Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Prayers

And deepest sympathy for those in Mumbai who are suffering loss and pain.

May you find solace as soon as you can.

Memory Makers and Memory Re-Creators

There are two types of Chefs. Those who make culinary memories and those who re-create memories.

The first is more common because they gave you your first taste of something.

Chances are it was your mother. In my case, I have been cooking since I was five years old. Many of my first tastes were ones I created myself but my parents introduced me to many different culinary traditions with the idea that you can not say you don't like something unless you try it once.

There are few major cooking styles I have not tried as a result. From rattlesnake chili to sweetbreads, I've tried a lot and am willing to try more. But my point is your first taste of something creates a culinary memory.

My favorite "The Simpsons" quote is of Principal Skinner recounting his experience as a POW "I spent the next three years in a POW camp, forced to subsist on a thin stew made of fish, vegetables, prawns, coconut milk, and four kinds of rice. I came close to madness trying to find it here in the States but they just can't get the spices right."

That is your first taste experience, your memory maker.

More rarely, you have the miraculous experience of eating a chef's dish that takes you back in time to that first taste of some other dish. You experience that dish as both nostogic and new. It transports you to both a new and old place at the same time.

Those dishes are made by chefs who are the Memory Re-Creators.

These are the Chefs that take your most basic flavor experiences and not only re-create them but make them so much better that you are moved to tears. Chef Keller of The French Laundry is famous for this.

A friend of ours made it his ambition to eat at three of the World's Best Restaurants (including waiting three YEARS for a reservation at one of them). He considers The French Laundry to be the best of his experience and part of his experience was Chef Keller's chocolate ice cream.

Chocolate Ice Cream. A real basic.

But this chocolate ice cream from The French Laundry was so good, so perfect, that our friend felt both moved by all the memories he ever had of chocolate ice cream but also declared that he could not eat any other chocolate ice cream again because he'd eaten the perfect chocolate ice cream and it would be hard to hard to import Chef Keller's ice cream from California to the UK.

My point is always cook to your best because you are both a memory maker and a memory re-creator and also try everything. You never know when you'll make a culinary memory of a lifetime.

I'm sharing this because Pixar's Ratatouie is on and while it is not my favorite cooking film (Babette's Feast - which ROCKS!), it's gotten me on a food subject.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Not Just One Day

This article is a valient cry for Christmas to be low-key affair in this time of recession. While these suggestions are all well in good let's also remember that the Christmas season is a season - not a day.

We celebrate Advent, Christmas Day, and the 12 days of Christmas in our household. It's actually fun and it teaches our children that Christmas is a time of year, not just one day about presents.

Advent wreaths are great. My kids love the ritual of lighting the candles before dinner. We celebrate St. Nicholas Day and the other saint's days during Advent not particularly religiously but in family fun ways that are special and create family traditions that last.

Christmas is, of course, Christmas but the 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany have special Saints days as well that are worth devoting activities to - even if it just moving the three wise men closer and closer to the baby Jesus in the creche.

Because I'm Catholic, we follow Catholic traditions but a simple google search with your particular christianity will certainly offer up some family-oriented activities that will keep the focus of the season where it belongs on the birthday of Christ and your family.

American Self-Reliance

Michelle Malkin was inspired by this women Jen and her story so much she wrote an article about her.

Now, I'm inspired too. What an example of self-reliance in these times of gimme. Thank you Jen and Ms. Malkin for sharing this story.

Stuck On Stupid

Peter Ferrara's article in The American Spectator is both historically fascinating and offers some wonderful solutions to our government which seems to be "stuck on stupid."

Give it a read, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The New Totalitarians

I have become increasingly concerned with the "politics of hate" as described so well by Maggie Gallagher in her column yesterday over at

As she states in her article,
"In the last few weeks, the same-sex marriage movement has visibly morphed from a movement advocating for tolerance into a political tsunami which will brook no dissent and openly seeks to punish Americans who disagree with its new dogmas.

Since California passed Proposition 8, extraordinary attacks have been unleashed -- livelihoods threatened, artists blacklisted, property defaced, worship services blocked, and even some physical attacks directed at ordinary people simply because they say marriage means a man and a woman."
How would homosexual groups react if their real life actions were portrayed in a TV show?

Perhaps we should. Because apparently gay marriage activists are targeting "Religious minorities (Mormons and members of black churches)". This is unacceptable.

With ever increasing frequency, Liberals activists who can't argue the science, can't convince voters, and can't win via democracy resort to horrible thuggish behavior. And now, homosexuals have joined the ranks of totalitarian thugs.

I grew up the daughter of an Interior Designer. I was a "fag hag". I am by no means anti-homosexual. Homosexuals have made so many advances and now you are beating up other minorities because they don't agree with you.

For Shame.

You set your fight back decades the further you go down this road. And so does every other group who uses intimidation, ad hominem attacks and violence instead of civil debate to persuade.

For Shame! You are The New Totalitarians.

(And let me be absolutely clear about this when I call you a totalitarian I mean nazi or communist thug. Take your pick.)

Giving Thanks

Thank you my darling husband for all that you do.

Thank you my beautiful children for filling my life with joy (and exhaustion).

Thank you my blog visitors for making my musings real by reading them.

And thank you to all Americans without whom this would not be the great country it is today.

Thank you.

And Have A Happy Thanksgiving.

Almost Worst Column Ever

Hat Tip to Citizen A over at Screen Door Republic for sending me an article that gives my vote for Worst Column Ever a very close run.

It is very egregious. In Marie Coco's article, she calls this year a "Walmart Christmas" versus all the "GM Christmases" we've had before.


Does anyone remember the South Park episode where everyone who drives a hybrid car became so smug about their "goodness" that they created a giant smug cloud that threatened the planet (oh and every time the hybrid-car-owners farted, they bent down and sniffed their own butts - real deep sniffs). Ms. Coco's article is a one-person giant smug cloud and from the level of intelligence emanating from this article, I'd say I know what she's been sniffing as well.

Can any person making under six figures and living near a Walmart honestly say they've never stepped inside one? Can any parent with small children say they've never visited a Walmart? If you can, you are either a liar or make so much money this recession will never affect you.

The only place in my area where I can get my daughter's Girl Scouts stuff is Walmart for crying out loud.

This Coco chick claims that once upon a time in America, every factory worker earned the perfect amount of money by working in a factory. Additionally, "if you were working class, you were not feeling betrayed and you didn't necessarily feel inferior to, say, the people who sold stock on Wall Street." What a load of baby boomer nostalgia/nonsense.

Now all evil in the world can be placed not at the feet of power-hungry Unions or money-hungry Corporate executives/Wall Streeters but laid down at Walmart's door.

Why? Because, shock-and-horror, the largest private sector employer in the world has some employee relations court cases.

Walmart has 1.2 million employees in the US alone. That's a lot of people to keep employed and happy. GM "only" has about 324,000 employees and in 1985 that number was roughly 800,000.

In difficult economic times, I'm pretty certain we want the largest private employer in the US to continue to be the largest private employer in the US. AND to continue to provide their customers (aka us) with value for money.

And for Liberals Elites, that's the problem. Liberal Elites HATE Walmart because it does not apologize for keeping its wages low. No one is forced to work for Walmart or remain a Walmart employee if unhappy. This is a free country. But Liberals want to punish Walmart for its size, efficiencies, and affordability by forcing them to unionize thus driving up wages until Walmart is no longer competitive.

Thus the lament that higher priced mom-and-pop shops were driven out of business by lower-priced Walmart is combined with a desire to force Walmart to raise wages and as-a-result prices to punish all of us for wanting a good deal. Thanks Liberals, thanks a lot.

For those reasons, the Coco article is not quite the Worst Column Ever because she is not completely and entirely wrong. A Walmart Christmas is just what the economists' ordered.

But she is clearly a freakin' idiot.

Again, thank you Citizen A for pointing that out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Not Far Right, Far Left

An Italien National Socialist group is paying for babies in this article, titled "Money Offered For Babies Named After Mussolini".

While the offer is sad on so many levels, what really bugged me is the "far right" description of the group. As Jonah Goldberg points out in his excellent book "Liberal Fascism", National Socialists were a LEFT WING group, not a right wing one.

Describing National Socialists "far right" is only done so that liberal leftwingers can both disavow their historic support of Nazi's AND call any and all people conservative or otherwise who disagree with them Nazis.

The more often we clarify this point, then the less often (hopefully) liberals will call folks nazis just for disagreeing with them.

Bye Bye Senor LocoPants

Hugo Chavez is a nutjob. And finally Venezuelans seem to be catching on. While the opposition is still small, it is a miracle that any opposition exists in the face of Senor LocoPant's totalitarianism.

So here's to falling oil prices, may they mess up the regimes of Chavez and all the other socialist, oil-money dependant countries around the world.

Hopefully, these nations will wake up and realize socialism/communism/single industry economies are not the answer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Amazing Grace

The next time I run into another smug liberal piece of crap like that Gail Collins broad, I'm gonna put them in front of a movie screen ala Clockwork Orange and force them to watch the film Amazing Grace.

Because no one person can change the world by themselves unless you are a person of Wilber Wilberforce's character, charisma, and drive.

And let me assure all the liberals out there - none of you today are Wilber Wilberforce. Just because you write a column or talk on TV does not make you the most important person on the planet.

Wanna see what I mean - watch this clip, then watch the movie.

Happy Birthday William F. Buckley

A couple of fantastic WFB quotes from NRO in honor of what would have been Mr. Buckley's 83 Birthday.

The man was brilliant.

WFB on Conservatism
When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.
William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

WFB on Criticism
One often hears it said that one should ignore criticism. I do not agree that it is always wise to ignore criticism of oneself and one’s endeavors, even when the criticism is ill-natured, exhibitionistic, and predictable. For even when that is the character of the criticism, there is sometimes something to be learned from it not only about oneself and one’s critics, but about the world we live in.
William F. Buckley Jr., Aug. 1, 1956, National Review


WFT on Tolerance:
One often hears it said that one should ignore criticism. I do not agree that it is always wise to ignore criticism of oneself and one’s endeavors, even when the criticism is ill-natured, exhibitionistic, and predictable. For even when that is the character of the criticism, there is sometimes something to be learned from it not only about oneself and one’s critics, but about the world we live in.
William F. Buckley Jr., Aug. 1, 1956, National Review

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NBC Fires Weather Channel Employees

During Green Week too!

Man, that's gotta hurt.

Unless they realized how unnecessary it all is.

The title says it all

I'm not sure if you want to read further than the title of this article:

Astronauts try to work out kinks in urine machine.

The Children are Our Future

If the children are our future, then judging from the sounds coming from upstairs, our future is picking which volcano to hollow out in order to build their lair/weather-controlling machine.

Gotta go.

In Big Book's Pocket

Obama's books success may put him in the pocket of a German publishing company.

This article by John Rosenthal is relatively reasonable and very well-corroborated (check out the link to Obama's 2004 tax returns).

A good sample follows:
"In the interest of transparency, Obama should surely now release the full details of his contractual relationship with the Bertelsmann Corporation. After all, if one is to judge by his recent tax returns, even as president, he will be paid far more by Bertelsmann than by the American taxpayers. For him to be taking advice from the Bertelsmann Foundation suggests conflict of interest on a magnitude that has perhaps never before been seen in the history of the American presidency. Although legally distinct, the foundation and the corporation are, in effect, just functionally distinct parts of a single entity. The Bertelsmann Foundation is in fact the majority shareholder in the corporation, presently holding roughly three-quarters of the company shares, to which, however, there correspond no voting rights. All the remaining shares are held by the Mohn family: family patriarch Reinhard, his wife Liz, and their children. The Mohns in turn control the foundation (to which Reinhard Mohn assigned a large part of the company capital in 1993), such that foundation and corporation are perfectly intertwined and both are, in effect, emanations of the Mohn family’s power."

There's nothing wrong with your book selling well (buy my husband's book!) but I do believe Americans should be concerned when their President receives outside income.

Of course, presumably all these payments will be put into a trust while the Obama's are in the White House. So on one hand all of this is pretty much a non-issue, on the other hand why are we only learning about these connections AFTER the election?

It does lead me to wonder, given the overwhelming bias Obama enjoyed during the election process, how many newspapers are owned by these large publishing groups?

No More Bailouts

Sen. Inhofe wrote an excellent article on NRO about why government should get out of the business of corporate wealth-redistribution and stop bailing out every business that shows up in DC with its hand outstretched.

We have the opportunity to do so during the lame duck session. This Congress has the opportunity to show American taxpayers that its government still cares about them, too, and it can do that by taking back what’s left of the $700 billion. Doing so just might help the American people have a little more confidence in the integrity of our institutions and the common sense of our leaders.

The greatest threat to our economy is not some obscure divergence of bond yields anymore. By far the greatest threat to economic growth and prosperity in the years to come is the extent to which the government has recently entangled itself in the marketplace. The government must immediately begin the process of extricating itself from the financial sector of our economy. Let’s begin that process.

This has been and will continue to be a difficult time for all Americans. The unwinding of past mistakes is never a pleasant process. However, many of us believe additional government attempts to make that process more pleasant will not only be futile, but will also move this country further from those first principles that have made us the great nation we are today.
Good stuff, eh?

In the interests of disclosure, I've met the senator at one of my husband's book things and he is a very nice man as well as smart, smart, smart.