As someone who watched the Iranian Revolution of 1979, what is happening this week in Egypt is eerily familiar. I've told people who don't remember names like The Shah, Ayatollah Khomenei, and only know about the Iranian Hostage Crisis from the history books... "Watch what's going on in Egypt. It was like this... but this is bigger."
Watching all the talking heads speculate about the price of oil about to skyrocket thanks to the vanquishing of President Mubarak and the Islamic revolution unfolding there ...(not 2 weeks ago they were playing with the idea of gas at $5 per gallon)... and urging us to consider a plan to dig in and buy gold and silver, I wonder why noone seems to be linking that other Muslim government dissolution in Lebanon.
Both of these Muslim states are in crisis. Both have at their core the fanatical, anti-American Muslims stoking the fires that are enraging the citizens. True, Beirut isn't burning. Today. It's been pretty orderly over there from what we've seen considering the country is government-less. But when the various factions all assume shared control... it's a certainty more blood will be shed.
We can only hope that some of the thugs burning down their own country leave history untouched. I had the fortune of seeing King Tut's treasures as a small child in San Francisco. It would be remarkable if my own children could one day see them all as well.
One of my very favorite Congressmen, Rep. Mike Pence (IN-R), announced that he's not going to throw his name into the hat of 2012 Presidential contenders.
I'm reading in various stories that I am simultaneously, upset, disappointed, perplexed, abandoned and downright apathetic.
Oh, and secretly thrilled that Sarah Palin will have one less conservative to run against. Bizarre. Now, I don't think anyone's looking for some testoripped superhero to fly in and save the day. (At least I hope not.)
But the current stable of candidates has some tired rides. And I love Sarah. She has a phenomenally captivating spirit and a gift for communicating the conservative message to the rest of America. But I don't think she's Presidential. Not just yet. Maybe not ever.
I don't mind waiting for Pence. I think his seeking the Governor's seat is the right move for a Congressman seeking the Presidency.
Image courtesy: Uncrate.com
Hubby's been playing one of the hottest new titles for gamers and apocalypse junkies alike: "Fallout: New Vegas". I'm impressed that the graphics for these games, and not just the mini movie fillers in between quests or missions, are getting quite realistic.
Role-playing a survivor in some kind of post-civilization world always makes me wonder what it would really be like. Like reading "The Stand"... I always end up thinking "What If?"
If there is an 'If' I would love to be prepared, with a bunker full of canned goods, water and some kind of surreal hydroponics vegetable and herb garden that produces an indoor rainforest that not only sustains us but produces lots of fresh air and moisture. Two things that most of these "we blew ourselves up" scenarios always seem to be missing.
Ask yourself the question. "What If?"
What would you do to survive?
Photo courtesy: Auto Evolution
The northeastern U.S. got walloped with another snowstorm this week. The 3rd big one to hit this season, and while another 1/2" or so falls right now the national weatherman is gulping while he describes next week's "debilitating" storm that is expected to visit us again. You kind of expect that from the new guys... the ones who've never seen a storm knock out power to thousands in less than an hour. Not the national guys.
Okay so maybe what's hit us so far isn't quite as bad as the picture above... that was like, 2007.
And it's what it felt last night before last when Hubby and I found ourselves reliving our Death Valley days in a whole different kind of "desert." I'll save that story for another time. But a simple act like visualizing 'hot' words such as "sizzle" "burn" "lava" "thermogenesis" "furnace" and "scorch" that make you feel kind of toasty while you're trying not freeze to death in the middle of a blizzard.
Image courtesy: I Hate the Media
It's probably easier to find wrestling t-shirts on Trappist Monks than the President's birth certificate in Hawaii.
Hawaii's current Governor didn't think there would be a problem putting this whole issue... and those ridiculous, racist birthers... to pasture when he but a candidate, and assured us all that would be one of his first orders of business as Governor.
Sure enough, he hit the vaults of all those Vital Records eager to proclaim himself as victorious as his hero Obama... what do you know: the President's Birth Certificate could not be located. And the Governor was forced to admit same:
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie suggested in an interview published today that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist within the vital records maintained by the Hawaii Department of Health.
Got it? Even though the former Director of Health in Hawaii claimed to have personally seen the real thing. Personally. As in... In Person... it no longer exists. Has anyone asked the former director what she did with it after she viewed it?
Does anyone believe her original story? or the current Governor's for that matter which has now become "it's against the law to show you".
Anyone have any truth serum?
Image courtesy: A Woman Around Town
The oldest daughter, who is constantly reminding us that she is "19 yrs old!", is days away from no longer being a teen.
I'm not sure if she is expecting a semi-transformation being able to drop that 'teen' designation from her age but she seems to expect... something. Now I won't say that she's running around dropping hints that she'd love the new Samsung Galaxy for her birthday or collecting new car brochures and strategically placing them around the house for us to stumble over. As a matter of fact, all she really asked for for the big day was:
"Can you make a Cake?"
"You know. THE cake."
I of course know what she means. The Mocha Toffee Crunch Espresso Chocolate Ganache-topped layer cake.
I smile and wink and wonder... Would she mind so terribly if her mom, who wants just one more reminder of her as a girl... baked her a princess cake instead?
Photo courtesy: catherinepham
I skipped tonight's State of the Union, a man-made disaster, in favor of prepping some hand-made comfort food.
The occasion? No, it wasn't anyone winning the bingo pot, a raffle, or even a disability appeal. But it was special nonetheless:
My local market received a lovely bunch of graffiti eggplant...
Now a lovely grill would've been gorgeous across the flesh but... being that it's dead of winter and my grill is hibernating, I'm down to in-home cooking styles. And while I adore eggplant parmagiana but I didn't want to drown it in sauce.
So I dragged out the ratatouille recipe to showcase some other wintery veggies and roast up some eats to warm our tummies.
If you've never had this amazing dish, you must. Pretend it's not French if that's a problem... or if it's not - then savor it as if it was made for you at a country villa.
One thing you might learn to do really well as a mom, or pretty well, is bake.
I'm already getting ready for L's classmates to have a Valentine's party and working through ideas to send over for all the kids. It's a lot more fun stuffing your daughter's friends with baked goodies because you know in just a few short years they're going to be Facebooking (yes, I used that as a verb. all the kids do it.) the
safest diet pills in between status updates trying to mimic a cross between Plato and Iron and Wine.
Ah yes, daughters. It's an unfortunate fact of life. Somewhere along the line they grow up and lose most of their good taste.
But very few of them lose their taste for mom's cakes and baked sweets. It's worth learning how to make it memorable for 'em.
Image courtesy: Laylita
Down with macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti and meatballs, hotdogs and hamburgers!
Every time I think my kids might resent eating "out at home" every night, I make that dish they universally enjoy so much I'm left with 3 clean plates.
Even baby C can't get enough of this one. I know it's not a traditional recipe, but I call it Arroz con Pollo just the same. It has enough of the elements where calling it simply Rice with Chicken or Chicken with rice wouldn't be right...
I don't even have a recipe written down anywhere, yet. It's the easiest thing in the world to put together... if you have a market with an International aisle in your neck of the woods. I realize there are a lot of Goya ingredients as that's what my market carries. But I do recommend them for quality and taste.
Here's my take, by request. (don't ever tell me I didn't share it with you, D):
8-10 chicken thighs, skin on
2 cups of long-grain rice
Goya sofrito (tomato)
3 qt of chicken stock
garlic, cilantro, avocado
seasonings: ground cumin, Goya adobo seasoning, 2 Goya sazon packets, bay leaf, kosher salt & fresh ground pepper.
Preheat your oven to 375. Now on your stovetop crank a burner up to high heat and pour 1 TB of vegetable oil into a heavy cast iron dutch oven to coat. Sprinkle a mix of cumin & adobo on the skin side of the chicken thighs then place into the pot when sizzling hot. I usually cook them in batches of 4-5 thighs at a time. Salt the tops of the thighs then flip when the skin is brown, cook for another 3-4 mins. We're just browning the chicken here, not trying to cook it through.
When the chicken is browned, remove and put aside for a few minutes. Put the minced garlic into the pot, still on high heat and brown for 1-2 mins, then add the rice and 3-4 TB of the sofrito. Stir with a wooden spoon constantly to keep from sticking, cooking the rice for 3-4 mins and coating every grain. Pour in the chicken stock and add the sazon seasoning packets. Crack in some fresh ground pepper and add some more salt to taste. Stir well, then add the chicken thighs back to the pot. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil, continuing to stir the rice so it doesn't stick to the bottom and burn.
Once the pot is boiling, cover and move the whole pot into the oven. Bake for 1 hour at 375 or until the chicken is falling off the bone and the rice is tender.
Serve with chopped cilantro and avocado slices, and for a nice punch - a scattering of broken stuffed Spanish olives across the top.
Like I said, not exactly traditional but a well-enjoyed alternative in our home.
This one's so good that its aroma even draws out the Mister from the depths of his cigar humidor for a plateful.
Dinner, with love.
Image courtesy: British Library
Truth is Libel and the World is Upside down.
The phrase of the week is "Blood Libel." If you don't know what that is and you found yourself here, well, you're lying.
It's fascinating really to have such a thing be such a monumental media event in wake of the murder of several American citizens.
Citizens spanning from a lovely girl whose birth on 9/11 was to our America rather like the Phoenix, and it wasn't far from another Phoenix where she fell... to a Federal Judge who was so devout he went to mass and prayed every single day... to the Congresswoman whose every move is immortalized by a tweep... to a loyal man who tackled and covered his wife with his own body and then gave his life to protect hers... the list goes on and I don't omit the victims to say they are any less important than those here.
It's difficult to weed through all the pundits and fear-mongers and politicians, especially considering they all came from the same primoridal ooze and find anything of anything worth engagement. Especially when you realize what it's all about.
Everyone is busy accusing each other of ... well, telling the truth.
When I discovered that one of the Republican darlings of the last election pulled a such a political stunt to be disbelieved... that I questioned it. And disclosed it. And found myself looking over a desert of heads buried in the sand. Everyone would much rather skip past the truth of it all and hop around through all the ads for botox and nutrifoods and purchasing the best fat burner for men that government money can buy.
Truth, is Libel.
Image courtesy: PaulC at FM Gallery
So after a marathon session of watching the four available seasons of "Friday Night Lights" on Netflix the family pondered how long it would be before Season 5 became available. So we made MLK our Monday movie night and watched the film itself, again. That a book inspired the movie that inspired the television show is nothing new, but that they are individually quite brilliant at times is something wondrous.
The cast of each is something else. I of course prefer the TV show, mostly because we spent more time with the characters. Watched them grow and mature over the seasons and sometimes change from characters we couldn't stand the sight of to kids we hated seeing take flight.
It's rather refreshing to watch a generation which, while managing to avoid jokes about acne treatment, balances both their the microcosm of their own highschool with the macrocosm of their families and town. And of course their place in the world beyond and how something as simple as football will carry them there. Not a lot of time is spent on character development anymore, whether it be in TV shows, movies, or even books. So it's always something to share when you find the gems that do.
Really, how did we ever survive without our creature comforts like TiVo and Netflix?
The one year I really wished I had tuned into the Golden Globes, I didn't.
I long ago grew weary of all award shows while watching truly talented vehicles and actors be cast aside for winners who were politically correct or politically popular or just... all in the family.
There wasn't a lot of nepotism at this most recent event however as the host Ricky Gervais managed to offend the delicate sensibilites of Hollywood's upper crust with over an hour of introductions-come-roasts:
Taking a pop at Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp for their film The Tourist, he said: ‘Seems like everything this year was three-dimensional. Except the characters in The Tourist.
‘I tell you what, I’m jumping on the bandwagon, because I haven’t even seen The Tourist. Who has?’
To gasps from the Beverly Hills audience, he referred to one film featuring ‘two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay, so the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists then’.
Gervais added: 'My lawyers helped me with the wording of that joke.'
The comedian also said that Sex And The City 2 should have won the special effects award for ‘the team that airbrushed that poster’.
'Girls, we know how old you are. I saw one of you in an episode of Bonanza.'
And he introduced Robert Downey Jr by saying: ‘Many of you in this room probably know him best from such facilities as the Betty Ford Clinic and Los Angeles County Jail.’
Sauntering on stage, Downey took a little bow, then quipped: 'Aside from the fact that it's been hugely mean-spirited, with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show is pretty good so far, wouldn't you?'
Bruce Willis was unimpressed after Gervais referred to him as ‘Ashton Kutcher’s dad’. (Kutcher is married to Willis’s ex-wife, Demi Moore, and is stepfather to their three daughters.)
He walked on to stage and said pointedly: 'Some people get very lucky in Hollywood, don't they Ricky',
Gervais also let rip when he introduced Toy Story's Tim Allen and Tom Hanks.
He went into a lengthy list of all of Hanks's achievements and accolades over the years before adding: 'The other ... is Tim Allen.'
Hanks said: 'We can recall back when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian.'
And Allen added: 'Neither of which he is now.'
Ouch. No one is very fond of truisms or near-truisms these days. The flattest comeback seemed to have been implying that Comedian Gervais should focus on hawking the best fat burners for men. To have been a fly on the figurative wall. It isn't so much reveling in schadenfreud but wishing I had seen them show how very thin-skinned they are when they think that all should be blessing them for the gift of entertainment.
As an aside... if anyone who DOES watch these award shows can tell me why "Glee" ranked in multiple categories without the reason being politically correct or politically popular hot button issues, I am all ears.
Usually our Christmas tree makes it through a good chunk of January. One especially hardy tree made it to February. Our tree this year made it to the 2nd day after Christmas. It wasn't bad enough that because of the cats and the kids the bottom half of the tree was bald as all of the ornaments migrated north to escape their reach.
Our tree this year had a terrible needle shedding problem. Every day, piles of needles adorned our carpet in a large fuzzy ring. Putting the ornaments away and all of the outside lights and tucking away the kids' stocking til next year always pulls the heart strings.
But I just think about the madness: the wrapping paper wreckage, burned cookies, missed plans, the crying daughters mad that their sisters got what they wanted, daughters crying that they broke what they wanted, daughters crying about presents noone really wanted at all... now throw in the needle rug and I think next year I'm going to keep it simple and buy gift cards.
h/t Tammy Bruce for coining tonight's event so succinctly. Follow her.
If I had no idea the memorial for the victims of the Tucson massacre was being held tonight and merely just randomly turned on the TV, I'd have assumed that Obama was either at a campaign stop or a pop rock concert.
Hollering, clapping, cheering, screaming in glee.
But this was a memorial service to honor the dead and maimed. Earlier I wrote about the disgrace that was the Obama's administration making a simple slogan and logo for a memorial. They beat that by branding the memorial and passing out free campaign-style t-shirts to honor... uh... the dead? the victims? Obama?
I made it through most of the speech, wishing I could mute the hysterical feminine shrieks at horribly inappropriate times and wondered where in this crowd we are expected to find a future leader. Twitter was moving as fast as I've ever seen as endless numbers of people verbalized their unease and anger and embarrassment at the spectacle. When it ended, Obama spoke to members of his admin, some of the family members.. then appeared to be mobbed by cameras, cell phone cameras and ... event programs! I couldn't be sure if he was signing his autograph or passing out souvenirs from a branded box cigars.
It ended and I can't help but wonder: Is this what we've become? Is a tragic and hurtful death so meaningless to us now that we brand it and laud it and cheer the discussion about it loudly and call it healing?
Image courtesy: Rising in Phoenix
Even I am in disbelief at the lack of sensitivity and common sense on display by the Obama administration in the wake of the Tucson massacre. Keeping with Rahm Emmanuel's belief to never waste a good crisis, Obama is readying his campaign entourage for an event in Tucson, Arizona.
He's even had his people make up a fun and lively slogan AND made-to-order logo to show he's really serious about this... mourning stuff:
Memorial for the Victims of the Tucson Shooting: “Together We Thrive: Tucson and America” starts at 6 p.m. at McKale Center (just west of Campbell Avenue, north of E. 6th Street) at the University of Arizona, Tucson and is free and open to the public.
“President Obama will speak at a memorial event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 to support and remember victims of the mass shooting in Tucson, and to lift the spirits of those who have been personally affected by this tragedy.
University of Arizona President Robert Shelton, state and federal officials will also speak at the event. The event will include a Native American blessing, a moment of silence, a poetry reading, and a presentation of a chain featuring messages from the public. The event, Doors will open at 4 p.m. Attendees should arrive early because a capacity crowd is expected, and there will be increased security due to the President’s presence.
The irony of this is really something else considering Loughner supposedly adored Obama but hated Giffords. Does any of this resemble a Presidential visit honoring a near-murdered and gravely wounded Congresswoman, a murdered Federal Judge, murdered American citizens including a little girl, or the remaining dozen maimed and wounded Americans? I sure hope that someone is watching the security cameras because this whole affair sounds below board.
And what about the Native American blessing? We've heard Rep Giffords is Jewish, and that Federal Judge Roll was Catholic. Are the remaining victims, surviving and deceased, all Native American? Or is this more religious and political cowardice on display as we're expected to pretend Judeo-Christian beliefs are NOT predominant in this country?
Photo courtesy: aiddy
For years I've been dying to learn to pickle and can. Probably ever since I was a kid at one of my half-dozen grandmothers' homes and saw, sampled and savored her Homemade pickled okra and canned strawberry jam. As an adult I'd search the grocery shelves for the okra and when I actually found it would nab a jar or two, always delighting that I'd found a childhood food memory.
It wasn't quite the same of course. Grandma had long passed as had her canning secrets so buying my memories in the market was as close as I was going to get.
Unless I figured out how to do it myself. Maybe I could give my own girls some fun food memories too.
Unfortunately, I don't exactly live in an okra friendly state. They're not local and most of the markets don't seem to carry them. So I opted to try out a jam. Now strawberries is a no-brainer but everytime I buy them the girls, and MAN, devour them before I can blink.
So I'm gambling on plums. It's either that or I'm going to start regaling my oldest with fascinating stories of all of the banking careers Grandma had.
Anyway, I bet I can keep a basket of plums in the house long enough to whip together a jar of jam. Or a half jar.
Gov Jan Brewer & Rep Frank Pratt
Another Arizona elected official was attacked in the past month, but this was an individual attack, appeared to be motivated by greed only, not any kind of political bent, and the national media has barely covered a bit of it. The elected official, Arizona State Rep Frank Pratt was robbed, bound, beaten and left to die on December 27:
Scott allegedly beat Pratt in the head before hogtying him and stealing his Rolex and 2007 GMC Yukon, the suspect picked up his girlfriend and drove her to the Circle K Motel in Phoenix.
He told her about the beating and said he'd pawned the watch for $900 -- money the couple would live on for the next several days.
The two were arrested after Phoenix police were called to an abandoned vehicle at the hotel, which just happened to be Pratt's Yukon. The vehicle led police to the couple, who were arrested
With the level of violence seeming to be ratcheted up in these stories and crimes being committed against individuals and groups of people, I'm frankly surprised that more people aren't discussing the value of inpatient rehab centers and whether or not these people can be helped.
It stands to reason that some of these terrible events can be prevented. Whether the cause is drugs, or alcohol or abuse of some kind or another... somewhere, somewhere, someone went wrong. And about the rest of those terrible events?
Some people are just crazy. Some people are just evil.
Image courtesy TMZ
The news advised us that the Killer made his first court appearance and with the accompanying mugshot we all studied his face on the samsung led, shuddered at the leer that told the nation the Killer loved his new evil infamy.
We wondered how his parents must feel: where are they ? have the spoken? does he have any?
Twitter was abuzz and the stream so frantic with information that from the initial reports of the attack, innocent misinformation was wreaking havoc on both sides of the political aisle.
So many tears. But it was the continuous stream of prayers that held us up as a nation and kept us from sympathizing with the Killer as is so often the case. Misunderstood? Bullied? Too-Strict Parents?
Enough. Responsibility comes from self and the Killer pulled that trigger with his own finger. Over and over.
God Bless the Heroes who stopped him from killing even more innocents.