Archive for May, 2010

Milk on the Radio

May 25, 2010

I was on the radio today.  Why, you ask.  To tell Wisconsin what kind of milk I drink.  For those of you not following the Raw Milk legislation in Wisconsin, Governor Doyle vetoed the bill.  This is a bill that I’ve been watching closely since its inception.  After much advocacy and contacting of representatives and publicity in the news and general wringing of hands and devoting of time it passed the state senate 25 to 8 and the assembly by 60 to 35.  Then it sat (languished, really) on Governor Doyle’s desk for interminable days while he hemmed and hawed and generally dragged his feet.  He had said before it passed that he “assumed” he’d sign it, should it reach his desk which was not exactly an unequivocal yes to me all this reads like some fairly shady influence peddling on the part of the industrial ag lobby.  And now he’s vetoed it.  I’m super bummed, not least because my supply of raw milk may now be in jeopardy.  I think this is a huge step backwards and a slap in the fact to small farmers across the state.  Read the rest of this entry »


Canned Cupcakes

May 22, 2010

Well officially I suppose they are jarred cupcakes but they are in canning jars and I love alliteration.  These are the cupcakes I prepared and shipped to my dear friend Roshni for her birthday.  She’s been mourning her lack of proximity as I baked up a storm this spring so I decided to surprise her with with baked goods of her own for this occasion.  I was wondering if it was even possible to ship cupcakes without irreparable damage in transit when the internet gods suggested this solution.  I was instantly taken with the idea.  Cupcakes in a jar!  What a notion.   Here’s how theirs look.

Quite lovely.  I didn’t understand why they were splitting and frosting their cupcakes vertically until after I’d done all of mine but now I think I’ll do it their way in the future – it helps the cupcake spread and fill up the whole base of the jar better which will, I assume, keep them fresher.  It also looks better.  However I’m very pleased with my first attempt.  I don’t think it will be my last.  Even for short range transport – from my apartment to work or to a friends house – this is a great solution that will keep everything looking neat and be easy, fun and novel to consume as well.  Hooray.

I’ll photograph come of my own in a forthcoming post.

Breaking News on Hikers

May 20, 2010

There’s finally some positive news about the three hikers.

If you don’t remember that my friend Josh Fattal has been detained in Iran for 10 months … I do.  And there has been precious little news to keep Josh, Sarah and Shane’s friends and loved ones sustained during all this time.  Today however there was a dramatic development.  The mothers of the three hikers have been trying to visit their children for many months.

They were finally granted visas only in the last few weeks.  Today they were (at least temporarily) reunited with their children and there was a press conference which gave all of us watching at home something to actually watch.  We are all hoping for the best here and the best is that the three of them go home with their loving families at this time.

The New York Times posted an update this morning and again this afternoon and here’s the ABC news coverage of the reunion.  There’s video footage of the hugging and then a press conference with a few questions directed to the three hikers themselves.  Its hard to process what I feel on seeing them speak.  I’m thinking of them with love all the time.  And especially now.

Dolphins with Mops

May 18, 2010

Is it funny because its true?Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Hulu – Saturday Night Live: BP Oil Sp…“, posted with vodpod

I am the 190,434,783 richest person in the world!

May 14, 2010

… at least according to the rather simplistic calculation based on income alone available at Global Rich List.  The site was featured on the Bucks blog of the NY Times this morning.   The site prompts you to input your income (you select pounds, euros, yen dollars etc first) and then shows where you stack up against the whole world.  I thought this was a good perspective shift for those of us feeling occasionally sorry for ourselves on incomes that would keep whole extended families in the third world going for years.

After it lets you know how you stack up against the whole world … it prompts you to think about donating some of those piles of money you now see you’re raking in.  This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – more on this later – but for the moment check it out.  And/or try these websites which allow you to feel like you’re doing some good:

Read the rest of this entry »

Can it!

May 13, 2010

Today I (somewhat) accidentally took my lunch to work in a tupperware container.  The container in question is the only one I still own – a relic of my college days and possessing some sentimental association as I carried it around the world with me in 2002-2003.  But as I borrowed a plate so that I could heat up my leftovers – calzones with tomato dipping sauce, I remembered again why I don’t like to use plastic anymore.  All this is by way of saying that I have a new love in my life.

I am rapidly falling head over heels for Ball canning jars.  I switched out my tupperware for pyrex a few years ago and I still use and like all of those pieces.  But my new love is definitely official canning jars.  I have so many in my life now.  I get two two-quart sized jars every week containing my weekly gallon of farm fresh milk.  Shortly after that began I borrowed three quart jars from my mother – for decanting extra milk from one week to another and for other useful refrigerator storage.  I was pleased that they took the same size lids as the larger ones.

I should mention that at this point I don’t even do any official canning.  I did put up several pounds of bell peppers and about 40 lb of tomatoes last fall but I did it all with freezer storage.  Nevertheless, they are infinitely useful.  And I’m eager to expand my range this summer.  Plus Ball is apparently a great company.*

And to top it all off – it was only a few days ago that I came across this little item on Young House Love‘s recent House Crashing post.  Oh yes.  Its a ball jar chandelier:

I‘m semi seriously considering making one!  The proud DIY home owner is Kara Paslay who details how she and her husband assembled the thing on her own home improvement blog.  Its actually an amazingly elegant look out of a really casual country set of items.  I’m very amused and I’d take it over my apartments oh-so-passe bronze four directional lights and a fan fixture any day.

However my main point is this: Ball canning jars are absolutely fabulous and can be used for nearly anything.  Hooray for them!

*As I was rhapsodizing to myself about how much I love them I said “I should buy stock in Ball Canning Jars.”  Then I went and looked up their website.  Apparently they were named the “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list in 2010 by Corporate Responsibility Magazine.  They’ve been working to improve their overall energy use, VOC releases, water uses, natural gas use etc over the last few years.  Apparently most of their revenue is actually in real cans – the steel ones you buy food in at the grocery store – which I’m not so wild about.  But as far as the glass jars arm of the company goes … they are all about making re-usable glass canning jars – to be used in lieu of disposable containers for prepared food.  So, two thumbs up there as well.

Internet Time Wasting

May 10, 2010

This website is the best way I have yet found to waste time on the internet. I consider this to be quite an achievement since I discovered it in 2001 (about this time of year, in fact) and used it to procrastinate studying for my spring term finals. Its quite delightfully fun and also challenging. It starts you out as Arthur Dent at the beginning of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and you have to figure out what to do in order to get yourself down to the pub, powwow with Dirk and get the hell off Earth before its blown up by Vogons.  I haven’t played it for years but came across it recently and was flooded with amusing memories of sitting in front of my computer – a desktop with a huge humming monitor – following the shouted suggestions of my then future room mate Krissa. If you’ve ever been a fan of either Douglas Addams or old school text-based computer games … check this out.

I’m reminded of this delightful strong bad email on a similar subject.  Since is flash based I can only include a still – you’ll have to click on it to watch the video.  How quaint.  Note: Strong bad emails are another fabulous way to waste time online that has been around since before you tube.

Bandcamp or The Delight of a Great FAQ Page

May 6, 2010

OK I was totally wrong – I can (and have) download “Hey, Paul Krugman” through this fabulous new service I just discovered called Bandcamp.  You can do the same thing here if you so choose.

I just love well designed web services that help people access and share their information smoothly (and classily) with others – especially when they’re free.  Yay Gmail.  Yay WordPress.  and now … Yay Bandcamp.

I came across it through a basic google search for Hey Paul Krugman and Song a Day and when it appeared to be a way for me to pay for and download the audio file I was looking for I jumped right in and was almost to the point of paypalling them my credit card info when I stopped myself.  To whom am I giving this information, I wondered.  So I went back to the main page and poked around a bit till I found the main server’s page here.  Its run by a service called Bandcamp. And as I was looking around trying to figure out if they were for real or not I found their FAQ page. Although I am not a professional musican and have no interest in using their service I spend five or ten minutes reading it right to the bottom because it was so funny.  I’ll copy a few highlights but if you’re looking for a laugh (or just to waste some online time) read the whole thing here.  (Meanwhile here’s the attribution: all of the following is copied from that site.)

But lossless files are freaking huge!
Please phrase that in the form of a question.

But lossless files are freaking huge?
Yeah, they’re bigger than mp3s, but you only have to upload them once, and we think the goodness it buys you is plenty worth it. We’ll also allow batch uploading pretty soon, so you’ll be able to queue up your entire oeuvre for import while you’re off at practice. Until then, you can upload two tracks at a time by just opening up two track edit tabs or windows (two is the limit though — three or more won’t work). Read the rest of this entry »

Hey, Paul Krugman

May 5, 2010

And while I’m on the subject of how great Paul Krugman is … here’s a song about him.  I heard this on a Marketplace broadcast while commuting way last fall (more on my love for Marketplace later) and laughed out loud, then looked it up online when I got out of my car.  I really wish I could download this and put it on my ipod because I think of it on nearly a weekly basis.  Fortunately its not hard to memorize so I can at least sing it to myself!

Do check out the website of the guy who wrote it – he’s been writing, producing and posting a song every day.  Its pretty awesome.  Here’s how he explains himself.

Spill, Baby, Spill

May 3, 2010

I’ve been cringing away from the news about the gulf coast oil spill since it hit but I am galvanized into a response by Paul Krugman’s excellent editorial in the Times today.  While deprecating all the circumstances which have contributed to this he points out one potential upside – one that I’d also considered:

And maybe, just maybe, the disaster will help reverse environmentalism’s long political slide — a slide largely caused by our very success in alleviating highly visible pollution. If so, there may be a small silver lining to a very dark cloud.

Perhaps this will be what it takes to re-focus our natural attention (and shut up some of the ridiculous nay-sayers) on the importance of cultural, economic and legal protection for the environment.  As he very rightly points out, a lot of the early interest and attention for environmental protection came at a time when pollution was obvious – smog smothered cities, burning rivers and oil slicked coastlines.  Acid rain was terrorizing mothers and it was easy to see that something had to give.  Public concern led to some major behavioral and legal changes and the situation did indeed improve.  In recent years, however, a lot of our most pernicious environmental problems are nigh on invisible.  We can’t see carbon being emitted – we can’t watch the o-zone shrinking – the damage is hard to comprehend.  As a result, public outrage about environmental damage has ebbed.  Now we have a reason to care again. Read the rest of this entry »