Monday, February 28, 2005

Friday Night:
Me: I knew a guy in college who used to room with this kid who grew up in Appallachia and believed that jews actually had horns. He wasn't mean or bigoted or anything about it, but he really believed they had horns.

Michael: It's true! When I was growing up, I had a trumpet and a flugelhorn.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I had to dig up an old recipe, and it's actually easier to post it here for the world to see than it is to print it off and carry it home:

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

One package silken, firm tofu. If you can only get silken OR firm, go for silken, as that is the more important characteristic. I prefer Mori-Nu, which comes in those cool little aseptic packages (like juice boxes), but some places only have the stuff that comes submersed in liquid in little plastic tray thingies. If that's the only kind you can get, be sure to drain it and rinse it lightly. If you want the lowest possible guilt-factor, you can get 'lite' tofu. It is a little lower in fat, and I've never noticed a difference in the final product.

One cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Two tablespoons honey.

One teaspoon vanilla extract.

Put the tofu in the blender, and blend it thoroughly until smooth. Leave it blending while you melt the chocolate/honey mixture. You can melt it on the stove or in the microwave, just put the chips in a bowl or pan then pour the honey over them. It takes about 45 seconds to a minute in the microwave, longer on the stove. Remove from heat (or from microwave) and add vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Sometimes, the chocolate will dry out and get clumpy and gross. If this happens, ignore it and continue blithely on, as it will have no discernible effect on the end result.


Add the chocolate to the blending tofu. You can either add it slowly in small bits or dump it in as one big ass clump, whichever best suits your personal philosophy. Some people will not feel comfortable adding ingredients while the blender is running, and those people should turn the blender off before adding the chocolate as no desert is worth ruining your peace of mind. As the chocolate blends with the tofu, use a spoon to turn the still-white tofu toward the center of the blender so as to make sure the whole thing is uniformly chocolatized (or, if you prefer, cocoified).

Again, those uncomfortable doing this with the blender on should turn the blender off. If you do elect to leave the blender on, FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T DROP THE SPOON OR LET IT GO MORE THAN AN INCH OR SO PAST THE TOP OF THE MOUSSE!!!!! If you do, it will ruin the spoon and possibly the blender as well as making a hell of a mess, and whoever else is in the kitchen will say "I told you so" even if they didn't. Transfer to serving dish and chill for an hour or so. Serves four generously.

Serving tips: Chill in a nice glass bowl with sliced, unsweetened strawberries on top. As it chills, the juice will make a nice glaze. Alternatively, crush Oreos or other chocolate cookies into the bottom of individual serving cups (large wine glasses are perfect), add the mousse and, just before serving, push a single Oreo into the top so that it sticks up like a fin. If you're channeling Martha Stewart, add a fanned strawberry or a couple of raspberries for fun.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Time for that longer Hunter S. Thompson post I've had bouncing around in my skull all day.

More than a couple of my compatriots in college wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson, and one or two even had the writing chops and self-possession to pull it off. The others, well, I think they just liked getting fucked up, or didn't get that Thompson's drug-addled persona bore about as much resemblance to their (our?) chemified ramblings as Jackie Chan's drunken kung fu bore to a pissed off drunk throwing punches outside the Flamingo bar on a downtown Kirksville Saturday night. I certainly didn't get it. Not till a long time later.

Thompson's craziness bought him a license to tell the truth about our cities, our culture, our leaders, and ourselves. The guns, the booze, the gambling? Hunter was us: 100%, pure, uncut America. The only thing missing was the bullshit, which was what made him so hard to take, and so necessary.

Hunter spent his life straining against the ropes, and we're all a little freer for it. Still, there's one less truth-teller in the world today, at a time when we need all we can get.

Damn it.
Monday
The first thing Christie did this morning was step in fresh cat puke.

The first thing I heard this morning was the radio telling me Hunter S. Thompson shot himself.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Zombie Infection Simulation
This post from Kevin Drum on blacks in the Republican party reminds me of a story my dad tells about a guy he works with. This guys is, reportedly, a huge Mizzou football fan. Huge. But when it came to choose a college, he went to Central Missouri State, a much smaller school just down the road. Why? In his own words, "If I'd gone to MU, I could have gone to every game, sure. But at CMSU, I got to play!"

Black conservatism in a nutshell.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Time was, I set my heart out for the world
like a construction papered shoebox
with a hole cut out and waited.

Time was, I spent the day playing Romeo,
scribbling poems and ogling bouquets I never sent
because I'm supposed to be playing Mercutio.

Time was nothing to a hormone addled old soul
stuck in love with one wrong girl after another,
or maybe just the wrong guy, and

Time was, I could be derailed by a glance returned
or a phone call that wasn't, blurring the line
between love and indigestion.

Time wasn't an issue yesterday for me making soup
while you cleaned out the fridge, and I have never felt
more solid than watching you chop celery.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I can't even begin to capture the range of thoughts that went through my mind on seeing the subject line "Mardi Gras Pictures" in my in-box, then seeing that it was from my mother.

For the record, the pictures were from a Mardi Gras hat contest at church.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I'm not sure about the contents of these recipes, but I love the format: Cooking For Engineers
Scenes from a Marriage
Scene One: Waking up to the sound of a cat puking on the floor? Not funny.

Realizing that said cat is doing it from the nightstand, meaning that there's going to be some serious splatter effect? Even less funny.

Having your wife scream and jump (from a prone position, no less) into your arms because she was having a Shakespearean nightmare and the splatter made her think Henry IV was beheading people next to our bed? Now that's funny.

Scene Two: Picking up a foot-high stack of Shakespeare from human resources (ah, the benefits of working for an textbook wholesaler!) and explaining them with, "The wife's on a Shakespeare kick". I get serious warm fuzzies offing being married to a woman who says, "Why don't we own more Shakespeare?"

Scene Three: Three mornings ago, her first words to me upon waking from what must have been a very interesting dream were "If we ever decide to become gun owners, we need to remember to keep the viewmaster cassettes separate from the gun clips. You don't want to confuse those two."

Um, okay.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I've been thinking about Bush's plan for Social Security. Up until recently, the whole thing's been pretty vague, and it's not much clearer now, what with the constantly changing nomenclature (for the record, I'll be sticking with "private accounts", even though it's not much more accurate than "personal accounts") and occasional out and out lies.

Now, you all know, unless you're brand new to the site, that I think our president is a damn liar and an incompetent to boot, lacking the basic fiscal sense to turn a profit selling water in the Sahara. Most of the time when he suggests some mutton headed nonsense (manned missions to Mars anyone? Steroid use?), I just ignore him and figure he'll lose interest the next time a shiny object moves in front of his eyes. But this one doesn't seem to be going away, so it might be worth it to take a look at the merits of this one.

Having come of age in the 80s, I never expected that Social Security would be there for me. That's more or less an article of faith for my generation (that would be "X"). I still don't, really. That kind of cynicism is the natural result of following the baby boomers through life. But, based on everything I've read, it seems that the greatest danger to Social Security right now is Bush's Republican Party.

Here're the facts, as I understand them, with a certain fudge factor due to my having been an English major, not an economics major:
  • Right now, the amount paid into Social Security is greater than the amount paid in. This is intentional, to build up a surplus for when that is no longer the case.
  • According to the Social Security administration's most pessimist projections, 2042 is the year when this surplus will run out.
  • We each pay Social Security only on the first $90,000 of our income. Anything above that has no Social Security taken out.
  • Raising that amount would solve the problem.
  • If we ignore the problem, benefits will eventually have to be cut by around 20-25%.
Here are the facts of Bush's plan, as near as I can figure out:
  • Even his own people admit that it won't actually solve the problem.
  • To pay for it while continuing to pay out benefits, we'll have to borrow several trillion dollars. And then there are the transitional costs. And the new bureaucracy to maintain it all.
  • By changing the way benefits are indexed (to inflation instead of wages), benefits will be cut by as much as 50%.
  • The government will even out the risk factors, so that people whose investments do poorly will still make the median amount. If you do really, really well, the government will take the lion's share of "your" profits.
  • With the benefit cuts factored in, you'll end up getting less money out of the system than if they'd just left everything alone.
  • The first thing you get to do when you retire is buy an annuity for X years that cannot be left to your family when you die. In other words, your first act as a retiree will be to fill out a government form gambling on how much longer you think you'll live. If you guess high, the government keeps your money. If you guess low...well, it's hard to get a straight answer out of them on this one.
  • You will have little or no say in how this money is invested.
  • There are folks on Wall Street who stand to make millions, possibly billions, if this plan becomes law.
So, trillions of dollars of our money goes to people who are already filthy rich, Social Security is still in need of help, our benefits will actually go down, and the government ends up even deeper in debt. At this point, I really only have one question: I know why Wall Street wants this to happen. What's everyone else's excuse?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

To see something incredibly cool, go to maps.google.com and type "chocolate in Kansas City" in the search box. Zoom in for a closer view, and click and drag to move around. Is there anything that Google doesn't do better than the competition?

BTW, for the truly best chocolate in Kansas City, Annedore's is the place. It's the second result.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Via Stephen Taylor, we have: The Lamest Hostage Taking Ever.

This does have me wondering, though, if the way I used to treat my action figures when I was a kid would now qualify me as a terrorist.
New Addiction: Lifehacker (by Gina Trapani)