Saturday, December 29, 2007

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

In 1998, John Wood, an executive at Microsoft, took a trip to Nepal that would change his life and the lives of countless children forever. During his 18 day trek he visited a school with 70-80 children crammed into a small room with dirt floors and only a few books. He was so depressed by what he saw that he decided to return to the school with books for a new library. In the next few months he collected thousand of books and eventually quit his job at Microsoft to devote all of his time to this project and the non-profit he started called Room to Read. So far he has distributed almost 3 million books, built 287 schools, established 3,600 libraries, and funded over 2,000 scholarships. He has also started local language publishing programs to provide books for children in their native languages. His goal is to build 20,000 new libraries by the year 2020.
Here is a link to this wonderful organization:
Every dollar donated provides 1 book.
He has also written a book called Leaving Microsoft to change the world : an entrepreneur's odyssey to educate the world's children, which was published in 2006 by HarperCollins and is available at HCPL.
I saw him on Oprah last week and she has also put a link to his organization on her website.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Welcome Winter

The December solstice marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere . This year the Winter Solstice occurs on December 22, 2007 at 1:08 AM EST.

Friday, December 21, 2007

This is a picture of an apartment building in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands with windows illuminated in different colors, and is part of a project by artists Marije Vermeulen and Guido Nieuwendijk. The photograph is by Vincent Jannink.


Here's a movie recommendation for all the women out there.

Waitress stars Keri Russell as Jenna, a poor southern woman, married to Earl played by Jeremy Sisto.

Jenna works at a diner where she creates amazing pies which she often names after events in her life like "I Don't Want Earl's Baby" pie, and dreams of one day escaping her miserable life by winning a pie baking contest.

It was written and directed by Adrienne Shelly who also plays one of the other waitresses in the film. It also features Andy Griffith, Nathan Fillion and Cheryl Hines, and was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival.

Buy or make a pie and watch Waitress with your mother, sister, daughter, or girlfriend.

Find a Use for Orphaned Socks

I have to admit that I clicked on this story from because of the cute pug (are there any other kind) but since this is a problem for most of us who wear socks here it is:

It's one of life's greatest mysteries: Two socks enter the washing machine, one sock leaves, its mate gobbled up by laundry goblins. Besides suffer the sartorial indignity of wearing mismatched pairs, what else can you do with an orphan sock that's all by its lonesome? Here are some ideas we've drummed up:
1. Sew a pet bed
2. Make a chew toy
3. Make an animal puppet
4. Protect fragile holiday ornaments when you put them away for the year
5. Sew a sock monkey
6. Use as a rag or furniture-polish cloth
7. Fill with ice for an instant ice pack
8. Make microwavable mitten warmers
9. Use as a whiteboard eraser
10. Send to Operation Happy Sock, where it'll be stuffed with polyfill and catnip for cats at the local animal shelter
11. Whip up some holiday ornaments
12. Donate to One Small Step for humanitarian aid outside the United States
13. Slip a pair over the hands of a nailbiter, or a kid with a rash or hives
14. Protect your MP3 player

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Macaroni Sings the Blues

This recipe from the Whole Foods web site looks so good that, even though I never cook, I may make it for Christmas.

1 pound elbow or shell pasta, cooked al dente
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
2 1/2 cups crumbled Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish or casserole with a tablespoon of the butter. In a large heavy saucepan over medium low heat, melt remaining butter. Add flour, stirring constantly, and cook 1 minute (don’t let it brown). Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer mixture at least 3 minutes, whisking often, until it thickens slightly. Reduce heat to very low, then gradually stir in cheeses, reserving 1/2 cup blue cheese, and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne (if using). Stir in cooked pasta until well coated.

Pour mixture into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and reserved 1/2 cup blue cheese. Bake until crumbs are browned and cheese is bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Nutrition Info
Per serving (About 6oz/174g-wt.): 380 calories (220 from fat), 24g total fat, 15g saturated fat, 18g protein, 22g total carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 65mg cholesterol, 720mg sodium

Bill Richardson

It looks like the likely democratic presidential nominee will not be Richardson, but Clinton, Obama, or Edwards. He is however the only one of these four who promises to get all the troops out of Iraq in 2009 if elected. He has set up a web site explaining why the United States can't afford to wait 5+ more years to withdraw from this war which is costing us billions of dollars and thousands of lives. He is asking for donations of $20.13. TV ads are also starting today to bring attention to this issue.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Greenrrroof Animal Home

Anyone who know me or reads this blog has probably figured out that my dogs are part of my family and sleep indoors on my bed at night. For humans who aren't lucky enough to have this arrangement with their dogs there is a website

that sells dog houses and some bird houses with green roofs. People have had green roofs for thousand of years but this is the first I've seen for pets. Besides being very attractive and a good conversation piece, the vegetation provides insulation against noise and temperature, smells good, grows plants, repels fleas, and filters water.
If you are interested in doing this for your own home the LC subject headings to look for in you local library are Green roofs (Gardening) or Roof gardening.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Cookies

One of the really nice thing about working at HCPL is being here on the day The Decider brings in his holiday cookies for the entire building. This year there were 9 varieties including his always popular and highly requested Nanaimo Bars. My personal favorite is the Raspberry Almond Bars, or whatever I'm eating at the time. This year he tried a new recipe which has been a big hit with my co-workers (and me).

Here is the recipe which came from the Whole Foods Market website. He changed it up a bit by substituting regular flour for whole wheat and using salted butter, but no salt. He also didn't use parchment paper.

Cranberry Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Cranberries and pecans, two symbols of the fall harvest, work beautifully in these rich shortbread cookies. Serve them with strong black tea for an afternoon treat. The dough freezes well, so keep a log in the freezer and you'll be prepared to provide holiday visitors with freshly baked goodies at a moment's notice.

Make 30 to 40 cookies
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted
Mix together butter, sugar and maple syrup with a wooden spoon or in an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Add flour one cup at a time, mixing well after each cup is added. Stir in the salt, cranberries and pecans.
Shape dough into two logs and chill until firm, 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut dough into 1/2-inch slices and arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cookies will keep several days in an airtight container.
Nutrition Info
Per serving (About 1 Cookie/32g-wt.): 160 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 2g protein, 15g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 20mg cholesterol, 20mg sodium

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Top 10 bushisms 2007

I know the year isn't over yet but here they are compliments of The Liberal Values Blog

10. “And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it.” –interview on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007

9. “I fully understand those who say you can’t win this thing militarily. That’s exactly what the United States military says, that you can’t win this military.” –on the need for political progress in Iraq, Washington, D.C., Oct. 17, 2007

8. “One of my concerns is that the health care not be as good as it can possibly be.” –on military benefits, Tipp City, Ohio, April 19, 2007

7. “Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your introduction. Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit.” –addressing Australian Prime Minister John Howard at the APEC Summit. Later, in the same speech: “As John Howard accurately noted when he went to thank the Austrian troops there last year…” –referring to Australian troops as “Austrian troops,” Sept. 7, 2007

6. “My relationship with this good man is where I’ve been focused, and that’s where my concentration is. And I don’t regret any other aspect of it. And so I — we filled a lot of space together.” –on British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Washington, D.C., May 17, 2007

5. “You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 — 1976.” –to Queen Elizabeth, Washington, D.C., May 7, 2007 (Watch video clip)

4. “The question is, who ought to make that decision? The Congress or the commanders? And as you know, my position is clear — I’m a Commander Guy.” –deciding he is no longer just “The Decider,” Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007 (Watch video clip)

3. “Information is moving — you know, nightly news is one way, of course, but it’s also moving through the blogosphere and through the Internets.” –Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007

2. “There are some similarities, of course (between Iraq and Vietnam). Death is terrible.” –Tipp City, Ohio, April 19, 2007

1. “As yesterday’s positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.” –on the No Child Left Behind Act, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2007 (Watch video clip) Written by Ron Chusid

Bad ideas

This is from the web site
and was brought to my attention by my friend Kee. It features pictures of Nativities that are probably not good ideas. One of the comments on the original post "I don't know about you, but I never want to have to decide if I should eat the baby Jesus feet-first or head-first."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Polar bear tracking

The World Wildlife Fund in Canada is tracking 6 female polar bears and their cubs via satellite with tracking devices attached to the bears necks. This is being done to study their behavior and to see if they are being affected by global warming. Here is a link to the map and a profile of each bear if you would like to follow their progress:

Friday, December 7, 2007


This is a picture of a woman drinking water, out of what appears to be a very dirty river, through a LifeStraw. The LifeStraw filters out common bacteria in water such as Salmonella, Shigella, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, and e-coli and can prevent diptheria, cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea. It is small, cheap (about $2.00), doesn't have a lot of moving parts, doesn't require electricity, and will last for about a year. It can be used by adults and by children who can suck. It doesn't completely eliminate bacteria but reduces the levels of bacteria making the water safe to drink.
Here are some interesting and sad facts that I didn't know: More than 1 billion people don't have access to clean water. That's about 1/6 of the world's population. About 1/2 of the world's poor suffer from waterborne diseases. About 6,000 die everyday from consuming bad water. Most are children.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Religion and politics don't mix

In his speech this morning in College Station, Mitt Romney said "Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone." In his attempt to pander to the religious right evangelical conservatives he has just excluded atheists and doubters from his vision of "freedom" and has wiped out the notion of separation of church and state.
He also went on to assure members of the audience that he is a Christian and while he didn't use the term "born-again" his words implied that he is indeed one them. Many in the religious right consider his Mormon faith a cult so I'm sure this was meant to assure them of his good standing with God. I am so sick of candidates jumping on the born-again wagon and pandering to this minority. Do we really want someone in the White House who claims to be a Christian but acts in the most un-Christian ways towards other human beings possible. Look at what our current born-again Christian commander in chief has done to Iraq and the people in that country, not to mention our soldiers. And the earth. I'll take a non-believer any day over what we have now. Better yet, leave religion out of politics completely.
For the complete text of his speech see

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Unusual book covers or Green is the new everything!

Here's a great gift idea for the sports loving person on your holiday gift list. An astroturf clad book!
From the publisher's website: Featuring the largest and most diverse range of sports of any comparable book—more than 200 in all—from basketball to bobsledding, karate to korfball, synchronized swimming to ski-jumping, this up-to-date and authoritative guide presents information sourced from leading experts and sports governing bodies around the world to give you the most comprehensive book on sports to ever hit the market.
Explains rules, tactics, and techniques in a way that is clear, engaging, and effective
Includes a section on the Olympic Games, explaining all 35 Olympic sports
Clear diagrams define fields of play and identify specific zones and player positions
Outlines each sport's geographical range, history, major competitions, and successful competitors
Examines equipment and clothing, teams and players, and common terms of each sport

The book is published by DK Publishers and retails for $35.00.
HCPL has 26 copies (still in processing) for anyone interested in checking out a copy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Brad Pitt makes it right in New Orleans

Brad Pitt has pledged 5 million dollars to help rebuild New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward. He has commissioned architects to come up with designs that incorporate environmentally friendly building materials and techniques including solar energy. His organization is

Here is one of the proposed designs. You can see more on the web site listed above.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ginger, Gracie, and Santa

Gracie has asked for a new harness. Her old harness is faded and she fears a visit from Tim Gunn. Ginger would like a home in Big Sur, Sedona, or Tofino, British Columbia.

Rosie and Santa

Rosie would like a winning lottery ticket so her mom can stay home and provide a lap for her 24 hours a day.

A visit with Santa

Sparky would like anything with calories for Christmas.

Vegetarian Recipe

Red Wine, Red Bean and Portobello Ragout
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced red onion
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
7 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp hot paprika
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes with their juice, coarsely chopped
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cup Gruyere cheese for garnish
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

1. In large saute pan over medium heat, warm the oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the onion, garlic, sage and 1 tsp of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes
2. Raise the heat and add the mushrooms and paprika. Saute until the mushrooms soften, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the wine to the pan with the ragout, scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, and bring to a boil. Continue boiling until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes with their juice, beans with their liquid and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered, until the liquid has reduced to a rich sauce about 10 minutes.
5. Serve over pasta, rice, or couscous, sprinkled with Gruyere and parsley.
Serves 4
This recipe is from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Angels for Animals doghouse program

This year, as in years past, PETA has a campaign to raise money for doghouses for dogs who do not have any other shelter. For $265.00 a neglected backyard dog, often chained, will receive a sturdy straw filled doghouse. It's hard for me to imagine people treating "man's best friend" this way but many dogs are left outside in all kinds of freezing weather. This is a way we can help. I'm planning to sponsor one doghouse rather than give gifts this year. If you can't do this consider a smaller donation to PETA or to a local animal shelter.

Friday, November 30, 2007

When Santa Turned Green

I just found this great book by Victoria Perla online. HCPL doesn't have it and there is no record in OCLC but it is available at several major bookstores.

Here is a synopsis from the Barnes & Noble website:
"It's November up in the North Pole. Everything's going along smoothly at Santa's workshop, until he discovers a leak in his roof. Santa soon learns that this little leak is connected to a far bigger problem -- global warming! Faced with the reality of what this could mean for Christmas, not to mention the planet and the future, Santa is determined to turn things around."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The stupidest thing to come out of Texas since...

They are going to build, in Texas, "a winter wonderland like no other. Situated on a 250 foot tall 35 acre landscaped man-made mountain structure, Glacier Peak will keep you busy for days with over a mile of multiple expert and intermediate ski runs and jumps." Somehow, Utilizing [an unexplained] environmental friendly technology, Glacier Peak will envelope you in an atmosphere that is 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding area."

There are caverns filled with real snow. "Deep within the Snowball Caverns beneath Glacier Peak, guests can experience real snow play in the largest indoor snow experience of its kind anywhere in the world. Once you are inside the Bearfire Snowball Caverns, you can completely ignore the rising mercury level outdoors.
The snow remains frozen throughout the year and you can even experience snowfall here. Ice caves and gulleys can be used by children for sledding and sliding. Bundle up and experience Snowball Caverns.

I didn't believe this when I first read it but apparently it's true and while this might be a lot of fun, the amount of energy used to fuel this type of winter wonderland is absurd even by Texas standards. For more info on this resort which will be built in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area see

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cheney has a heart?!?

This was the response of one of my co-workers on learning that doctors had administered an electrical shock to his heart after he had experienced an irregular heartbeat.

Some other reactions from the blogosphere:

"In any case, doctors were in for a surprise when they pried open his chest.
'All his precious bodily fluids vere there,' the Dr. said after the operation. 'Just no heart.'
Scientists call this condition 'Heart-Eroding A-hole Reactionary Termino-Legalistic Entropic S-head Syndrome,' or HEARTLESS. It generally afflicts angry white males, particularly those making over $500,000 a year who pay more than one-tenth of one-percent of their income in taxes. It begins in the heart's right wing and eventually eats away at the rest of the organ. "--Gabriel Rotello.

Allen L. Roland has another theory, that Cheney has a wooden heart.

"Cheney's wooden heart is incapable of making a heart/mind connection which obviously accounts for Cheney's well known mantra ~ The natural state of man is War .
It is also incapable of empathy, compassion and most certainly love and is totally resistant to social cooperation and altruism. It seems to be unaffected by reality, has a strange aversion to sunlight and prefers to operate in seclusion ~ which explains Cheney's tendency to operate from his bunker deep beneath the White house West wing."

Others have suggested that finding Dick's heart would require microsurgery.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Property Tax

I received my property tax bill and was shocked. Despite my house going up in value, my taxes went down almost $250.00 from last year. I had heard this was going to happen but expected the amount to be much less.
The picture is from the cutest site on the web.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The outing of Valerie Plame Wilson and the White House coverup

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has written a book entitled What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong With Washington

Although it won't be released until April, 2008, Public Affairs Books has published this excerpt on their web site

"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.
There was one problem. It was not true.
I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself"

Scooter is the only person to be charged in this case and Bush commuted his 30 month sentence.
After promising to fire anyone in the WH responsible for the leak, Bush refuses to discuss the case.
The outing of a CIA operative is a treasonous act. It is certainly worse than anything ever done by the Nixon White House or by Clinton with the intern.
It's time to, at the very least, impeach Bush and Cheney for these crimes.
For more on this see Valerie Plame Wilson's comments on the Huffington Post

Week 10: #23 Is this really the end? Or just the beginning...

Having this blog has been the most fun and educational thing I've ever done at work and I will continue to blog about things of interest to me (unlike the dog in the cartoon)
One really nice thing I've noticed is a spirit of cooperation among co-workers. Everyone in my department has at one time over the course of the 23 Things been the "expert" who helps others and we have all at one time or another needed help with some of the exercises.

Some of the features I like that I didn't know about before are the Library Elf and Bloglines. I've discovered some great sites through Bloglines that I check everyday, like Treehugger and I like the email message I get from the Library Elf every week telling me what items I have on hold, what I have out, and what is waiting for me.

With technology changing daily, I hope that this will be something we can continue, perhaps adding a new exercise every month or so. I believe this will be of benefit to all of us, especially the staff who work directly with the public.

Many thanks to all the people who organized this program and to the poor person assigned to read this blog and wade through all the non-work related entries.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Our [B-word] will beat their [A-word]

Last week, one of McCain's supporters asked "So, how do we beat the bitch?" referring to Hillary, and McCain laughed. I wonder if he would have laughed if someone said how do we beat the heeb (Lieberman), the spic (Richardson), or the (n word) (Obama). This would have been the end of his campaign no doubt.

Today in the Washington Post Andi Zeisler, co-founder of Bitch Magazine answers the question of what the B-word really means in today's world.

"Bitch is a word we use culturally to describe any woman who is strong, angry, uncompromising and, often, uninterested in pleasing men. We use the term for a woman on the street who doesn't respond to men's catcalls or smile when they say, 'Cheer up, baby, it can't be that bad.' We use it for the woman who has a better job than a man and doesn't apologize for it. We use it for the woman who doesn't back down from a confrontation ... When these people call Clinton (or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or Sen. Dianne Feinstein or former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro) a bitch, or even the cutesier "rhymes-with-witch," it's an expression of pure sexism -- a hope that they can shut up not only one woman but every woman who dares to be assertive."

Hillary isn't my first choice but I think she will be an excellent president if elected. I do wish, and I think most people feel the same way, that the candidates would stick to the issues and stop the name calling and dirty politics. We will need the most capable person/persons to dig us out of the mess left by the current administration.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kerry takes on the Swift Boat Veterans

This is from Salon:

Kerry takes on the Swift Boat Veterans
We interrupt this presidential campaign to bring you a blast from the not-so-distant past.
At a recent
gala dinner for the American Spectator, Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, a major contributor to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, apparently offered $1 million to anyone who could disprove any of the Swifties' claims about John Kerry's service in Vietnam.
In a letter sent to Pickens today, Kerry has accepted the challenge himself. "I welcome the opportunity to prove that you are a man of your word and that the so-called 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' lied," Kerry says in his letter. "While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt."
Kerry proposes that he and Pickens meet at some mutually agreeable public forum in either Texas or Massachusetts to settle the score. The senator, who doesn't exactly need the $1 million himself, suggests that the oilman come prepared with a check made out to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, an organization that helps veterans with spinal cord injuries and diseases.

Good luck collecting anything from these liars.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ice cream test

I found this cool test on another blog. If you want to find out your flavor you can click on the image.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Citizens all over the US who are speaking out against the war and against the illegal actions by the criminals in this administration are being attacked. Anti-war veterans were banned from a Veterans Day parade in California last week. Students in Chicago were threatened with suspension for staging a peaceful anti-war protest. Every day there are new stories about our rights and our Constitution being trampled on by this administration. Please show your support for a candidate in the next election who will respect and uphold our constitution.

Not ready to make nice

After winning the the championship at an international bridge competition in Shanghai last month, the United States women's bridge team held up a sign, written on the back of a menu, saying "We did not vote for Bush." Like the Dixie Chicks they have been accused of treason and have received death threats. They are also facing a 1 year suspension and 200 hours of bridge related community service (whatever that is)
This has caused international debate, with the French team sending an email in support of the women saying "you were doing only what women of the world have always tried to do when opposing the folly of men who have lost their perspective of reality."
If you would like to support these women you can email Jan Martel, president of the US Bridge Federation, at

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Whole Foods Vegan Holiday Dinner

Holiday Hazelnut & Cranberry Field Roast
Edamame & Carrot Salad
Roasted Garlic & Leek Mashed Potatoes
Wild Rice, Pearl Onion & Dried Cranberry Pilaf
Green Beans Amandine
Wild Mushroom & Sage Gravy
Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Orange
Vegan Pumpkin Mousse with Maple Pecans
$59.99 serves 4 guests
$15.99 serves 1 guest
I have had everything on this menu except the pumpkin mousse and it's all delicious!

Don't eat the mascot!

Consider a Tofu Turkey or some other vegetarian option for your Thanksgiving meal. Visit for some meatless recipes for the holidays. Whole Food Market also has come complete vegan or vegetarian meals and will be open Thanksgiving Day, limited hours. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and let the TURKEYS enjoy theirs. Thanks to PETA for the title and image in this post.

Week 9: #22 Downloadable Media

I looked at Wowio but decided not to sign up because HCPL has a larger better selection. I had no idea that there were free services (outside of libraries) like Wowio available. I also took the Digital Media Guided Tour that was suggested.
Digital Books 101, a class taught here, was a great introduction to this topic.

Week 9: #21 Podcasts, Smodcasts!

Through I signed up for Wildebeat, an audio journal about getting into wilderness and Vegan Freak Radio which is about vegan issues and animal rights. I also looked at several library sites but decided that 8 hours a day of library issues is enough. I don't think podcasts are for me but I'll give it a try anyway. I was unable to get anything from

Monday, November 12, 2007

Week 9: #20 Discover YouTube and other video sharing sites

I love YouTube and find it rather addicting. I guess for this reason it's a good thing HCPL blocks the site. I put a YouTube video on my blog when we first started the assignment. It can be seen on the right hand side of the page way down. I have also looked at Yahoo and Google videos.

As part of a staff enrichment digital storytelling class, some of the staff at the Fondren Library at Rice produced short videos which are on YouTube. Here is a link to a video by my friend Liliana who works in acquisitions

I think this might be a good thing for the staff to do here next year since we will need something fun as a followup to the 23 things.

Aroma Tires

Kumho Tire USA has introduced a line of scented tires. The first on the market is lavender but orange and jasmine will be added later. The target audience is female drivers (duh) and I have to admit I'm tempted to at least go smell/look at them and maybe even buy one the next time I need a tire.
I found out about these tires from Scotty Kilmer's website. Scotty Kilmer used to have a TV show on one of the local channels where he answered caller's questions about cars. I often see him in Whole Food Market and yesterday decided to speak to him. He had his name on his shirt so I figured he wouldn't mind someone talking to him. Anyway, he gave me his card and told me to check out his website which I did. He will answer questions you have about your car and will also do repairs. His website is

Friday, November 9, 2007

The economic consequences of Mr. Bush

This essay by economist Joseph Stiglitz is from the December issue of Vanity Fair and is excerpted in Salon. I'm looking forward to reading the entire essay when my Vanity Fair arrives.

"You'll still hear some -- and, loudly, the president himself -- argue that the administration's tax cuts were meant to stimulate the economy, but this was never true. The bang for the buck -- the amount of stimulus per dollar of deficit -- was astonishingly low. Therefore, the job of economic stimulation fell to the Federal Reserve Board, which stepped on the accelerator in a historically unprecedented way, driving interest rates down to 1 percent. In real terms, taking inflation into account, interest rates actually dropped to negative 2 percent. The predictable result was a consumer spending spree. Looked at another way, Bush's own fiscal irresponsibility fostered irresponsibility in everyone else. Credit was shoveled out the door, and subprime mortgages were made available to anyone this side of life support. Credit-card debt mounted to a whopping $900 billion by the summer of 2007. "Qualified at birth" became the drunken slogan of the Bush era. American households took advantage of the low interest rates, signed up for new mortgages with "teaser" initial rates, and went to town on the proceeds.

All of this spending made the economy look better for a while; the president could (and did) boast about the economic statistics. But the consequences for many families would become apparent within a few years, when interest rates rose and mortgages proved impossible to repay. The president undoubtedly hoped the reckoning would come sometime after 2008. It arrived 18 months early. As many as 1.7 million Americans are expected to lose their homes in the months ahead. For many, this will mean the beginning of a downward spiral into poverty...

Globalization means that America's economy and the rest of the world have become increasingly interwoven. Consider those bad American mortgages. As families default, the owners of the mortgages find themselves holding worthless pieces of paper. The originators of these problem mortgages had already sold them to others, who packaged them, in a non-transparent way, with other assets, and passed them on once again to unidentified others. When the problems became apparent, global financial markets faced real tremors: it was discovered that billions in bad mortgages were hidden in portfolios in Europe, China, and Australia, and even in star American investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns. Indonesia and other developing countries -- innocent bystanders, really -- suffered as global risk premiums soared, and investors pulled money out of these emerging markets, looking for safer havens. It will take years to sort out this mess."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Rosie!

Rosie the pug is 8 today. She was adopted from a pet shop in College Station in January, 2000 but her birthday is November 7, 1999.
My friend and I were up at his farm in Anderson for the weekend when we decided to drive into the Border's in College Station. On the way there we passed a pet shop that had puppies in the window so I of course made him stop. Rosie was in a little pen with other puppies and I immediately fell in love. She was pretty expensive so my friend bought her for me. She is the baby in fourdogmom's family and very spoiled. Here are some pictures of her. There is a baby picture, a formal portrait, and a picture of her chilling out with her sisters Ginger and Gracie.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The unelectability of Hillary????

In an article in the Modesto Bee (11/30/07), novelist Mary Gordon is quoted as saying "I think no woman is electable in America, and particularly not Hillary because she is married to this guy whom everyone is libidinally attached to. I think there is unconscious sexual jealousy of her among women."
I guess that explains why Hillary is not my first choice. It's not her vote for the war in Iraq or any of her other positions I don't agree with, it's my jealousy of her relationship with Bill. Give me a break. If anything, her relationship to Bill makes me more inclined to support her candidacy. What thinking person wouldn't want Bill back in the White House even as First Whatever. The years of experience that Bill and Hillary bring to the office may be the only thing that can save us from the disastrous 8 years of W's regime.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

W's resume

In response to my "Anybody but a republican avatar", Richard sent me this GWB resume which I though I would share.

Past work experience:
I ran for Congress and lost.
I produced a Hollywood slasher B movie.
I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas; company
went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.

Biggest move:
Traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox.
With my father's help and the name, was elected Governor of Texas.

Accomplishments as Governor of Texas:
I changed pollution laws for oil and power companies and made Texas the most polluted state in the nation.
I replaced Los Angeles with Houston as the most smog-ridden city in
I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas government in billions of borrowed money.
I set a record for most executions by any governor in American history.
I became president after losing the popular vote by over 500,000 votes, with the help of Republican appointments to the Supreme Court.

Accomplishments as president:
I attacked and took over two countries.
I spent the country's surplus and bankrupted the treasury.
I shattered the record for biggest annual deficit in history.
I set economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
I set an all-time record for the biggest stock market drop in its history.
I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
I am the first president in US history to enter office with a criminal record and in my first year in office set the all-time record for most vacation days taken by any president. After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
I set the record for most campaign fundraising trips of any other
president in U.S. history.
In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.
I cut unemployment benefits for more out of work Americans than any president.
I set the all-time record for the most mortgage foreclosures in a
12-month period.
I set the record for the lowest number of press conferences than any
president since the invention of television.
I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. istory and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have done.
I cut healthcare benefits for war veterans and set the all-time record for the most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.
I dissolved more international treaties than any president in U.S. history.
My presidency is the most secretive and unaccountable of any in U.S. history.
Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S.
history. (The 'poorest' multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her).
I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud of any market in any country in the history of the world.
I created the largest government bureaucracy in the history of the United States and set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in US history, while at the same time proposing tax cuts.
I am the first president in U.S. history to have the United Nations
remove the U.S. from the elections monitoring board.
I withdrew from the World Court of Law.
I hold the record for most corporate campaign donations. My biggest
lifetime campaign contributor, one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
I am the first president in U.S. history to unilaterally attack a sovereign nation against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
I am the first U.S. president to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
I set all-time records for the number of administration appointees who
violated U.S. law by not selling huge investments in corporations
bidding for government contracts.
I failed to get Osama Bin Laden 'dead or alive'.
I failed to capture the anthrax killer who tried to murder the leaders of our country at the United States Capitol building. After 18 months I have no leads and zero suspects.
In a little over two years I created the most divided country in
I entered office with the strongest economy in U.S. history and in less
than two years every economic category plunged.

Records and References:
I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).
I was AWOL from National Guard.
Records from my tenure as governor of Texas are in my father's library, unavailable for public view.
All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed and unavailable for public view.
All minutes of meetings for any public corporation I served on the board are sealed and unavailable for public view.
Any records or minutes my VP or I attended regarding public energy
policy are sealed and unavailable for public review

For personal references please speak to my father or uncle James Baker.

October 31, 2007 9:53 PM

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thoughts on Zoho

Zoho is very easy to use. I will probably try out some of the other functions such as spreadsheets later.

Zoho writer document














Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.


In a large bowl, blend the eggs, sugar, and oil.  Set aside.


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Combine the flour mixture with the egg mixture and stir until throughly mixed.  Fold in the apples and nuts and mix throughly.  Spoon into the prepared pan.  Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden pick comes out clean.  Cool and cut into squares.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired.


Makes 2 dozen.


This recipe is from Eat Dessert First: The Red Hat Society Dessert Cookbook. 

Week 8: #19 Web-based Apps: They're not just for desktops

I opened an account in Zoho and looked at all the different functions. I was going to write a short essay, using Zoho writer, on the religious imagery in the new Bruce Springsteen song I'll work for your love from his new album Magic but decided that what people really want to read about is food. Yesterday, while perusing the new books in our area I discovered a wonderful cookbook called Eat Dessert First! by the Red Hat Society. The Red Hat Society is an organization started in 1998 by Sue Ellen Cooper and gets its name from the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph which has the lines: "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple. With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me"
There are over 40,000 chapters with over 1.5 million registered red hat ladies whose main function is to get together for tea, dressed in purple dresses and red hats. They have also published several cookbooks. For more information, to find a chapter near you, or to join see

Monday, October 29, 2007

Week 8: #18 Social Networking: Making friends in the comfort of your own home

This week's video is great.
For the assignment, I looked at MySpace, Rate My Space, and Dogster. My dog Sparky, with my help, created a web page on dogster. Then we added the dogster space to this blog for easy access.
Rate my space is one of my favorite sites because I love HGTV and decorating and it's fun to see what other people have done. I may add some pictures of some of my projects to it later.
I personally don't have a need for the other social networking sites but can see that they might be fun and useful for others.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Google ads

When I first started this blog I was anxious to try out all the features so I decided to add Google ads to by blog. It pays you when someone clicks on the ads from your blog. I never expected to make any money because it pays very little, my blog doesn't get that much traffic and I doubt if anyone clicks on the ads anyway. It's been interesting to see the ads that pop up on my page. Google must look for key words and put on ads based on those words. After I did an entry about doggie poop there was an ad for "Fix dog coprophagia" (which I had look up) but has to do with the entry I was talking about. I've also had several ads for pink ribbon things even though my entry on the pink ribbon industry was negative. Yesterday, much to my horror there was an ad that said something to the effect "If you want to support a Real Republican click here" I suppose I have too many tags with Bush or republicans. Anyway, I'm enjoying this feature and promise to donate any money I receive to my department in the form of doughnuts or mocha muffins.

Friday, October 26, 2007

You know it's cold when...

the dog poop steams. And it did last night and this morning when I was out walking the dogs. The picture, from a German newspaper, does not necessarily reflect fdm's views but was just meant to amuse the reader. Here is a web site where you can print your own little flags, take pictures, and upload them to a gallery:

Here is the article that accompanied the picture:

"Police in Germany are hunting pranksters who have been sticking miniature flag portraits of George W. Bush into piles of dog poo in public parks.
"This has been going on for about a year now, and there must be 2,000 to 3,000 piles of excrement that have been claimed during that time," said Josef Oettl, parks administrator for Bayreuth.
The series of incidents was originally thought to be some sort of protest against the US-led invasion of Iraq. But then when it continued, it was thought to be a protest against George W. Bush's campaign for re-election. But it is still going on and the police say they are completely baffled as to who is to blame.
"We have sent out extra patrols to try to catch whoever is doing this in the act," said police spokesman Reiner Kuechler. "But frankly, we don't know what we would do if we caught them red-handed."
Legal experts say there is no law against using feces as a flag stand and the federal constitution is vague on the issue.
Personally, I think it is mighty considerate to provide unwary pedestrians with an obvious visual marker that prevents them from accidentally stepping into dog poo. I wish people were so considerate in NYC, where there is plenty of dog poo to step in."

P.S. fdm always scoops

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Week 7: #17 Blog About Technology

Technology is a good thing but there will always be some situations where the old fashioned way is better.