Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What to wear (under) on New Year's Eve

Here is a New Year's tradition I had never heard of before. I guess I'll have to go out and buy some new underwear after I decide what I most want in the New Year.

red underwear = luck in love
yellow underwear = luck with money and business
green underwear = health


Nochevieja is the name for New Year's Eve in Spain. People traditionally eat 12 grapes at midnight, one for each strike of the clock.

New Year's Eve in Ecuador

In Ecuador, people make and burn an effigy of someone who has had a negative impact that year. They are called Años Viejos, (Years Old). These are often politicians. I know who I would make one of.

New Years in the Netherlands

Here is a recipe for Olie Bollen which is a Dutch style doughnut that is traditionally eaten in the Netherlands on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. This certainly sounds better than the southern tradition of having blackeyed peas and greens on New years day.
Olie Bollen
2 (.25 ounce) packages active
dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110
degrees F to 115 degrees F)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chopped apple
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
white sugar for decoration
Warm oven on lowest possible temperature setting.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs, yeast mixture, and milk; beat with an electric mixer until blended.
Turn off the oven. Cover the prepared dough with a greased piece of plastic wrap, and place the bowl of dough on the lowest rack of the warmed oven. Allow to rest and rise for 1 hour.
Heat the oil for frying to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a heavy bottomed, deep skillet.
Mix the apples and raisins into the dough. Then, carefully slide the dough by heaping teaspoons into the preheated oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the fritters until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. They should turn over on their own when they are ready to brown on the other side, but keep an eye on them and flip them as necessary. Remove them to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining dough. Dust with sugar while warm.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Texas Bowl 2008

Tonight I went to the Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium where Rice played Western Michigan University. I went with a group of people from the Rice Library. It was a fun night with beautiful weather and so they left the roof open the entire game. Rice won 38 to 14 so that was nice. I sat next to my friend Keith (aka Kee) not knowing until tonight what a huge and very loud fan he is of football. He was a hoot (pun intended). I took a few pictures just to prove that I was really there.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Everybody is tired after their long walk.

FourDogMom's Dogs

I had dinner with my friend Ginny tonight and when we got back the dogs decided to be extra cute.

The Good Life

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Here is a beautiful batik cloth picture of a market scene that I bought in Kenya many years ago.

Adorable Dogs

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Here is a really fun site where you can create your very own snowflake. My friend Fayrae found it and sent me the link. Thanks Fayrae!

This is only way we will see snow this Christmas in Houston as it is warm and humid outside today.

For some lovely snow pictures you can go to Fayrae's blog:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Official Santa Tracker

For over 50 years, The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been protecting North American airspace from aerial attacks. The same technology that is used to protect us is also used to track the annual Christmas flight of Santa Claus and his reindeer. According to NORAD, a network of 47 radars tell them when Santa's sleigh leaves the North Pole and infrared satellites track his flight. Once the sleigh lands there are "Santa Cams" that can track his deliveries. For more information go to which has videos from last years tracking of Santa, interactive games and activities, information about Santa Claus, information about NORAD, and a link to track Santa in 3D using google earth. There are also daily updates from Santa's staff. Today update: "NORTH Pole staff have advised NORAD that it is the final day to send Santa an email because Santa and the elves will begin loading the sleigh later today. This is such a huge task that they will not have time to check emails!"

This is a pretty fun website!

Monday, December 22, 2008

99 Things (and some more I added)

Here is something fun I found to do on Stephen's Lighthouse.
Copy the list and then:
Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

Some things I've done that are not on the list:
Watching the sun rise in a hot air balloon over the Serengeti, then landing in an area where wildebeests and zebras had been grazing only moments earlier.
Sitting on a beach in Antarctica surrounded by hundreds of thousands of penguins, some curious enough to come up and investigate.
Swimming with penguins off of an island in the Galapagos.
Sitting on a rock surrounded by many, many, many iguanas.
Petting a rhino and a warthog in Kenya.
Holding a full grown tiger in my lap at a fair in Brenham, TX.
Going over a waterfall on the Devil's River (not recommended)
White water rafting in Costa Rica.
Kayaking in British Columbia.
Seeing millions of monarch butterflies in the mountains of Mexico.

Portland, Oregon is getting an "official city doughnut." The mayor, Tom Potter, is planning to introduce his official doughnut resolution during a meeting of the city council on Christmas Eve day. The lucky doughnut is a chocolate covered, cream filled doughnut with 2 "eyes" called Portland Creme. It is made by Voodoo Doughnuts (the magic is in the hole). Here is a link to the website where you can see some of their other very original creations such as Triple Chocolate Penetration, Dirty Snowball, Nyquil Glazed, and Pepto Bismol: They even have a selection of vegan doughnuts. I wanted to put the picture of the one called Tasty on my blog but decided it might be a little suggestive.

We had Shipley's plain glazed here this morning, always a crowd favorite. Lawrence Shipley, Sr. started making donuts here in Houston in 1936 and they sold for 5 cents a dozen. Today there are over 190 stores, with 86 in the Houston area, and a dozen donuts sells for about 5 dollars a dozen (still a great deal).

Bush and Hanukkah

Since Hanukkah began at sundown last night this seemed like a good time to look at a Hanukkah White House blunder and at a bushism from long ago on the subject.

This year, bush and the missus invited leaders of the Jewish community to a Hanukkah reception at the White House with a card with the image of a Clydesdale horse hauling a Christmas tree. In case you are thinking that no one is that stupid and it must just be a tree or shrub that needs planting, there is a sign on the wagon that reads "White House Christmas Tree 2008."

Back in December of 2001 Bush said "I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama Bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah."
I'm thinking bush doesn't understand Hanukkah either.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"You know we have libraries"

This is from The M word via Stephens Lighthouse : A young producer at NBC pitched a story to Brain Williams about the newest craze- a Netflix system for books , you would simply put in your request for you book, one that had been read by someone else, and it would be delivered to you. Brian Williams responded, "You know we have libraries."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

1,000,000 Shoes for George W. Bush

There is a new group on Facebook that I just joined called "One Million Shoes for George W. Bush" The goal is to have 500,000 members = 1,000,000 shoes for George W. Bush by Jan. 20.

Throw Shoes on Bush (The Game)

The Norwegians have come up with a little game for those of us who would like to throw a shoe at bush. Here is the link:
There are numerous reports that AL-Zaidi, the man who attacked bush with 2 non-lethal shoes is being tortured and his family threatened because of his actions. He may also spend up to 7 years in prison. It's a sad world when a man who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and the destruction of a country will get to spend the rest of his life in a luxurious multi-million dollar home in Dallas, supported and protected with America tax dollars, and a man who threw shoes at him in protest for all the lives lost is being treated like a criminal.

Monday, December 15, 2008

One of the things I been doing this year to save energy and money is to use cold water to do my laundry. According to Treehugger: "Just selecting the "cold/cold" cycle has the potential to save as much CO2 emissions each year as thousands of miles driven in a car, or even an airplane flight or two."
I have a gas water heater which is a greener option and I also have a front loading washing machine which is more efficient than a top loader. I'm considering getting a tank less water heater when I have to replace the one I have now. During the summer I turn the temperature to the lowest setting on the hot water heater and then I turn it up in the winter. This year I'm just going to leave it on the lowest setting. I'm also using the heater very sparingly. The house is pretty cold but I'm layering my clothes and am comfortable most of the time. The dogs keep me warm at night and they of course love the cold weather. My water bill this month was under $10.00 and my gas and electric together were around $75 so my efforts are paying off.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hershey Kiss, Pretzel, M&M Treats

I made the pretzel, Hershey, M&M treats that I blogged about earlier. I used plain kisses and mint kisses and plain M&M's and mint M&M so there are 4 different combinations. I should have done the plain kisses and the mint kisses at different times because the mint kisses melted a lot faster but everything turned out ok. I know this because I have tasted them and they are delicious. This would be a fun thing to do with kids.

"This is a farewell kiss, you dog"

During a surprise visit to Iraq, Bush had not one, but two size 10 shoes thrown at him by Muntadar al-Zeidi, a reporter for Al-Baghdadia television. Unfortunately Bush ducked and wasn't hit by the shoes.
It was also unfortunate that the reporter called Bush a dog, an insult to dogs and dog lovers everywhere. In Iraq, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt. People threw shoes at the statue of Saddam when it was toppled after the 2003 invasion.
Bush should probably stick to giving speeches at A&M, one of the few places where people can still stand him. Two faculty members organized a small protest when he was chosen to deliver a commencement address on Friday, but county Democratic chairwoman Maggie Charleton said his visit wasn't worth making a fuss over. ''I don't like George W. Bush. I don't think he's been a good president," she said. "But, you know, in a little while, he's going to be gone. Not a moment too soon, thank goodness. Why bother?"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hot Hot Santa

Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley

In honor of our beautiful unexpected snow last night, here is a link to a collection of photographs of snowflakes. I didn't have any idea that there was a collection until I found this on The Librarians Internet Index. The pictures were taken by Wilson Alwyn Bentley (1865-1931) who is considered "America's First Cloud Physicist." This collection of over 1000 images has been cataloged by the Schwerdtfeger Library, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Each snow flake is classified by type and can be browsed or searched online. Here is the link:
There is also a web site dedicated to Wilson Alwyn Bentley here:
A quote from Bentley: "Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let It Snow

It snowed tonight!

Interesting things about Obama

My friend Jamie sent me this list. Some of these I had heard but some were new to me.
• He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics
• He was known as "O'Bomber" at high school for his skill at basketball
• His name means "one who is blessed" in Swahili
• His favourite meal is wife Michelle's shrimp linguini
• He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father
• He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be left-handed
• He has read every Harry Potter book
• He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali
• He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and now can't stand ice cream
• His favourite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars
• He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper while living in Indonesia
• He can speak Spanish
• While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN and had sports channels on instead
• His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea
• He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president – he didn't
• He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia
• He can bench press an impressive 200lbs
• He was known as Barry until university when he asked to be addressed by his full name
• His favourite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
• He visited Wokingham, Berks, in 1996 for the stag party of his half-sister' s fiancé, but left when a stripper arrived
• His desk in his Senate office once belonged to Robert Kennedy
• He and Michelle made $4.2 million (£2.7 million) last year, with much coming from sales of his books
• His favourite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
• He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet belonging to a soldier in Iraq for good luck
• He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.
• His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees
• He took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing on their first date
• He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker
• He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol
• He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician
• As a teenager he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine
• His daughters' ambitions are to go to Yale before becoming an actress (Malia, 10) and to sing and dance (Sasha, 7)
• He hates the youth trend for trousers which sag beneath the backside
• He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal
• His house in Chicago has four fire places
• Daughter Malia's godmother is Jesse Jackson's daughter Santita
• He says his worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry
• He uses an Apple Mac laptop
• He drives a Ford Escape Hybrid, having ditched his gas-guzzling Chrysler 300
• He wears $1,500 (£952) Hart Schaffner Marx suits
• He owns four identical pairs of black size 11 shoes
• He has his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff, who charges $21 (£13)
• His favourite fictional television programmes are Mash and The Wire
• He was given the code name "Renegade" by his Secret Service handlers
• He was nicknamed "Bear" by his late grandmother
• He plans to install a basketball court in the White House grounds
• His favourite artist is Pablo Picasso
• His speciality as a cook is chilli
• He has said many of his friends in Indonesia were "street urchins"
• He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol of the fragility of life
• His late father was a senior economist for the Kenyan government

Monday, December 8, 2008

Here is an account of the "accident" where Laura Bush killed her classmate and ex-boyfriend Michael Douglas. It has been covered up for years and even now most people haven't heard about it or don't believe it. It took an episode of Family Guy to bring it out in the open. Can you imagine the outrage if Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton had run a stop sign and killed someone?

At about 7:30 p.m. on November 6, 1963, Laura Welch [now Bush] left her family home at 2500 Humble Ave. in Midland, Texas, after some sort of incident. She headed north on Lanham St. and, after four blocks, turned right and stopped to pick up her girlfriend, Judy Dykes, at 2409 Neely Ave. A couple of blocks east, Laura headed north again on North Garfield St. and headed out of town in the direction of her boyfriend's house. Michael Dutton Douglas, also 17 and also a senior at Lee High School, left his home before Laura got into the vicinity. He left with his dad close behind, perhaps in pursuit. At the north edge of town, Laura turned her big new Chevrolet Impala left again, heading east on farm-to-market (FM) road FM 868. Meanwhile, Michael was leaving his home on Solomon Drive, heading east toward the highway, state route 349, a couple hundred yards away. From here, he would turn right, south, on 349 toward the fateful meeting at FM 868. If Laura or Judy was watching, they could see Michael's car, or at least its headlights, on his street, Solomon Dr., which paralleled FM 868 and was the first street to the north. Later, Laura reported she didn't even see his headlights even as he, headed south, approached the intersection with FM 868. In the 1000 yards to the intersection, he had time to accelerate to the legal speed limit of 65 mph. The police report said it was dark but that, otherwise, driving conditions were ideal. It is easy to overlook a car in daytime, but on a dark night, it is hard not to notice the headlights of an approaching car, about the only light around, except for what one's headlights illuminate. That night, Laura didn't see the headlights of Michael's Corvair. As she approached the state highway doing 50-something miles per hour, according to the police report, she didn't see the stop sign either, she said. Michaels little Corvair was no match for Laura's new land barge. The collision swung his car around fully three-quarters of a turn and set it skidding 50 feet to the east, in the same direction as Laura's car was heading. It was like a billiard ball approaching from your left, and you hit it and it goes more or less straight away from you. Michael died of a broken neck, at the scene. His father, who was following him, arrived seconds after the wreck. Laura was unhurt and Judy had insignificant injuries. The police report noted that Laura committed two violations of traffic laws that contributed to the wreck: "Disregard stop sign or signal" and "[illegible]" In the box labeled "Is investigation complete?", the police officer checked "No." The officer went through all the proper motions: measured the skid marks, diagrammed the wreck, went to the hospital to check on the dead (Michael) and others (Laura and Judy). He took statements from the survivors and photos of the wreckage. The next day, he filed his report. He did not issue a citation to Laura Welch. The investigation apparently was never completed. No grand jury was convened. Laura had killed the most popular boy at school, more popular than Tommy Franks, who later would become an Army general and lead US forces into the invasion of Iraq. She stayed home until about Christmas. Outside of that, she has never missed a beat, certainly not a class reunion, where she still shows up and dances with all comers as First Lady of the United States. Less than two years later, the heartbroken Douglas family - mother, father, and sister of Michael - moved out of town. It is not known whether they received any compensation for Michael's death. Certainly Laura's parents, Laura and Jenna H. Welch could afford to pay it, not to mention their insurance company. Welch built five of Midlands housing developments, which made him a wealthy man by small-town standards. To this day residents of Midland talk of the wreck in hushed tones. Laura Bush's mother has expressed thankfulness that it was not her daughter that was killed, since the Welches only had one child. Laura Bush has never, never acknowledged what the police report noted: Her violation of law had contributed to a young man's death. Never. Media reports have appeared in "Reader's Digest" and other places with incorrect facts that would seem to be ameliorating circumstances. For example: Michel Douglas was driving an open Jeep, from which he could easily be thrown. The wreck happened right after a thunderstorm, which would imply that the pavement was wet and slick. The fact is, Michael was driving a closed sedan that was very small and no match for Laura's much larger car. The pavement was dry, as the officer check the box on the police report form. Laura never bothered to correct these and other misstatements, including the one that she was not Michael's girlfriend. She will not acknowledge the accident or even her relationship with the victim even to this day. The true facts came out when the police report was released in 2000, 37 years after the fact, also after the Midland city attorney refused to release the report. The Texas attorney general compelled the release of the report after a newspaper in another Texas town, Odessa, filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

Laura Bush Killed a Guy

Oh Christmas Tree

I've been decorating ever since I got home today and am finally finished. I even managed to walk the dogs too. See if you can find the little Democratic Donkey on the tree with a flag on his back. He's a new ornament my neighbor gave me.

This is from the article "Bush by the Numbers" by Kristen Jones in the Huffington Post.

National Debt on Election Day
$7.1 trillion
$10.6 trillion
Adjusted to 2008 dollars. Source: Treasury Department.

Percentage of Americans without health insurance
Source: Census Bureau

Average high school graduation rate
2007-08 number is projected. Source: Department of Education

U.S. funding for global HIV/AIDS
$1 billion
$6 billion
Fiscal years. Adjusted to 2008 dollars. Source: President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

Average number of endangered species listed per year
Source: Fish and Wildlife Service

Average number of Superfund clean-ups completed per year
Fiscal years. Source: Environmental Protection Agency

Percentage of federal contracts with open competition
Fiscal years. Source: OMBWatch

FDA letters citing violations of pharmaceutical ad rules
Source: FDA

Illegal immigrants deported
Fiscal years. Rounded to the nearest 10,000. Sources: Justice Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and USA Today

FBI agents investigating white-collar crimes
Source: The New York Times

Number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests
2.2 million
21.8 million
Fiscal years. Source: Department of Justice

Number of personnel who process FOIA requests
Fiscal years. Source: Department of Justice

Unemployment rate
2008 number is as of November. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pounds of meat and poultry inspected per full-time employee of the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
10.1 million
11.4 million
Fiscal years. Source: White House Office of Management and Budget, FY 2009 and FY 2003 budgets

Percentage of new Army enlistees with a high school diploma or higher
Fiscal years. Includes only active-duty enlistees. Sources: Department of Defense; National Priorities Project

Days in office the president spent at his ranch
Ronald Reagan
George W. Bush
Bush's ranch is in Crawford, Tex.; Reagan's was in Santa Barbara, Ca. Bush's number is as of Election Day, 2008. Source: Mark Knoller, CBS News Radio; Associated Press


I was cataloging a new biography of John Lennon by Philip Norman when I realized that today is the anniversary of his death. He was killed on December 8th, 1980 outside of the apartment he shared with Yoko Ono and their son Sean.
Here is a link to one of my favorite songs:

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm so glad OJ will finally be spending some time in jail even if it isn't for the vicious murders he committed in 1994. Ron Goldman and Denise Brown were in court when the sentence was handed down and finally got to hear OJ say he was sorry even if it wasn't for the crime he should have been convicted of. He was sentenced to 33 years and may have to serve at least 9 years. He was also not allowed bail while awaiting his appeal. Finally some justice. Now if we can just get bush, dick, rove...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hershey Kiss, Pretzel, M&M Treats

This looks like a pretty easy and delicious recipe for the holidays:

An even number mini pretzels, Hershey Kisses and holiday colored M&M’s.

preheat oven to the lowest it will go.
unwrap all Hershey Kisses
put pretzels down in a single layer on baking sheet
place a Hershey Kiss on top of each pretzel
put in oven for about 10 minutes - kisses should be soft but not melted (if you use the white/black chocolate hugs - it probably should be less time)
remove from oven and immediately press one M&M into each Hershey Kiss
allow to cool so kisses are firmed back up

Thursday, November 27, 2008

President elect Obama and his family spent Thanksgiving eve working at a church food bank in Chicago. You can read about it here:

Everybody probably knows by now that Obama's favorite pie is Sweet Potato. If you are wondering where Obama will be able to get his favorite pie for the next 8 years, here is a really wonder video about Henry's, a famous soul food restaurant in Washington DC: Slate V - Presidential Pie

His pies are so popular they are now sold online

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bad Karma?

Enjoy the silence while you can. Ann Coulter has had her jaw wired shut. Apparently she fell and broke her jaw. Most people who fall break an arm or a leg or nothing at all. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone breaking a jaw in a fall. Kind of makes me believe in karma or some kind of divine retribution. If anyone deserves to be silenced it's her. Because of her mean nasty comments and her strange looks, she has a lot of nicknames. If you watch Keith Olbermann on MSNBC you probably know her by the name Coultergeist. Some of her other nicknames are Ann the Man, Ghoulter, and Annexoria. These are the nicer ones.
Here are some of the the things she has said in the past:

"We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say."

"If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women. It also makes the point, it is kind of embarrassing, the Democratic Party ought to be hanging its head in shame, that it has so much difficulty getting men to vote for it. I mean, you do see it's the party of women and 'We'll pay for health care and tuition and day care -- and here, what else can we give you, soccer moms?'"

"If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

"I was going to have a few comments about John Edwards but you have to go into rehab if you use the word faggot."

"These broads (911 widows) are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband's deaths so much."

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media."

"Liberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole."

"There are a lot of bad republicans; there are no good democrats."

"We need to execute people like (John Walker Lindh) in order to physically intimidate liberals."

"Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots."

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity."

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

"Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the President."

"The swing voters -- I like to refer to them as the idiot voters because they don't have set philosophical principles."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Potluck #50: Global Nation

I looked at all of the recommended sites but used Tripbase to get started on my trip plans. I already knew that I wanted to go Botswana and wanted to see if the site would give me this destination when I typed in my preferences. I limited my search to Africa and got The Okavango Delta in Botswana, Serengeti Park in Tanzania, Cape Town, South Africa, Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya, and Johannesburg, South Africa. I've been to the Serengeti and the Masai Mara and the other 3 suggested places are places I want to go. I have wanted to go to Botswana ever since I read "Okavango Delta: Africa's Last Eden" by Frans Lanting.

The Okavango Delta is the world's largest inland delta. It empties onto the Kalahari Desert. Tourists to the area camp in permanent tented camps which is the best way to see the area. I stayed in a tented camp in Kenya and it's so much better than staying in a hotel. The wildlife come right up to your camp at night and as long as you don't go out after dark without a guide you are fine. Because the area around the Okavango Delta is arid, the delta region is home to a huge variety of wildlife including elephants, buffalo, hippos, topi, wildebeest, giraffe, the Nile crocodile, lion, cheetah, hyenas, wild dogs, antelope, rhino, zebra, warthog (my favorite) and baboon. It's also a bird lovers paradise with over 400 species of birds.
This site also gives you an idea of the best times to go, what kind of weather to expect, and costs.
I then went to IgoUgo. This site has everything you need to know about any destination including reviews, photos, and recommendations from people who have travelled there. There are lots of tips about where to stay and what to see.My trip will also include a few day in Namibia seeing Sossusvlei and the Skeleton Coast. I also want to spend 2 weeks or more in South Africa including a trip to MalaMala Game Reserve and Greater Kruger National Park. I also want to see some villages where the Ndebele people live and spend a few days in Capetown including a visit to a penguin reserve.
No trip to Southern Africa is complete without a trip to Victoria Falls which is on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe so that is also on the itinerary.

The picture is of one of the painted houses of the Ndebele people.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Barack Obama Elementary School

On Thursday night, the Hempstead School District in Long Island voted to rename Ludlum Elementary School, Barack Obama Elementary School. The school is diverse with a large Latino and African American student body and the students and staff requested the name change to honor this diversity and the election of the first African American president. Before the election, the students had mock debates and a mock election. Stories like this make me feel like we can be a great country again and I think this is just the first of many, many places in the US and all over the world that will be named in honor of our new President.

More good news:
A poll taken by the CNN Opinion Research Corp. found that 75 percent of Americans think Obama will be a good or great president. This is interesting because the number is so much higher than the 53 percent who voted for him.

I think most people would be more than happy to send W to the ranch early and have Obama take over the country now before things get worse. This is what Thomas Friedman had to say on the subject:

"If I had my druthers right now we would convene a special session of Congress, amend the Constitution and move up the inauguration from Jan. 20 to Thanksgiving Day. Forget the inaugural balls; we can’t afford them. Forget the grandstands; we don’t need them. Just get me a Supreme Court justice and a Bible, and let’s swear in Barack Obama right now — by choice — with the same haste we did — by necessity — with L.B.J. in the back of Air Force One. "

Friday, November 21, 2008

Potluck #51: Holidays and Cooking and Recipes- Oh My!

For this assignment I found a recipe on the Whole Foods website for Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts. It feeds 14-16 people so I used the Recipe Ingredient Conversion Calculator
to convert the recipe to feed 7-8 people.
Here is the converted recipe. The original amounts are in parenthesis.

Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing with Walnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil (2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon yellow onions, finely chopped (2 )
0.5 clove garlic, finely chopped (1 )
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (7 cup)
1 teaspoon salt (2 teaspoons)
1 cup uncooked wild rice (2 cup)
1 cup uncooked basmati rice (2 cup)
1 cup dried cranberries (2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped parsley (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped thyme (2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (1 1/2 cup)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Stir in wild rice, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in basmati rice, cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir in cranberries, parsley, thyme, and walnuts, cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with pepper and additional salt to taste. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Transfer rice mixture to dish and bake until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Nutritional information:

Per serving (about 7oz/212g-wt.): 330 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 380mg sodium, 58g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 12g sugar), 8g protein

Even though I hardly ever cook, I do enjoy looking at recipes online and I also love to look through cookbooks, which is easy to do when you work in the cataloging department at HCPL.

Here is a link to recipe for a Spice Cranberry Bundt Cake that I found on the Bon Appetit website:

This looks really yummy and I have a beautiful bundt cake pan that I bought at Williams Sonoma a few years ago. It has never been used.

Since both of these recipes have cranberries I decided to include some facts about them that I found on

Cranberries are low in calories, have zero fat and are a good source of Vitamin C.
Here are some of the health benefits of eating cranberries:
prevent bacteria in the bladder, kidneys and prostate
supports optimum urinary tract health
may prevent kidney stone
deodorize urine
have both antiviral and antibacterial properties
Here are some fun facts about cranberries:
More than 85% of the weight of cranberries is water!
Native Americans used a brewed cranberry mixture to draw poison from arrow wounds
Native Americans used cranberries as a natural meat preservative.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I like my Nissan Versa and was glad to read this from the December issue of Consumer Reports:
"The Honda Fit and Nissan Versa outperformed their competitors in Consumer Reports’ tests of eleven thrifty, small cars for the December issue. As a group, these cars provide fuel economy that’s second to only a few diesels and hybrids. . . In the group equipped with automatic transmissions, the Versa squeaked by the competition to achieve the best overall score. The Fit, Rio, and Accent, placed a close second, third, and fourth place, respectively, in that category. All four vehicles achieved “Very Good” overall scores. "

Friday, November 14, 2008

Front Pages

This web site has the front pages from 735 newspaper from 67 countries from November 5, 2008, the day after Obama won the election. It seems that the whole world was celebrating with us.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Here are 2 pictures of Ringo the neighborhood cat who likes to walk with the dogs when we do our walkies. He belongs to someone on another street but often eats at my house. He came in a few minutes ago to get out of the rain and entertain the dogs.


Here are two more pictures of Ringo making himself at home in the guest room.

The blue in the quilt really brings out the blue in his eyes. Isn't he a beautiful guy?

Forever Young

In 1974, Bob Dylan released the song "Forever Young" on the album Planet Waves. It has always been a favorite of mine and now there is a beautifully illustrated book of the lyrics. The illustrator, Paul Rogers, has cleverly included images from other Dylan songs on all of the pages.

There is also this neat little video on Amazon:

We have 17 copies of the book at HCPL. Thanks to Miss Grimm, who hearts Bob Dylan too, for showing me this book.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Rosie

Rosie is 9 years old today. Those of us who love her think she is aging beautifully. Tonight we will have cake and ice cream to celebrate.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month and the NEA has a list of recommended fiction, non-fiction and poetry books for all ages from pre-K to adult. You can find the list here:

Today I cataloged an audiobook by Native American author Louise Erdrich called The Porcupine Year. It's the third in a series of books about an Ojibwe family who live on Lake Superior in the 1800's. The other 2 books in the series are The Birchbark House, a National Book Award finalist, and The Game of Silence, winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. These books are recommended for grades 5-8 but I would like to read them all.
This is all pretty interesting to me because I recently became friends with a person who is an Ojibwe Indian. We started emailing each other after she posted a comment on my blog.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ann Nixon Cooper

Here is a picture of Ann Nixon Cooper, the 106 year old woman Obama talked about in his speech last night. Isn't she a better symbol of what America is all about than Joe the Plumber?

The World Reacts to Obama's Election

I am so proud of my country today. When Obama's victory was announced it seemed that the entire world was cheering alongside the millions of supporters in the United States.
Here are some of the reactions:
From the German paper the Bild: "Cheering on all continents: hula dances in Germany, frenzied joy in Japan, India and Africa - and in Kenya, the home of Obama's father, the 6th November was even made a holiday! The world celebrates the new U.S. president Barack Obama, 47."
This is from the Russian newspaper Pravda:
Only Satan would have been worse than the Bush regime. Therefore it could be argued that the new administration in the USA could never be worse than the one which divorced the hearts and minds of Americans from their brothers in the international community, which appalled the rest of the world with shock and awe tactics that included concentration camps, torture, mass murder and utter disrespect for international law. Yet in choosing Obama, the people of America have opted to come back into the international fold. Welcome back, friends!
From the British newspaper The Sun: "one giant leap for mankind."
Rama Yade, France's junior minister for human rights said this on French radio:
"This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten. America is rebecoming a New World.
On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes."

From Nelson Mandela: "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said "At a time when we have to confront immense challenges together, your election raises great hopes in France, in Europe and in the rest of the world."

Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast

Monday, November 3, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Baker 13

When I went to work today at the Fondren Library I noticed that one of the huge windows in the front was boarded up. Since last night was Halloween I knew that one of the Baker 13 had probably tried to leave a body print on the glass last night and had broken the glass. A few years ago a student did the same thing to one of the glass doors in the front of the library. I found out that the student last night was trying to leave a butt print on the window. Luckily, no one was hurt, including the student sitting at the desk directly under the window. I was told that there were huge shards of glass hanging in the window after the event. For those of you who don't know, Baker 13 is a tradition at Rice involving naked students and shaving cream. On the 13th and 31st of every month, or the 26th if there is no 31st, students wear only shoes and shaving cream and run around campus leaving shaving cream impressions of their bodies on buildings around campus while others throw water balloons at them. The Halloween run usually attracts the greatest number of runners.
Here is a picture I found on Flickr of the Baker 13.