Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some Green News

Just found this nice link to Scholastic's Green site for kids. It's pretty cool. I'm going to show it to La Prima. She's all about websites these days.... I wonder where she gets it!? It's sorta cool, you can calculate your green points that get added to the score for the whole site. Not being a gamer, it's the first time I've ever seen such a high score related to me on a screen!

There's a good review on Gardenpunks of Affluenza, which makes me want to read the book. Maybe I'll suggest it to my book group.

And for food fun, I thought I'd add something green - a review of an Absinthe distributor's site/blog on one of my food blogs. Who knew it was available in the US?! Next time I want to channel Emile Zola, I'll put in an order for some of the "green fairy". With a history like this, who wouldn't:
Boche had known a joiner who had stripped himself stark naked in the rue Saint-Martin and died doing the polka—he was an absinthe-drinker.[33]

The photo is of some pretty, green cupcakes from my favorite cupcake site: Cupcakes that Take the Cake!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Random Round-Up

Up Helly Aa - Britain's biggest fire festival and torchlight procession took place in Lerwick, Shetland, to celebrate its Norse heritage. (Doesn't it seem like it should be called, "UP! Hell YAA!"?)

In depressing news, there are even more signs that our food supply is getting grosser and grosser by the minute. (Maybe I mean Grocer?) Check this out:
  • Even though we know pesticides are bad, and chemicals derived from nerve agents used in warfare are worse, there are still enough of them in the regular food found at grocery stores to cause traces of the chemicals in children's saliva and urine. [Wonder of wonders!] The same study found that when kids ate organic food, the bad chemicals were NOT present.
  • You all wonder why I don't eat beef?? Mad Cow disease, my friends! I have absolutely NO FAITH that our livestock population at mega-farms is healthy. And stories like this reinforce my fears (don't click through if you're squeamish).
  • On a brighter note, a 3-year study has just been launched into whether healthier food choices (and ingestion!!) might decrease aggression and violent behavio(u)r in Britain's prison population. I think I know what the findings will show, but being the amateur scientist that I am, I will wait to see the proof before jumping to conclusions!

And in even more positive news, the Australian government has announced that they plan to officially apologize to the Aboriginal people of Australia for their mistreatment throughout the years. It's about time. But a good step.

Last, but most certainly not least, here's a shout-out to my pal, Charlotte! Go check out her beautiful photos from Siena. The mosaic is amazing, right!? And the carved head (from one of the doors ?) is so beautiful. She says there's more to see.... so keep up the great work - Yay Charlotte! we're all waiting!

Phew. Well, that's all for now. Keep it tuned to this same bat channel, folks.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wow! I saw this photo and it made me smile.
Romanian Gypsy contestants react with delight after being selected for the final of a Gypsy beauty and traditional dance contest in Bucharest.
I am fascinated by gypsies - the Rom. The movie "Latcho Drom" is what hooked me. And gypsy music too, love it.

I went to the Patron Saint Index, and found that the gypsies' patron is Sarah! [fascinating] Anyway, there it says:
Jewish Old Testament Matriarch. Wife of the Patriarch Abraham. A convert from paganism, she was the first female convert to the faith of Abraham. Nomad in the desert of Canaan. When she was aged 90, she heard angels say she would finally become a mother. She laughed at the idea, and when her son was born, she named him Isaac from the word for laughter..... Patron of Gitans.
It must have been her nomadic lifestyle that earned her the patronage.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Need One of These!

Seriously. I've been fantasizing about an "oil bath" for weeks now - my skin is Soooooooo dry! And in doing a search for an image of what I'm talking about, I came across all kinds of wacky stuff, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Does anybody else out there remember the Wookie "Xmas Special" from tv where we got to see Chewbacca's home planet? Good times!

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Sad Day, I Guess

"Two miners in Hirwaun, near Merthyr Tydfill, console each other after finishing their final shift at Tower Colliery as the last deep mine in Wales shuts." from: BBC

It's bittersweet really. I mean, no one should work that far underground. It's always hard when "a way of life" has to end.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Home Too Long with Sick Child

I'm hooked! The Backyardigans RULE! Lazy Town"? I'm there! Especially if Sportacus were to ask me.... ooh so cute! And then there's STEVE!?! Who doesn't just adore Steve? His eyes......

La Segunda has been home with a fever and a cold, and it looks like La Prima is coming down with it! Not only do I have the Backyardigans theme song in my head on constant replay-loop, but I understand La Segunda's massive crush on Diego! I mean, what's not to love? He's Latin, bilingual, well, actually TRI-lingual if you count that he can talk to the animals, he's outdoorsy and prepared for anything......

See what I mean? I've GOT to get back to my day job!

Friday, January 18, 2008


This is a good image for today, from one of my favorite Birding blogs, Peregrinations Ornitholigiques.

Enjoy the weekend, all!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More on Russia

I love it when my crushes start talking tough!

"The interviews had little to do with their work and were clearly aimed at exerting undue pressure on innocent individuals," he said.

"Our paramount consideration is the well-being of our staff and I feel we cannot continue our work without significant risk to them."

In a statement to MPs, Mr Miliband expressed "anger and dismay" at Russia's actions.

We saw similar actions during the Cold War but frankly thought they had been put behind us
David Miliband
Foreign Secretary

He said the council's Russian staff had been questioned by security services on everything from the British Council's institutional status to the "health and welfare of family pets".

"We saw similar actions during the Cold War but frankly thought they had been put behind us," he told MPs.

"I think the whole House will agree such actions are reprehensible, not worthy of a great country, and contrary to the letter and spirit of the legal framework under which the British Council operates, notably international law"


Library of Congress Photos

Just read on BlogHer that the Library of Congress is looking for help labeling some of their photos. they've teamed up with Flickr. Check it out. There are some amazing images, like the one above of a santo from a church in Las Trampas, NM circa 1940's.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This makes me want to barf

I look at this picture and I want to hurl! Makes me absolutely sick. What is that, a gold telephone in the middle of all that bling? What are we doing accepting gifts like this from these oil barons?
Michael Abramowitz writes in The Washington Post: "When President Bush showed up Sunday to meet United Arab Emirates President Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, he was presented with the biggest bling Secret Service agents said they had ever seen: a giant necklace set with hundreds of rubies, emeralds and other precious stones, holding a medallion that included a hand-painted enamel American flag.
If you read about the opulence that the press corps is experiencing, it makes you realize the extent of the discrepancy between the rich and the poor in places like Saudi or the UAE.

It all reminds me of the Russian Empire. [Even the bling looks similar!] The nobles and monarchy were riding around in gilded carriages. And the peasants were starving. No wonder they want a revolution.

At least it's good to know we've got our secret weapon on the case!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Too much time AND Candy on their hands....

Check it out! that's some Minas Tirith going on there...... It's true I used to check fanatically, every day. It's been a while, I confess, and the distance hasn't been a bad thing, I think.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Quick Round-Up

  • This Sunday, January 13, 2008 - Austen Fest on PBS, Masterpiece Theater - Check it out! [Thanks, Lakshmi, for the head's up!]
  • A great post from BlogHer on smart money management for women (a hot topic for me, especially now!)
  • And a prayer-let from "Our Lady of Lards" to keep my mind on the matter.

Have a great weekend, all

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Social Science Research - IRB's

So, I'm not as up on Social Science research as I once was, back in the day, but now, working in the midst of Biomedical researchers, I am very familiar with Internal Review Boards (IRB's).

I bring this up because I just read this great article on BlogHer which discusses the pros and cons of IRB's. And I have to say, I'm not really buying the "con" argument. I agree with the author that when the Humanities, as a whole, try to get around these kinds of reviews because they are "limiting" or "intrusive," that's often the cry of poor planners. I mean, we too should have a well-thought-out methodology. And have SOME idea of where our research is leading us, and what some pitfalls might be. That even our "non-invasive" questioning of informants actually DOES have an impact. Recent use of anthropologists by the military highlights this issue in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

But what really got me thinking about this was an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer a few months back about a pair of twins:

The two had been put up for adoption and separated in infancy as part of a 1960s experiment......

Their continued search for answers led them to Viola Bernard, a renowned New York psychiatrist who believed that identical twins would better forge individual identities if separated. She had persuaded the adoption agency to send twins to different homes.

They also uncovered Peter Neubauer, a prominent psychiatrist at New York University, who studied the separated twins to compare the forces of nature with nurture.

Bernard already had died, but Neubauer, who was in his 90s, met with the twins in his Upper East Side apartment. They say he revealed nothing about the study or what was learned. The results are sealed until 2066, thanks to ethical problems that became clear later.

"I had nothing to do with the separation.. . . We came in much later. All of this is documented," he said when contacted by a reporter. When asked what he had intended to learn, he said he could not talk about it.

The twins did discover that the study had included five pairs of twins and one set of triplets, and that Schein and Bernstein were dropped early on because one reportedly had grown faster than the other.

The adoptive families were told that their children would be part of a child-development study. They were never told that they had adopted separated twins.

Neither Schein nor Bernstein expressed bitterness toward the researchers, calling their actions well-intentioned but misguided. Minnesota's Bouchard said such a study would be unthinkable now, but ethical standards were different in the mid-20th century.

See, this is the kind of thing that gives social science research a bad name. What are the ramifications of our research? Just because it's "too hard" or "we don't have time" or "we aren't well-funded enough" doesn't mean we can do slap-dash research AND expect credibility. The history of Anthropology is littered with examples of mis-used research findings and discredited theories run amok. I just hope we have adequately learned from our mistakes and strive to make fewer in the future!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My Granddad

So, Ladybird tells me that her beau, the printer, has seen this blog [welcome]. We all met Andy over the holidays, my dad, the son of a printer, included. My dad was thrilled to be able to "talk shop" with Andy since he had managed the press during my grandfather's illness and after his death.

My grandfather was a "Compositor" - an excellent one - according to dad he won competitions in Britain back in the day. He loved the details and was quick to point out errors. [I can't imagine that job - having to put teensy letter and punctuation cubes in trays, backwards, for pages and pages at a time.] Anyway, sometimes I used to think I was channeling him when I would do html code in the "old days."

My granddad worked at and then ran the Westminster Press. They printed books, of course, but also posters for the London Underground, and for movies at the Academy Cinema in London. Dad and Andy talked about these posters, and some of the books my dad still has that were made by my granddad's press. I love them!

Granddad was also somewhat of a firebrand, the story goes. Apparently, for a time, he preached on a soapbox in one of the London market squares about how Jesus was a Socialist. I like to think I'm taking up the mantle, in a way....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Prehistoric Food

Here's a good article by the blogger at Field to Feast who is currently reading, Feast: Why Humans Share Food by Martin Jones. The book looks fascinating! It's about why we humans eat the way we do by a bio-anthropologist, and how archaeologists/anthropologists reach these conclusions. I would particularly like to check out his chapter called, "Seasons of the feast".

The image is from Art Blog by Bob, another great article on the Kimbell Art Museum's current exhibit of religious art. If I ever make it to Texas before the end of March I gotta check it out!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

So, I had a few possibly major revelations over New Year's:

1) I love to cook! I should try to cook more, and spread my wings a bit. This desire will be enhanced by a new cookbook Angie got me called, Classical Turkish Cooking, by Ayla Algar.

2) I now consider myself a cake-baker. I used to be scared of cakes, but some great scratch cakes from a Moosewood Collective dessert cookbook, and a Bundt (tm) pan have changed all that. Yay Bundts!

3) I have decided that since my community garden is now defunct, I will NOT try to find a new plot elsewhere, even though I will miss community gardening immensely. Instead, I will expand the flower beds in my (somewhat shady) backyard, and convert some lawn [breathe deeply, Josiah] into vegetable space. ALSO, I have decided that it is OK to expand the color palette in the front flower garden from being strictly foliage (including blues and chartreuse) and pink hues, to further include yellow. This will allow me to plant these Rudbeckia flowers that I absolutely love.

4) I need to continue blogging. I really enjoy it, and so, why the heck not?!

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!