies that have left people with more material possessions, but less psychological well-being. In the New Economics Foundation (NEF) study of 2006 of world happiness the USA ranked at the 150th place.
In a white paper on Gross National Happiness, Med Yones of the International Institute of Management suggests that the role of government should shift from managing economic growth to socioeconomic development.
"American public policy should shift its focus from:

  • The standard of living to the quality of life
  • Material possessions to well-being (physical, mental, and material)
  • Unsustainable economic development to sustainable environmental development
  • Consumerism to investment
  • Economic-driven education to socioeconomic-driven education

  • Government can also make substantial improvements by implementing the following recommendations:

  • Simplify people’s lives through reformed civil laws and taxes.
  • Establish new tax and budget policies in line with public mental, emotional and physical wellness goals. For example, provide funding for the promotion of positive psychology and cultural education in schools, workplaces and public media.
  • Shift policy priority from waging wars - a major source of socioeconomic stress and long-term liability - to local socioeconomic development and foreign collaboration."

  • So, as the flawed economies of mainstream western development model, based on capitalism and free-market enterprise, plunge over Himalayan scale cliffs, it could be just the opportunity we need to reconstruct our economy on a much improved model that is based on principles of life and well being.

    Friday, March 6, 2009

    Amazing Old Photo of San Francisco

    I ran across an amazing old photograph of San Francisco bay and its docks. The wonderful thing about modern technology such as photography and subsequent storage thereof on the internet, is that we now have a much better perspective onto history than formerly. We even have photos of Abraham Lincoln available.

    Another amazing piece of historical detective work is an old carbon soot on paper tracing of a person singing "Au Claire De La Lune". This was done long before the invention of the phonograph by Edison. The person who made it, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, was investigating sound and never knew that modern technology from Lawrence Livermore Lab today would be able to replay the song.

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    Applies to both Corporate Handouts and to Poor

    This sounds like a good quote to put up re the bailout:

    “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

    ~~~The late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931- 2005

    Sunday, March 1, 2009

    Yellowjacket Hate

    My ever clever brother Jon, last summer and other times, put up a vacuum cleaner near some tempting spoiling pears and apples in order to suck yellowjackets into the vacuum cleaner. He succeeds in capturing around a cubic foot of them at a time. It is a wonderful sight to see for anyone who has ever been stung by yellowjackets.

    Today I ran across a web link to someone who has done the same thing. Because the pictures are ready made, I don't need to find Jon's pictures. If you hate yellowjackets, all this is a good trick to know.

    Empty Pockets Blues: AIG

    I'm one of those people who didn't know what AIG was until a couple of months ago. Now, thanks to taxpayer bailouts to AIG of 150 billion dollars, it has piqued my interest to learn more. There is a good piece in the NY Times that explains all. This includes full description of scams that, even now, our bailout money is perpetuating.

    "Here’s what is most infuriating: Here we are now, fully aware of how these scams worked. Yet for all practical purposes, the government has to keep them going. Indeed, that may be the single most important reason it can’t let A.I.G. fail. If the company defaulted, hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of credit-default swaps would “blow up,” and all those European banks whose toxic assets are supposedly insured by A.I.G. would suddenly be sitting on immense losses. Their already shaky capital structures would be destroyed. A.I.G. helped create the illusion of regulatory capital with its swaps, and now the government has to actually back up those contracts with taxpayer money to keep the banks from collapsing. It would be funny if it weren’t so awful."

    We own 80% of this company now. Whaaaaaaaa.