Sunday, September 30, 2007

An Oldie but Goodie

Title Bar link takes you to my Butternut Squash recipe - I'll be making it for the Halloween party we're having this year... it's Um-um good! It also tastes better if you make it a day ahead to let the flavors blend. I'll be serving it along with some Baguette crostini, Chicken Apple Walnut Salad (1st recipe) and Pumpkin Spice Cake (see below-it's not like the one in the picture though! Our scanner isn't working...)

2 pkgs spice cake mix
6 eggs
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups vanilla vanilla baking chips
2 cans (16 oz) vanilla frosting (or make your own)
Red, Yellow & Green food coloring paste
textured paper towel
2 pastry bags & pastry tips #5 round & #352 leaf
1 cup flaked coconut (optional)

In a mixing bowl combine cake mixes, eggs, pumpkin, milk and oil. Beat on low 30 seconds, medium for 2 minutes. Stir in chips. Fill 1 greased muffin cup 2/3 full. Pour remaining batter into two greased and floured 12 cup fluted tube pans. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes for cupcake, 40-45 minutes for cakes. Cool in pans COMPLETELY, then remove.

Level bottom of each cake, spread one cake bottom with frosting, put cake bottoms together to form a pumpkin. Tint about 3/4 of remaining frosting orange (combining Red & yellow), tint the final remainder green. Place cupcake upside down in the center of cake to make a stem, frost with green frosting. Frost the cake with the orange frosting. Let stand, until frosting is slightly stiff, about 30 minutes. Press paper towel lightly into surface to texturize.

Use green frosting and round pastry tip to pipe curly vines from pumpkin stem and base. Use second bag and leaf pastry tip, and holding back at 45 degree angle, pipe leaves randomly along vines.

Color coconut with green food coloring and sprinkle around base of cake.

1. I recommend food paste as using regular food coloring gives only a pastel color, not the deep rich green/orange that you want.
2. Making your own frosting is a bit better, the canned kind never quite hardens up.
3. You can skip the whole coconut step, it does look nice, but isn't necessary.
4. If you want lower calories, use applesauce to replace the oil.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Faster than a...speeding mountain bike!

This video shows a very fast mountain bike run. The good news is he set the world record. The bad news is that this video montage shows everything in video bites without showing the whole thing. Hopefully more will come out later. I was going to show you another mountain bike speed video that ended in the bike disintegrating, but the injuries sustained were a bit much for a family site like this. Well, okay, a somewhat family site. You can search "mountain bike speed" at YouTube if you want to see it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oo, Gross!

Saw this on my Dad's truck. Liked it.

I was preparing a post on the Media's Flying Circus regarding Ahmadinejad, but I realized that our House of Pravdas news sources we're going to cherry pick the propaganda and leave us with polarized debates on irrelevant talking points. I can sum it up accurately and succinctly by saying, "A guy talked at a college." All else was posturing on all sides.

Oo, gross.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Don't Tase America, Bro

This certainly hasn't been a slow news week. While CNN, Fox, and the local news (all of which are shown on the telescreens at my workout facility) are all showing Britney Spears and OJ Simpson news, they do occasionally break away for 10 to 30 seconds at a time to cover (sandwich in) the following REAL news events happening this week:

Civil Rights March in Jena

From Reuters:

Civil rights protesters converge on Jena

JENA, Louisiana (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of black Americans descended on a small town in central Louisiana on Thursday to protest what they say is injustice against six black teen-agers charged over a high school fight.

Protesters arrived in buses and cars from cities as far away and apart as New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and New Orleans for a rally in support of the "Jena 6."

The case has become a symbol for many blacks of a wider struggle against racism and perceived discrimination against black males by the criminal justice system.

From Southern Studies blog

Why the 'progressive' blogosphere silence about the Jena 6?

As we reported earlier today, thousands of people -- with African-American youth being the largest contingent, say our sources on the scene -- have descended on Jena, Louisiana for a historic march in support of the Jena 6.

The Jena 6 has become the main topic of discussion on countless black websites, radio stations and street conversations, inspiring countless activists young and old to take action.

But on this historic day for the most high-profile civil rights issue of the moment, where is the progressive blogosphere? I did a quick tour of the major "progressive" sites to see how they were covering it -- and was astounded to find a complete white-out of this historic cause

This is not surprising to me. Everyone from TV to blogs likes taking potshots at Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and it doesn't surprise me that cable TV focuses more on their personalities than the fact that a death threat in the form of a noose isn't punished and a schoolyard fight turns into a 20 year (each) prison sentence for 6 young men.

Confirmed racists like David Duke and Mark Fuhrman are getting on TV as proponents of "family values" while Republican moderates try to counsel me about how all of this is flotsam from the past and why should I dredge it up? Well, thanks to a number of factors, racism against Blacks is back in full force. Way to go, America.

Kerry Tasers Free Speech

Isis at Floating Down Denial pointed this out a couple days ago along with making a very good point (he also has the more common, better quality video of the incident). Why were young Democrats, supposed champions of the Constitution and civil rights, applauding the police for tackling and using a taser on a high-spirited student journalist who asked uncomfortable questions that I would like the answer to? The student was unarmed and was waiting for Kerry to answer his question.

The ensuing silence among candidates and partisans is a telling sign that Democrats appear to be gearing up for a transition of Bush's extraordinary and illegal escalation of executive power so they can take a turn at fascism themselves. Regardless of what Jon Stewart says, this is a case of authoritarian overreaction that should never have happened. The fact that people like Stewart and several liberal bloggers are willing to equate being loud-mouthed with police brutality as essentially cancelling either out shows that this "side" has a problem with moral porportion. I've never been tasered, but I've never heard anyone describe it as "no big deal." It is a form of social sadism that people aren't more outraged about this.

Senate Condemns Free Speech

I remember when it was okay to run an ad in the New York Times without getting condemned by Congress. I could see it if someone denied the holocaust or advocated the death of world leaders (yeah, I am talking to you Robertson) or child pornography, but those kinds of trifles go unpunished. However, accuse the PR leader of the military, General David Petraeus, of deliberately misleading the public about the level of unrest and chaos in Iraq, well then you even get the Democrats breathing down your neck. did just such a thing this last week and the Senate did their part as well.

Why would so many Democrats join Republicans in condemning this fairly innocuous ad? Could it be for Power? For Next Year? Maybe.

By the way, the ad is spot on. It is our government who refuses to live in reality.

Don't tase me, Bro.

This phrase spoken by Andrew Mayer as his right to free speech was tackled to the ground at the Kerry speech has already caught on. Both left and right wing outlets already have products out with this phrase on it. Before the pop culturists turn this into another form of entertainment, maybe we need to stop and think about whether our need to laugh should come at the expense of fighting for equality and our freedom or waiting to see how much more ethnic cleansing, disease, and death we will tolerate in Iraq under the glare of our eagle.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liberals and Conservatives Really Do Think Differently!

It apparently isn't just the politics.

The linked LA Times article tells of an interesting experiment conducted by scientists at New York University and UCLA. College students that were known to be either frothily left-wing or frothily right-wing were asked to take a stimulus-response test which was designed to lull the examinee into a conditioned response.

The result?

The conservatives processed the information more quickly and responded faster.
However, the liberals made far fewer mistakes.

Even more interesting was the brain scans of the participants. The liberals actually showed far more activity in the areas of the brain related to conflict and problem solving than the conservatives. This meant that the liberals were far more prepared to adapt to the situation at hand and deal with it appropriately. The conservatives, on the other hand, quickly formulated a fixed response pattern and more or less stuck to it even if it caused them to make more mistakes.

Draw your own conclusions.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A look at 6 years ago in comics

After it happened, the news seemed to be everywhere.

Ruben Bolling

Nobody was quite sure what to say.

Jim Siergey

For a short time, there was hope that we would pull together.

Tim Eagan

But we didn't for long.

Lalo Alcaraz

Soon, violent rhetoric ruled the day.

Matt Wuerker

The next thing we knew, we were being sold a war in Iraq.

Andy Singer

However, the war didn't turn out as the planners hoped.

Joe Sharpnack

The cartoons were shamelessly photographed from a book called "Attitude: The New Subversive Political Cartoons" (2002) edited by Ted Rall. Rall is an accomplished cartoonist himself. Attitude 2 and Attitude 3 are now available as well.

The authors are captioned below their comic with a link to their respective websites. Check out their stuff! Click the pictures to get a closer look.