Monthly Archives: December 2005

I Hate Sports…

…and even I am a bit sad by Johnny Damon’s departure. Sujal hates this, but I rarely, and I mean about twice or thrice a year, go to ESPN.com (though to be fair, that’s about how often he goes to K-O, my job). But I saw a headline today and I had to go. It was Bill Simmon‘s page. The Sports Guy’s article makes perfect sense, and being a fairly detached observer, I really get it.

I think part of the reason that I am a bit sad about Damon leaving is that I went to Red Sox games (“went” is a bit strong, should read: “dragged”) one season, the summer Sujal and I first started dating. I got to know a few players, not personally, of course. Johnny Damon was one of them, though I must admit, my heart with with cutie, Nomar Garciaparra. It seems my tour with knowng something about popular sports is just about over. It’s a bit of a relief, because I can go back to being that anti-sport, poetry loving nerd that I am. I also have to admit that poetry and sports can mix nicely as evidenced by Quicy Troupe’s villanelle on Michael Jordan, “Forty-one Seconds on a Sunday in June, in Salt Lake City, Utah”.

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Four Hours

It took me four hours to bake two batches of cookies. I have a burn on my right hand, and I had to throw away about 1/4 of the snickerdoodles, because they did not have enough flour/were undercooked. I have this knack for following a recipe and then just either messing up one part or deciding to stray from the recipe, usually with disastrous results. Instead of adding 2 cups of flour, I grabbed the wrong measuring cup and added 2 one-half cups of flour (so one cup total). OOPS! I tried to make up for that mistake later in the recipe, but it did not all go as smoothly as I’d planned.

When all is said and done, I anticipated having 6 different kinds of cookies. Now, I’m not so sure.

I took some recipes from The Joy of Cooking, the recipe book I consult most often. I also got recipes from various family members that I’ve collected in a haphazard way. Then I looked at this cookbook I got years ago as a gift — 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, the original Fanny Farmer Cookbook. When I say original, I mean it. Frankly, for someone like me, it is completely useless. I was looking at some of the cookie recipes, and one said to add 2 cups of floor and 2 tsps. of soda. I thought to myself, “Soda? Is that soda water or baking soda? Probably baking soda. Floor? What the hell is floor?” It wasn’t until I looked at the next recipe that called for flour that I realized it was a typo. No spellcheck back then, not that spellcheck would have caught that error anyhow. Then the directions say to bake for 20 minutes in a medium oven. What is a medium oven? How hot is that? I’m just not that intuitive when it comes to cooking and baking.

There were also recipes for forced meats, which I have no idea what those are. Lots of good recipes for sweetbreads and leftover fish parts. Oddly enough, the recipe for leftover fish parts did not call for feeding them to your cat. I suppose people were much less wasteful than we are today (yes, an understatement). I just don’t have much of an appetite for leftover fish parts, though depending on how it’s prepared…

Live Coverage from the War on Christmas

Hello faithful readers (take that how you will): I’ve been thinking a bit more on this “war” on Christmas. I was reading from this conservative blog when I realized that we may be unified in strongly disliking commercialism. I remember this little epiphany I had years ago — I’m sure it is a common epiphany. I think even Dr. Spock had it. All you need is love. The Beatles certainly had it. We all want to be accepted for who we are and appreciated. That’s really not such a bad thing. Let’s try to not put people on the defensive. When people feel threatened, they attack. Okay, not earth shattering. Try to see the other perspective, be empathetic.

I don’t know that anyone really ever had that much of a problem with Christmas itself. The complaining I’ve heard is that it is Christmas season from Halloween until Mid-January, that everywhere you look, you are slapped in the face with it. I know many Christians who complain about the fact that they have to listen to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” in early November. What is the cause of this? Capitalism and retail.

Culturally, non-Christians often get annoyed with Christmas, because it seems like the only holiday. For years, Jews did not get off on major Jewish holidays. We did not get Diwali off from school. Kwanzaa? What do we do for Ramadan? If one does take off for a religious observance, then s/he is excluded from the rest of what is going on. If I kept my child home for Diwali, s/he would miss a day of school. I believe there has been a move to secularize Christmas to make it more inclusive. Let’s celebrate all the holidays that happen during this season. It is not to exclude God. Ultimately, I think the message we want to send goes something like this: It is fine for you to worship your god; just be respectful of me worshipping mine.

It seems like it’s such a better idea to come together as a community rather than to exclude, and I do not understand this tendency to exclude.

West Hartford Teen Driving Restrictions

In my reading of the West Hartford News, the article that headlined was Council approves two votes aimed at teen safety. Of course when I saw that, I thought how great that is. And while I don’t think there is anything wrong with trying to keep teens safe — in fact I think it is a good thing — I just don’t know how realistic the council is being. Perhaps I do not understand the workings of the Graduated License Law, which would require 16 and 17 year old licensed drivers to have a licensed adult driver of 25 or older in the car, with no more than one other under-25 year old. Unrealistic? you ask. Let me explain.

First of all, I’m not sure if this is a West Hartford law or not. It seems like a state’s jurisdiction. I teach at a school where a lot of 16 and 17 year olds drive to school. We do not provide free bussing, so kids and parents would have to find an alternative. But looking at this realistically, if it is a West Hartford law, and a kid drives in from Farmington, does he or she get stopped at the townline? If a 16 year old from West Hartford is caught in Farmington, do the rules apply to him or her? Clearly I have a lot to learn about local politics and how to enforce this law.

Some of the speakers at the meeting seemed to make strong cases supporting this vote, and I see that if an adult is in the car, a teen is less likely to speed or take risks, but at the same time, accidents are common. Inexperience in driving does not only play out in the form of risk taking. My problem is less with the law itself than with the way it will be enforced.

Elocution

So I realize I am late in the game, but I’ve been feeling under the weather. I wanted to write this last night but just didn’t have the energy. We watched the presidential address from the Oval Office last night, and while we’ve known for a long time that GWB has some issues with elocution, it just became more and more clear to me how uncomfortable he is in front of a camera. Sujal and I talked about how he clearly just put this together with not a lot of rehearsal time, and a good president should be able to speak to his or her country. He looked scared. He looked scared of us. He reminded me of someone you catch doing something wrong. In essence, that’s what last night’s speech was about, but it seems he is not comfortable with looking the nation in the eye.

The AP and the New York Times have articles reporting on Bush defending his legal authority to “spy.” As we were watching this address, and again, it was so obvious that he was squirming through it, I began to think, What is Bush pulled a Richard Nixon — a Watergate Scandal? Would the American public still back him? Where do we draw the line for breaking the law?

Online Shopping Insanity!!!

I logged onto my computer at about 11AM to write a post about something I read in the West Hartford News, and I was immediately sidetracked by two gifts I was looking for online for two different friends of mine. It seems many people say online shopping is easy. Many — I think the exact opposite. I cannot say that I am the most decisive person, but it is EXTRA hard for me to make decisions about gifts for people online. You know how you want to find the right item for the person? It’s harder online. You can’t really see it, and you can’t feel it. Anyway, that is my diatribe about shopping online. Really, Amazon is only good for buying books and media.

Shoe Fetish Update

So, I think I might be a bit too cheap to really build up my shoe collection. Amy and I went shopping today (I blame CT), and I realized that I don’t really like spending more than $30-40 a pair. Of course the excption is for Dansko clogs. And looking at their site, these are pretty cute, too. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Say no more.

New Shoe Fetish

I think I’m having some strong fashion leanings these days. After 3 decades of not caring too much about fashion, it’s time I start embracing capitalism. I recently bought the cutest pair of shoes. And I just found out about John Fluevog. Oh my God — I’ve found a new passion!

OMG, look what Connecticut is doing to me!!!!!!!!

The Daily Show

I love The Daily Show. I go on hiatus every once in awhile, but I do love it. I was just watching Tuesday’s episode (See here for some video clips — though I’m not sure I can link directly to the clips; and here for a transcript), 12/13, and Jon Stewart brings up “The War on Christmas” again. I posted on this earlier, because I’d gotten emails from both of my parents lamenting this war. Yet, again, no one can seem to say who “THEY” are that are not “LETTING” us celebrate Christmas or say “Merry Christmas”. Bill O’Reilly seems to be perpetuating this idea of a war the loudest, and here is an interesting clip from Media Matters.

His guest, John Gibson, wrote what must certainly be an absurd book. Gibson tells O’Reilly:

[B]y refusing to say the word “Christmas.” And what I’ve noticed is the way this appears in schools, for instance, is we now don’t call it the Christmas break. It’s the winter break, as if people worship winter. And there wouldn’t be a winter break if there wasn’t Christmas at that time of year. So once you call it — change the name. You won’t use the word “Christmas,” then you go to “winter,” you can sort of push the Christmas thing out of public view.

I don’t worship summer, and yet it is called “Summer Vacation”. I also do not worship March (whenever Easter falls — and we DO get Good Friday off at the school where I teach where there is a particularly high Jewish population), and yet we call it “March Break”. Hell, colleges call it “Spring Break”. It is just truly absurd, because if anyone looks around, this country so clearly celebrates Christmas. Happy Holidays means Merry Christmas, and it is a phrase that has been around for a VERY LONG time. I’m trying to find a reference that documents early usage of the phrases “Season’s Greetings” and “Happy Holidays” — which have been around for at least 32 years, because I always associated them with Christmas. Alas, I am running low on time, because I am going to my faculty Christmas Party or Holiday Party — whatever the hell you want to call it, because none of the above is actually offensive. It doesn’t put anyone down. No one calls it the F**k Christians Day — I’d find that offensive.

What a Mess!

Can I just say, and I know that this won’t come as a shock to those of you that know me — and then again, to those of you who don’t know me, you won’t give a flying poo — my desk is a mess! I can barely type on it. Ugh — and I’ve got cats’ asses in my face.