Friday, August 29, 2003

Cookbook-y Goodness!

Janis's mom R just sent me The Reading Terminal Market Cookbook, and it looks *awesome*. She was in the Market, saw it, thought of me.

I started writing a thank-you note, flipped open the book, and didn't resurface until half an hour later. Obviously a good match.

The Reading Terminal Market (quoth the book) was founded in 1892 and it's still a stall market today. I loved it when we were in Philadelphia last Christmas (I loved everything when we were there last Christmas), and I'm a cooking nut, and I collect cookbooks, so this ranks right up there with The City Tavern Cookbook (said Tavern another Philadelphia landmark, and, can I coin a phrase? Gourmonument. Gourmand. Monument. You get the picture.) that Janis got me while we were there.

The cookbook is a tour of the market's history, its different types of stalls and the cuisines they serve, the people, as well as recipes.

I'm so thrilled and I can't wait to try some of these recipes!

Friday Five

I don't make a habit of Friday Five's but this is on a topic near and dear to my heart.

1. Are you going to school this year?
No. I did attend a 3-day training course for certain software in March of this year, though. I doubt that counts.

2. If yes, where are you going (high school, college, etc.)? If no, when did you graduate?
I graduated university in 1995. I did not go straight from high school to college, and the experience from being out in the world, so to speak, gave me a leg up later.

3. What are/were your favorite school subjects?
I was one of those extremely irritating children who was good at math AND english AND music. I'm sure everyone hated me for it at one time or another. My favorite subject was probably math/science. I know I always loved my science classes.

4. What are/were your least favorite school subjects?
At the time, I'd say, social science. Oh, no, duh -- Physical Education. Though, when I was doing gymnastics, and archery, even that was fun.

5. Have you ever had a favorite teacher? Why was he/she a favorite?
Plenty. I've had good teachers. One who, in fourth grade, pointed at a bunch of test scores and explained that they weren't supposed to show me this, and then told me what the numbers and graphs meant: "you can do anything". Those words have stayed with me all my life.

I like teachers who believe in what they're doing as part of their lives. My best history teacher was an Amnesty International activist. Another simply said "I hope you keep writing". Another recommended me as a chemistry tutor at a community college. Another loaned me One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch. One of my most important science teachers, in college, reminded us when we were talking about ballistics in my classical mechanics course that a scientist has to think about the implications -- political and ethical -- as well as technological, of what we might choose to do.

There are more. This music teacher, and then that one, my German teacher, my Japanese teachers, my physics teacher for whom I was the unofficial TA in high school, all the teachers in all the years who said, to all of us, "you can do this, c'mon, it'll be fun".

You get out what you put in, y'know? And I always put in a lot.

Thursday, August 28, 2003


Significant cancer susceptibility gene identified.
The new Bushabarat

Die Laughing


A very snide article on Iraq from the Moscow Times.

...the sahibs in Bush's Iraqi Raj are now doling out U.S. tax dollars to hire the murderers of the infamous Mukhabarat and other agents of the Baathist Gestapo -- perhaps hundreds of them. The logic, if that's the word, seems to be that these bloodstained "insiders" will lead their new imperial masters to other bloodstained "insiders" responsible for bombing the UN headquarters in Baghdad -- and killing another dozen American soldiers while Little George was playing with his putts during his month-long Texas siesta.
Naturally, the Iraqi people -- even the Bush-appointed leaders of the Potemkin "Governing Council" -- aren't exactly overjoyed at seeing Saddam's goons return, flush with American money and firepower. And they're certainly not reassured by the fact that the Bushists have also reopened Saddam's most notorious prison, the dread Abu Ghraib, and are now, Mukhabarat-like, filling it with Iraqis -- men, women and children as young as 11 -- seized from their homes or plucked off the street to be held incommunicado, indefinitely, without due process, just like the old days.
...The wary reporters and Raj officials displayed the usual hilarious delicacy in coming up with reality-fogging prose to protect the tender sensibilities of the American people, who must never be told what their betters are really getting up to.

This is why I love the 'net. Because Ashcroft/Bush/Rove/DeLay/Cheney/whomever can't keep me from reading this.

*long pause*

So far.
DC 9/11

Lights, Camera, Exploitation.

A made-for-TV movie on the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York.

The upcoming Showtime feature DC 9/11: Time of Crisis is a signal advance in the instant, ongoing fictionalization of American history...DC 9/11 also marks a new stage in the American cult of personality: the actual president as fictional protagonist.

Read it. Read it right now. And when you get to the line

"One of the original aspects of Soviet cinema is its daring in depicting contemporary historical personages, even living figures," André Bazin dryly observed in his 1950 essay, "The Myth of Stalin in the Soviet Cinema." It was one of the unique characteristics of Stalin-era Soviet movies that their infallible leader was regularly portrayed, by professional impersonators, as an all-wise demiurge in suitably grandiose historical dramas. So it is with DC 9/11, where documentary footage of the collapsing WTC is punctuated by the pronouncements of [actor Timothy] Bottoms's Bush.

I want you to stop and think on what it may say about US that the closest analogy for media on our 'fearless leader' is propaganda from the Soviet Union. Which is, one might note only in passing, a now-dead empire.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Religious Monument Go Bye-Bye!

Crew removes Ten Commandments monument from Alabama court rotunda

This is a tremendous victory for the rule of law and respect for religious diversity," the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said before the monument was rolled out of the rotunda. "Perhaps Roy Moore will soon leave the bench and move into the pulpit, which he seems better suited for."
Lynn's organization was among groups suing to remove Moore's monument, which he installed without telling the other eight Supreme Court justices.

I think it's highly relevant that Moore installed this monument without any supervision, or discussion with his fellow justices. I think he installed it in the middle of the night knowing full well that if he presented his fellows with a fiat accompli, none of them would do anything about it unless an outside party requested action. Ass.

There are a lot of legacy religious icons and images hanging about in our municipal buildings, and in general, I think people ignore them and get on with our supposedly-secular system. But that's not the same as bringing in something brand-spanking-new and plopping it down and saying "You will have my religion shoved up your nose every day, so there."

You know what? Christian icons make me nervous. Churches make me nervous. I always think I'll make some heathen-revealing faux pas and get stoned to death.

It's a faith I have never seen as inclusive, regardless of the monumental efforts at conversion. There's no respect for other's beliefs in any way, because Christ is the One True Path, without question.

Well, I question all the time. I'm not a Christian, I respect other beliefs (hey, they might be right) and I resent

a: the assumption that I am Christian (I'm a white American, after all, and with that Italian last name, I might even be Catholic);
b: the look of blank horror upon finding out I'm not.

So, in general I'm willing to cut some slack about iconography on buildings and crap like that, the legacy stuff, but no, I'm not willing to cut Roy Moore any slack. He knew exactly what he was doing, and that is skated the edge of inappropriate and he said to himself, consciously or otherwise, well, my religion is Right, therefore, I can and should do this.

It's friggin' insulting, is what it is, and I'm glad the momument got dragged away.