Friday, September 18, 2009

Rosh Hashana

Tim Kreider writes a great article in the Times on the choices we make in life and how they define how we spend the rest of our very short lives. Indeed, like many other of my age, I have been humbled by the number of public figures who have died in the last few months. Some were rather old, but most were not far from where I sit. For someone like me, not even half way through graduate school, I sometimes wonder: is this really worth the few more years I'll be trouncing around? I really have no answer and like the writer of the mentioned article, I sometimes envy a few of my friends for the houses they have, the solid commitment to a community in which they have spent most of their lives, the job they know inside out and have worked at for 20 years. But then I talk to them, and they envy my "gypsying" around, my varied life experience, my apparent fearlessness in the face of change.

This You Tube video, which I found through a Times article written by Paul Vitello is my way of signalling the New Year. Rosh Hashana starts tonight, and so does the reflecting that comes with it. Good year for everyone!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beyonce's class act

Rep Wilson's outburst posted on You Tube, Serena Williams' tirade also posted and Kanye West having a, well, a Kanye moment with his onstage outburst, the only post that I find worth posting is that of Beyonce Knowle's bringing Taylor Swift on stage so she could finish her rudely interrupted speech. Unfortunately all the other videos are available on You Tube, but this one was removed by Viacom. Too bad, because Beyonce sums up all that is good about manners, sisterhood and class and plain human decency. Unlike the rest of my family, I'm not a big fan of her music, but I will forever admire her for this act. As for the other twits, they are basically manifesting a tendency of equaling 1st Amendment rights with lack of civility.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hot Waitress Index

A little late on this one: In the New York Magazine a great article :The Hot Waitress Index (HWI), an economic indicator. correlates the beauty of waitresses to the weakness of the economy. The hotter the waitress, the colder the economy. And from the looks of things, it is a bitter cold wind that blows out there notwithstanding what the hot air balloonists are going around claiming.

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the health insurance thingamaging

Obama's speech on health care as well as the vociferous and rude remark by a Republican who used to work for Strom Thurmond(!!!, raised another question altogether in my head. Whatever happened to the the strength that was able to get hundreds of thousands of ralliers in defense of illegal and legal aliens? If I recall correctly, it was but two years ago that people rose up all over America,hit the streets demanding reform and the right to be treated like a decent human being. What happened to the cries that you can't do without us, we are a power source etc..I believe in part the economy proved once again that empowering the poor can be dangerous to the powers that be. Van Jones is an example of someone who argued for exactly that and was quietly ousted from the White House in the middle of the night. I'm also inclined to think that the Mexican majority behind those rallies were disingenuous in their actions. Whether the sight of thousands of illegal immigrants demanding rights got the right to mobilize or whether Obama's election took the mojo out of the radicals we;ll never know. But Obama's affirmation that these aliens would not receive health care has hardly been denounced by anyone. In what almost seemed like a staged move, a Repubican stupidly took the strength away from the pettiness and inhumanity of that phrase and turned the whole discourse into one of good manners. Has anyone ever watched the English Parliament. Perhaps they should. The presidents platitudes mean to me another cash cow for the insurance companies. It's universal health care American style. You want a car, you buy insurance, you want a body (and unlike cars we cannot live bodyless) you buy insurance. Now, let's see what goes on with the car insurance scene. You pay different amounts for living in different zip codes. I live in what is deemed a very safe neighborhood, have an old clunker and so I pay very little insurance. So how does that transfer to the insurance companies? Well, I live in a healthy neighborhood so my insurance will probably be lower. On the other hand, my body might be an old clunker and therefore unlike car insurance, it will cost them more to fix it. So I pay more in which case I can either afford it and again the middle class looses or I can't and Medicaid steps in. Yeah! The middle class has gotten screwed again. And that is why I will never own a home! Bevause I do not want to have this tremendous liability.
My fear and their gloating is that my hopes of getting health insurance from my employer has just gone up in smoke. Because with this plan, the ultimate goal is to have everyone paying their own insurance. No wonder the insurance companies like it! Me thinks that if I had money to invest in the stock market I would do so in the health insurance field.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Happy birthday love

Love of my life...

Monday, September 07, 2009

revolution is sexy


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Vervet monkeys courtesy of BBC

Interesting footage!I don't understand why they consider it bizarre.


Greening the ghetto, not the white house

According to the New York Times Van Jones, of the Green for All and Greening the Ghetto movements and environmental czar for the Obama administration was forced to resign. Apparently his too Angela Davis or Bill Ayers looking past was too much for some of the politicians who kowtow to the Glenn Beck crowd(WTF). The New Yorker published a very good article on the man that would later go on to the White House to my great surprise.Of course he is radical! He is talking about African Americans empowering themselves and has attempted to do so with his non profits. and that is scary stuff because you can be This to me says a LOT about Obama and about the continued oppression of African Americans. This country is very interesting. You can say anything you want as long as it doesn't effectively challenge the status quo. Heck you can even have a so called African American president. As far as I am concerned I don't get the African American thing. Yes he is part American and part African but he is clearly identified with the black community. Yet he could just as easily consider himself white, no? After all, he is half and half. Oh! Yes those wonderful racial laws of 1/16 that even Hitler thought too exaggerated.
A little inspirational music for this beautiful sunday:

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

culture shock and good vegetarian lasagna

What would lead a Portuguese Jew to read a German account of a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is beyond my comprehension. I befuddle myself on a daily basis. But I do like many aspects of the pilgrimage concept and as a lover of long walks , when I saw the book recommended on some blog of respect I decided to get it. It was written by Hape Kerkeling, a German "comic" I knew nothing about, The title is "I'm off then" and so far it has done little but make me angry. To quote "The triumph of Swedish Reason", as if they hadn't had enough with their triumphs ohh...of the Will, perhaps. His constant criticisms of dark and filthy evil intentioned Portuguese and Spaniards as opposed to the visions of the Nordic ethereal blue eyed angels he encounters are nothing if not racist. The Germans are cleaner than the Spanish. The Swedes are a delight while the "Girl from Ipanema" as he calls a Brazilian woman is just on the trail to find a man to marry, besides being loud and brazen and ohh so different from his cool angelic friends from the North. Ah the Germans. As for it being funny, I've yet to read one phrase that I find the least bit amusing. He's fat, he's lazy and he's too good to share the nights with the other lowly spiritual seekers. No trace of spirituality or even humanity. What an offense of a book!It feels like something straight out of Nazi Germany...and that is not the least bit funny..and it sold more than 3 million copies...I forgive you Paulo Coelho!

Mushroom Spinach Lasagna Recipe:
My attempt at writing down my recipe for the vegetarian lasagna I make:
Whole wheat lasagna pasta
1/2 gallon of milk
2 pounds of julienned Mozzarella cheese
sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
5 Tbsp Maizena flour or the regular kind
2 quarts of tomato sauce pre prepared or made at home
1 large bunch of spinach
1 pound of mushrooms
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
To make the Bechamel sauce which I substitute for Ricotta cheese:
Heat up most of the milk. Use the cold milk to mix the Maizena or flour in and add to hot milk. Mix in pepper, salt, nutmeg and lemon to taste. Constantly stirring let it thicken and put to the side, mixing frequently to keep it smooth.
On two Lasagna deep pans pour a quarter of the tomato sauce, Add a layer of the spinach and mushrooms.Cover with lasagna pasta. Cover with an inch high dose of Bechamel and top with Mozzarella, Be generous with the cheese.
Repeat with tomato sauce, spinach and mushrooms, pasta and again cover with Bechamel, and Mozarella. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and let bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and let cook for another 1/2 hour or until the pasta is soft. Cut in portions and serve. It is usually very liquidy but if you leave it overnight, it will harden up and if you want to present a neat dish it will be easier to do so. Serve with a light salad.
This recipe makes 2 pans and can feed 8 or more people. I like to make two at a time as it is a time consuming dish and only gets better with reheating.

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