Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bobbing For Communists

Last year:

"Why are we reading a story with talking animals?" The boy wasn't actively trying to be a smart ass, but he was clearly hoping that by at least attempting a dialogue with me before we started the newly assigned Animal Farm he could forestall the inevitable portion of the class where I make them read most of the chapter out loud because I know that they won't do the reading at home.

"You'll find out as we read it. I don't want to give anything away yet". I could have explained that the Orwell considered the story a fable, an allegory to illustrate the dangers of Communism but I had been hoping that I might draw comparisons and parallels as we went along. They, however, wanted all the answers up front. "You're making us read a kid's book!" they whined. And, from the same almost smart ass, "Can we read the Berenstain Bears next? I always liked that."

"Sure", I said. "If you can find one in the series that demonstrates the evils of a government that only works on paper".

"What about one where they learn about the dangers of strangers?"

"No. Sorry. That not on the approved curriculum for this year. And you're not six."

This year:

By God, I prefaced passing out the book with a brief review of what the students remembered of the Russian Revolution, Marxism and the major players in the newly founded Soviet Union after the death of Lenin. This year's group is a lovely bunch, but entirely even more concrete than last year's group. A fable is something to be played on their console system, not read in their English class. The console one lets them kill a man just to watch him die with impunity.

They remembered a surprising amount. One kid launched into a very solemn, trivia laden speech about Trotsky and his wife going into exile, followed by his eventual assassination. Once we finished the review, I passed out the book and said, "Great. Yes. There are talking animals in this book, but Orwell wrote it because he wanted to satirize Communism and making the Communists pigs seemed like a pretty good start. As we read, I want you to look for which farm characters are Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky."

Boy, it's amazing how much more motivated they seem to be when it's a treasure hunt instead of a thinking exercise. Although I do have to get to thinking skills at some point. It is on the approved curriculum, after all.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006


"I wanna be a shitfaced superhero!" Mr Scoop exclaimed when he got home.

There was momentary excitement in Gotham. - I figured that this was it: We were finally going to see what happened when Batman got his drunk on.

His well, well deserved drunk.

However, it turned out that instead, Mr. Scoop was determined to down the better part of a 30 pack of Coors Light and see if he couldn't find the cheat code to get Wonder Woman and Zatanna to unlock their forbidden love in Justice League: Heroes, for the X-Box.

I don't think that Mr. Scoop understands that all attempts to subvert game play in that manner will be overridden by the programming for Zatanna by whatever is binary for "Kcuf ffo, resol!", but, what do I know? I'm just the girlfriend.

Or he might spill beer on himself and become distracted and, later, despondent over wasted alcohol. You just never know where the evening is going to go.

We weren't going to drink, I swear. I think Mr. Scoop's liver has mutated and gained sentience. I suspect it will push out of his body through his abdominal cavity in a search for autonomy. I'd like to believe it will whisper fervent pleas for revolution against our Red Planet overlords in Mr. Scoop's ear, leading to some shadow pact with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the death of Sharon Stone. But, more probably, it'll just lead to him wearing baggy shirts and asking me if I want a threesome...if I don't mind the lights being out and me being blindfolded. And really, really drunk in a place where I don't mind the air being pumped in from a recycler.

Shit. I'm drinking now.

This must be part of the master plan.

I need coffee. Stat.

You just never know where the evening is going to go. Dammit.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Let Us Eat Cakes

Every time I take a picture of something I cook, I remember that I really should buy a digital camera instead of relying on the camera installed in my phone.

One of the ways I've discovered to make the diet more manageable is by relying on a short slew of recipes that go together fast and that can be easily morphed into different recipes by swapping out one ingredient for another. This recipe for Spicy Chicken Cakes with Horseradish Aioli is one such recipe.

The brown blur on the right is tabbouleh, sans any oil. I cooked the Bulgar wheat in chicken broth instead to add flavor.

Earlier in the week I adapted the chicken cake recipe in this fashion:

Salmon Cakes with Saffron Aioli

For the cakes:

3/4 lb boneless, skinless salmon, cut into chunks
1/4 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 pieces of wheat toast
1/4 c. dill sprigs
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
salt, black pepper, red pepper, and dried thyme to taste
3 T. low fat mayo
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

1. In a food processor, blitz the bread, shallot, dill, salt, peppers, and thyme until coarse crumbs form.

2. Add the salmon, shrimp, mayo and egg whites and pulse until all ingredients have just combined. Scrape the mixture out into a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Form the mixture into 8 patties. Drop the patties onto a very large nonstick skillet that has been spritzed with Pam and heated to medium high. Cook the patties on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip the patties and finish them in the oven for about 5 more minutes, or until just done. Serve immediately with aioli.

For saffron aioli:

1 large pinch saffron bloomed in 1 T. hot water
1 garlic clove, mashed into a paste with a pinch of coarse salt
2 T. low fat mayo
2 T. fat free sour cream
1/2 t. stone ground mustard
1/2 t. Dijon mustard

Mix all ingredients and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Serves 4 as entree and 8 as appetizer.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006


What low blood sugar from too many weeks of dieting can do to dinner conversation...:

We had just sat down to our quiet, calorie minded diet dinner. Win Amp chugged away in the background. Mr. Scoop looked up at the song that was currently playing. "What's that?", he asked. "Harry Chapin. The song is Mr. Tanner. It's a song that tells the story of a guy who owned a laundry. He was a really good singer and sometimes he'd just start singing when he was working because he just loved to sing. The music made him feel whole. People who heard him were amazed. They couldn't believe this guy was just hiding out in his shop. Cleaning coats. They thought he should do something more with his talent. So, at their urging he went to New York and managed to get a concert gig. It was huge for him, but really all he cared about was how much he loved singing.

"The industry that was there told him that basically he sucked. He went home to the laundry business and never sang in front of anybody again."

"Good lord", exclaimed Mr. Scoop. "That's depressing! That's awful. Harry Chapin's a dick."

"Harry Chapin's dead", I replied.

"Did I kill him?", asked Mr. Scoop.

"No, dear", I said.

"Oh", said Mr. Scoop. "Can I have some more broccoli?"

"Yes, dear", I said.

"And some more rice?"

I passed him the rice.

"And a gun?"

"No, dear."

"You never let me do anything fun."

"I let you have seconds."

But it just wasn't the same.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Punk Cabaret is Freedom... make a silent film about your bad tour experience.

I guess the Dresden Dolls' tour with PANIC! at the Disco wasn't everything they could have hoped for.

Thus was born the concept for ``Backstabber: Dresden Dolls versus PANIC! at the Disco," which was posted Thursday night at Its premise is simple: The bands try to kill each other. Palmer and Viglione stuff PANIC! singer Brendan Urie into a kick-drum case and roll him down the stairs. The PANIC! boys try to lure the Dresden Dolls to their grisly fate with plastic ponies and half-naked girls. It's lots of fun and everyone dies.

A music video that involves the death of a bunch of MTV darlings? Will this be the start of a new trend in music videos? One can only hope.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Corner Of The Pie

"Oh, Fruit Fly", I implored the late bloomer who clung to my wine glass this evening. "I suspect you've lived through many incarnations. I think, deep down, you know this will end poorly."

Mr. Scoop is out being fete-ed (?) by his about to be former co-workers because they like him even though he's leaving them for greener horizons closer to home. Yes, greener. Mr. Scoop can now buy and sell you.

You know, if you don't mind your net worth being calculated in oxidized pennies.

On the dollar.

On E-bay. With accessories included to make you more fun.

No. You're not fun. Your people have told us.

I bet you didn't know you had people.

So, I've been drinking sake and eating Asian food to fill the time/space. Sure, it's about a month officially that I've been dieting. I'm down 11 pounds officially. Slow. Steady. Infuriating. Yet, I went for my allotted 30 minutes of exercise. Structure is important. Regular exercise is important. Still, I'm looking into buying more equipment and accessories. Something that makes exercise something that might lead me more easily to behead a man for aerobic benefit. I need incentives.

I'm trying to tell myself that, since the Asian food already lived in my freezer and was, at least in part, made by my own hand it won't come back to haunt me in the morning. At this point, I say "whatever". Sometimes, despite eating the extra 700 to 800 calories of alcohol, you find you lose a pound or two out of dehydration from the hangover the next day. I'm not really particular at this point.


Oh, and let me know if you know someone who needs beheading.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water

I found this courtesy of Mike Daisey's site:

You can find a link that blows up the picture here, but I think this quote kind of sums up the tone of the whole article:

"You wouldn't believe how many guys enjoy looking at naked women who've been bitten by sharks", says Dingo Bill, a perpetually drunk and sunburned Sharkee's regular who keeps one eye on me and one on the quadriplegic dancer who crawls across the stage like an inch worm. "A shark bite is the ultimate body modification. I can achieve an erection merely at the thought of a shark biting a woman. There - I just did."

I know that Australia was originally populated by deviants and criminals, but I wasn't expecting it to be the kind of place where you could find folks who think beating off to Jaws is a normal way to spend an evening.

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