Tuesday, May 24, 2005

More filibuster

I am convinced there will still be a need for material to fill a filibuster or two. So without further ado....

Lentil Pasta Soup

olive oil
4 crushed garlic cloves
2/3 cup brown lentils
1/3 cup small pasta shapes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
vegetable broth

Cover the lentils with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, then lower heat and cook until tender, 20-30 minutes. Drain the lentils, rinse, and drain again.

In a soup pot, saute the crushed garlic in olive oil. Add the pasta and cilantro, stir and cook another 3 minutes. Add the lentils and broth (I like 'Better Than Bullion' brand, vegetable flavor for this soup - make up an appropriate volume for the amount of lentils and pasta; the soup should be fairly thin), and season with pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt or bullion if needed. Sprinkle bowls of soup with parmesan if desired; serve with a nice bread to soak up the broth.

I adapted this recipe from the book 'Pasta pasta pasta" edited by Jane Donovan. I like it better with cilantro than Italian parsley, I always use more garlic, and I tend to use the 'dump and pour' method for measuring things, so the volume of broth is adjusted to what looks good at the time. I also just cook the lentils myself, instead of using canned.

Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Filibuster time!

Way back when, Huey Long used to recite recipes during his filibuster speeches. So, here's some material for Harry Reid, in case he needs it:

Pretty decent, quick vegan enchilladas

12 large corn tortillas
1 can pinquitos (a small red bean with seasonings - I use S&W brand)
1 large can Mexican hominy
1 cup TVP, with enough hot water to moisten
1 onion, chopped
2 regular (15 oz.) cans red or green enchilada sauce
1 can diced chiles, if desired
olive oil
olive-oil flavored nonstick spray

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat about 1 tablespon of olive oil in a skillet. Add onion and saute a few minutes. Add a few pinches of oregano and about 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, and stir until onion is softened. Empty the can of hominy into a colandar and rinse until the kernels are separated. Add the TVP, pinquitos with their sauce and spices, hominy, and chiles to the skillet and stir until eveything is mixed.

Prepare two 9 by 13 baking dishes by spraying with non-stick spray, and set someplace close to where you will be filling the enchiladas.

Heat a non-stick pan or griddle to about halfway between medium and high. Put the tortillas on one or two at a time and heat until steam rises from them slightly, then turn them. When thoroughly heated on both sides, spoon a few tablespoons of the filing across the middle of the tortilla, roll it (careful, it's hot!), and place it in a baking dish with the tortilla "flaps" on the bottom. Continue until you have filled all the tortillas with the filling. I get about 6 enchilladas made with 12-inch tortillas in each baking dish.

Pour a can of enchilada sauce over the enchilladas in each dish (I like to make one red and one green dish). Cover each dish with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until it is all good and steamy.

Serve with whatever garnishes you like - minced onion, cilantro, salsa, or guacamole. You can sprinkle some cheese on those for the non-vegans in the house, or use taco sauce, Sri Racha or your favorite hot sauce. These are made mild so they can be spiced up to individual taste later. You might serve with some Spanish or Mexican rice, to balance out the protein even further.

This recipe makes 6 servings of 2 enchiladas each, and is low in fat if you watch the guacamole and cheese!


Science pop...

In a followup to the post yesterday about science pop songs..... here's a really obvious one: Kraftwerk! Examples:

Radioactivity, with geeky morse code spelling out the title, yet!

Then there are the odes to tech geekiness, Home Computer and Pocket Calculator, though you might argue those aren't strictly about science or scientists, per se.

Well, then how about O.M.D.'s Genetic Engineering or the older Electricity?

Retraction my @$$!

Digby nails it:

This little item in Newsweak is a pretext for action against interrogation techniques that are already well known. Which is why the quasi retraction over the week-end is such a chickenshit display of cowardice on the part of Newsweak. This is old news to anybody who's been paying attention. The jihadists know it, those of us following the story know it and the government certainly knows it. The riots last week in Afghanistan and now around the world are orchestrated to gin up support and their followers are already pissed off enough about this stuff to get with the program quite easily.

Look, British citizens released from Gitmo talked about these kinds of interrogation tactics months ago, as have others. Some who have been involved in training for U.S. interrogators have also said that religious humiliation is a tactic that has been used. No, this is not news to anyone who has been paying attention, and Newsweek should have been very careful about what they actually retracted. They should have stood by the point of the story, which is that these methods are indeed being used. They were put under great pressure to retract the entire story, as others have remarked, because Rummy likely doesn't want a lot of scrutiny regarding his little "psych lab."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Today's NYT has an article about folks who write pop music with scientific themes.

All in all, a decent article, though I would quibble with his muscial knowledge a bit. For example, Erard obviously isn't very familiar with Thomas Dolby's work....the title of the song is "She Blinded me with Science" for goodness' sake! Shouldn't he have mentioned Oingo Boingo? What about Brian Eno? But it's pretty obvious from the bands he does mention that he may be a little too young to know much about Eno's work (except maybe as a producer). I'm going to go look through my library for a bit, and see what science-themed music I can come up with.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Most linked-to ever?

Article in The Nation re: Bush's man for Women's Reproductive Health at the FDA.

I just have one thing to say:


Addendum: In this case, it's not just the hypocirsy - it's the sex!

Friday, May 13, 2005

The decline of the American middle class

...will inevitably lead to the decline of America as a whole.

Krugman today:

In 1968, when General Motors was a widely emulated icon of American business, many of its workers were lifetime employees. On average, they earned about $29,000 a year in today's dollars, a solidly middle-class income at the time. They also had generous health and retirement benefits.

Since then, America has grown much richer, but American workers have become far less secure.

Today, Wal-Mart is America's largest corporation. Like G.M. in its prime, it has become a widely emulated business icon. But there the resemblance ends.

The average full-time Wal-Mart employee is paid only about $17,000 a year. The company's health care plan covers fewer than half of its workers.

True, not everyone is badly paid. In 1968, the head of General Motors received about $4 million in today's dollars - and that was considered extravagant. But last year Scott Lee Jr., Wal-Mart's chief executive, was paid $17.5 million. That is, every two weeks Mr. Lee was paid about as much as his average employee will earn in a lifetime.

Kevin Phillips has been noting these same trends and drawing some conclusions about the larger implications for years. You would think that the greedy, the rapacious, the powerful would want to reverse some of these trends - not out of some sense of noblesse oblige, mind you, but for fear that they will be dragged down in the very same maelstrom, eventually.

Henry Ford, who was an authoritarian f--k and admirer of Hitler, at least recognized the fact that Ford Motors wasn't going to go anywhere as a corporation unless employees made enough to be able to afford their own car. Apparently, WalMart doesn't care whether employees can afford to shop there or not.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mountain drive

Took a Sunday drive yesterday. Stopped for lunch in Sultan, then headed east over Steven's Pass, then south on state highway 97 over Blewitt Pass. Ate dinner in Ellensburg at the Valley Cafe, then hit I-90 westbound to finish the day.

Wildflowers were blooming everywhere, including trillium, lupin, and some kind of wild daisy that looked a little like black-eyed susan (but with a large orange center, rather than brown). Another unidentified flower was one that grew in pale clusters on the steep rocky hillsides along the river just west of Leavenworth. I noted with regret that my book of coastal plants was just that, and didn't include a lot of what we would see on the eastern slopes of the Cascades.

It was a good day for birding. Last summer we saw a pair of ospreys nesting across the river from a picnic area west of Leavenworth. A couple was there with their binoculars, watching them, and told us they had nested there for several years. Many of the people stopping at this spot seemed oblivious to the birds, in spite of the insistent keening sounds the female kept making from the nest. She was quite loud at times. Yesterday, the male was perched on a snag near the nest, preening himself, until she got loud enough to goad him to take off upriver, heading west. We only got a single glimpse of her head, but we could hear her just fine. A raven coasted overhead a couple of times, and a Steller jay approached the car, obviously wondering if the coffee cup we left on the roof while we watched the ospreys was worth investigating.

Also, along with the robins, Brewer's blackbirds, red-winged blackbirds, crows, swallows, and occasional hawks too far off to be identified, we also saw many kestrels, a pair of killdeer in flight, and what I think must have been a Swainson's hawk. We heard many songbirds as well.

We saw lots of other wildlife, and not-so-wild life. Just south of Blewitt Pass we sighted a group of 4 or 5 mule deer on the hillside on the north side of the road, looking like they wanted to cross, but thankfully the traffic spooked them back into the woods. We almost hit a gopher (why did the gopher cross the road?) a few miles northwest of Ellensburg. Big weasel-marmot-looking thing! At first we didn't know what it was, because you just don't see them in the open like that! I braked and the thing decided to run back where it had come from. We saw many beautiful horses during the drive, including some new foals on still-shaky legs. I missed the large herd of llamas, though.

We didn't hit rain until Ellensburg, after dinner and on the way home - just a few intermittent showers until then. We were surprised at the lack of snow in the moountains. There were a few deposits here and there in the shadiest spots, left over from our dry winter (snowpack only got to ~30% or so of normal this winter), but the summit of Steven's Pass was well below the altitude where larger patches of snow were seen.

Friday, May 06, 2005

It's not the sex.....

It's the hypocrisy!

Republican Representative from Pennsylvania is very busy upholding the sanctity of marriage:

“I’m truly sorry. Now, I have work to do. I’m going to continue to work hard for the people of the 10th Congressional District, and to begin the healing process with my family.”

Sherwood, 64, did not explain his relationship with the woman or say why she was in his apartment. He has called her a “casual acquaintance.”

The woman, Cynthia Ore of Rockville, Md., says Sherwood has been her lover since 1999.

“When I met him he told me he was getting a divorce,” Ore has said.


“He never did get a divorce,” Ore has said. “He said he has to stay married to get elected.

Darn those family values keeping hypocritical, Republican politicians from doing just what they want to!

And here is a picture of, uh, Ms. Ore herself, with more commentary.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

It's not the sex, it's the hypocrisy!

Spokane is in the "red" half of the state....

Mayor James E. West, a former Republican legislative leader and opponent of gay rights, has been accused of molesting two boys decades ago and more recently offering a City Hall internship in a gay online chatroom to someone he thought was a young man but was in reality a computer investigator hired by a newspaper.

West denies the molestation, but admits to trolling for young men in chatrooms and having sex with men.

He sent an email to city employees stating:

The paper also reported that I have visited a gay chat line on the Internet and had relationships with adult men. I don't deny that.

I have always considered a person's private life private and have respected others in this way. I intended to keep my private life private as well.

And I apologize.

Hmm...not to pile on, Mr. West, as it seems you've been doing a good job as mayor, but wouldn't this have stung a little less if ya hadn't pushed the anti-gay thing so much before this came out (as it eventually does, when you troll in chat rooms).

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Tiger update 2

I installed Tiger after backing up my user folder, using the "update" feature. It seems to have done just fine, and preserved all my settings - not just how my dock looks (it updated the references to the new apps as well), but all the way down to the login p.list file (which I backed up thinking my login warning would be overwritten). Very cool so far.

Tiger update

Well, it looks like I'm getting Tiger here at work - one of the benefits of being the local FileMaker goddess. I haven't installed it yet, though a colleague has, and all his apps seem to be running OK. I have to do some backups and figure out which upgrade method to use....Automator, here I come, you little Robbie the Robot-icon bearing app, you!

Monday, May 02, 2005

On Broadway

Sexy, smart, Liev Shreiber does Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross). I bet it would be really interesting to contrast the performances of this cast with that of the film (which also had an excellent cast).