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Posts from — October 2007

Yummy Vegan Flax and Oat Bran Bread

This bread is my staple stomach filler. It’s easy to make and tastes rich for a bread that contains no milk and no eggs.

2 cups Hodgson Mill Bread Flour

2 cups Hodgson Mill Spelt Flour

1 cup Hodgson Mill Milled Flax Seed

1 cup Oat Bran

1/2 cup Dark Molassas

1/4 cup Raw Sugar

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt to Taste

3 packets of active dry yeast

Put 2 cups of warm water in a small mixing bowl. Add sugar and molasses. Mix well and add the 3 packets of yeast. Let this incubate until you have a foamy mess. I usually let the yeast grow for about 30 minutes. Place the rest of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

After the yeast has come to life, add the foamy goo to the dry ingredients with gentle mixing. Make sure everything is distributed evenly. Put another cup of warm water in the small mixing bowl and add the olive oil to this with mixing. Pour this in the large mixing bowl and mix evenly. At this stage, use your hands and begin kneading the dough. Add water and/or extra bread flour as necessary to reduce stickiness and create a proper bread dough consistancy. Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes. Do not use a mixer. Do not use a bread machine. Form the dough into a ball. Coat with olive oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place. I usually let the dough rise for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Punch the dough down and knead some more. Form the dough into a long cylinder and cut it into 12 pieces. Roll each of these pieces into a ball, rub some olive oil on them and place them evenly spaced in a large pyrex baking dish. Cover the dish and set it in a warm place for the dough to rise a second time. I don’t time this. I wait until the dough is above the level of the top of the dish.

Pop the bread into the oven at about 300 F and cook until done. Watch carefully. Since this is such a low fat recipe, overcooking will rapidly dry this bread.

It will give you 12 square rolls that are a perfect size for a sandwich.

October 27, 2007   No Comments

Redheads and Pre-History

Scientists have identified a gene that causes red hair color in Neanderthal DNA. This story is riding the media merry go round. Have you ever noticed how depictions of pre-historic humanoid species always have skin darker than the average European but lighter than a sub-Saharan African? It’s curious that even in the image used to illustrate the BBC article on this story, the Neaderthal is portrayed as darker than the modern European red head. Why do they continue to do that? Chances are that any red headed Neanderthals were as light skinned as my near albino redheaded father. They were, no doubt, close to Rupert Grint in complexion.

Take time to note that chimpanzees have white skin. They have skin as white as that red headed European in the BBC story. Someone drawing these illustrations or the editors ordering these illustrations need to step back and say, “No more racist depictions of pre-historic homo species.”

October 26, 2007   2 Comments

Mitzi Sasse Where Are You Now?

It’s time for a break. I had a DTT revelation this morning and I need to re-think the cleavage of a fusion protein. My break includes music from the Ultra-Lounge series. Specifically, I’ve been listening to Mondo Exotica. This music is fun. It makes me think about bachelor pads and advertisements for Hi-Fi.

What does this have to do with the mysterious Mitsi Sasse? Mitzi was someone I met during my freshman year in college. I never knew her very well but she was interesting in a slacker sort of way and she was book smart. She seemed to be searching for a magic pathway. She stopped coming to our zoology lab and I agreed to cram with her the night before the final lab practical to get her through the course. My study music was a horrible easy listening station that played more than a few Ultra-Lounge sorts of tunes. Mitzi tried to revolt and put another station on the radio but I said no. She gave me a look that was beyond anger but she needed me to pass her exam so it was “kare continuous music” for the evening. I’m not sure those were the call letters of the station but, phonetically, it is correct. On the way to the exam, I put my dissected shark on a cafeteria tray on a conveyor belt headed to the kitchen. Mitzi passed the practical.

With the internet and search engines, you can Google up people from the past. I’ve Googled Mitzi now and then. For a time, there was an article on-line about her work as a “hut-master” in Colorado. It seems she tended to the huts on the cross-country ski trails. There was also mention of her as a massage therapist in Breckinridge, CO. I saw one mention that listed her as a donor to Tara Mandala. That mention seemed absolutely in character. The latest entry I found for her listed her as working in the Sabino Canyon Visitor’s Center Bookstore. I found a tiny mention of her once as the winner of a weekend at a Yoga spa. Thus, it seems that magic path searching and slacker living continue for Mitzi to the present day.

At present, this particular Mitzi Sasse does not show in any Google search. Her sister, Julie Sasse, is everywhere. She’s prominent in the Tucson art community. Perhaps, this bit of idle blogging on my part while deciding how to proceed with my science will put Mitzi Sasse’s name in Google once again. And, as I write this, I’m listening to Mah Na Mah Na as played by Leroy Holmes. It’s still the best thinking music.

October 26, 2007   1 Comment

She’ll Be Cheering Him On – NY Times Sexism

Turn your browser to this page in the New York Times Sports section. The title of the article is “For Running Couples, Marriage Has Its Trials”. Readers of the Times have their trials, too. Look at the caption under the pictures of the runners for this piece. Does anything strike you as a wee bit off? Here is the caption:

Alan Culpepper will try to make his third Olympic team at the marathon trials next Saturday. His wife, Shayne, who hopes to make the Beijing Games in the 1,500, will be cheering him on.

Could the author have written the caption in a different way? The author, Aimee Berg, should have realized how that caption would sound. She should have just identified the couple and not put the female in the stereotypical cheerleader role.

This is a minor point in an otherwise inoffensive article but it’s this type of repeated subjugation that irritates me to the point of drinking herbal tea (bleh!). People read this. It’s internalized as the true order of things in the universe. Writers should be more sensitive to this sort of gaff.

October 25, 2007   1 Comment

I’m so glad that I don’t live in San Diego anymore.

When I first moved to San Diego for a new job at a tiny start-up, I almost didn’t finish the trip. As I was passing through Tucson on my way there, I wanted to stop. I wanted to call them and say I’m not coming. Of course, I couldn’t do that. San Diego is pretty. It’s pretty like an overripe fruit but it never suited me and I knew that was true before I got there.

A few months after I arrived and found a home, I was walking towards my desk and I saw smoke out the window. I asked what was happening and they told me there was a fire in Penasquitos Canyon. My home was on Penasquitos Canyon and I had two cats at that time. I rushed home past the firefighters to make sure everything was OK. Luckily, it was a very small fire about 1-2 miles from my house that was quickly extinguished. After that I didn’t sleep during fire season. I’d doze and wake up. I’d train my binoculars at Poway and watch the flames. I hated it.

I didn’t care about the house and my stuff. As far as I was concerned, it could all burn but my pets are different. It was also the constant threat. When people say San Diego doesn’t have seasons, they’re wrong. It has June Gloom, Fire Season and Mudslide Season in the burn areas. These are the three seasons of San Diego.

I’ve never experienced anything like what is happening in San Diego this week. I left and I’m glad I did. There are way too many people living there and more are moving there all the time. The last firestorm in San Diego was four years ago. This one is worse. The next one will be even worse than this. It’s inevitable.

October 23, 2007   No Comments

Darwin Award – Special Mention – The Generation Trophy

The cheapest, most effective medical breakthrough that has changed the lives of more people on the planet than any other medical discovery is…….?


For vaccines to work, a high percentage of the population must be vaccinated. With that bit of background information, let’s move right along to the idiots profiled in this AP story:

Sabrina Rahim doesn’t practice any particular faith, but she had no problem signing a letter declaring that because of her deeply held religious beliefs, her 4-year-old son should be exempt from the vaccinations required to enter preschool.

She is among a small but growing number of parents around the country who are claiming religious exemptions to avoid vaccinating their children when the real reason may be skepticism of the shots or concern they can cause other illnesses. Some of these parents say they are being forced to lie because of the way the vaccination laws are written in their states.

It would be fine if the offspring of these folk were the ones to get sick, suffer and perhaps die. While their little lumps of flesh don’t deserve it, these parent do. What will happen if enough people in a given population do this? The vaccines won’t work for the sane parents, the parents who had their children vaccinated.

These people are stupid. They should die immediately but, of course, that won’t happen. Every idiot news source in this country that gave one nano-second of air time to any story linking autism with vaccination should die immediately. It’s my hunch that the air time given to that nonsense is what is driving this latest stupidity.

Congratulations. The only way you could be dumber is if you actually believed in the religion you’re claiming to have so that you can endanger your offspring, your neighbors kids and everyone else in your community. Bring on the plague.

October 17, 2007   No Comments

WordPress Theme Weirdness

I have a bad case of spooky wordpress. I’m writing this little post in the hope that someone might be able to explain what is happening.

Over the weekend, I had Dreamhost do the latest WordPress update to this site and my other WordPress sites. There was a minor glitch but by the end of the day on Saturday the upgrade was done with no problems. On Monday, this blog looked as I expected it to look but by Tuesday it had reverted to the default code. I didn’t touch a thing around here.

Here’s what changed:

  • The stylesheet reverted to the default color and font settings.
  • The header image reverted to the default image.
  • The Amazon widgets disappeared.
  • The Feedburner email subscription and reader bling disappeared.
  • The footer reverted to the default.
  • The Google analytics code vanished.

As you can see, these changes were on multiple pages. The header, footer, and sidebar were all changed. What happened? Can anyone explain this to me??

October 17, 2007   No Comments

Heads Up — Tomorrow Night — Women’s Murder Club

Angie Harmon is, in my opinion, one of the stupidest and most vacuous right wing humanoids roaming the planet. If you’ve ever heard her interviewed you’ve witnessed the definition of shallow and stupid. Tomorrow night, she returns to prime time with a show that reviewers say is just as stupid as she is. Apparently, the show, Women’s Murder Club, is so ridiculous and stupid that it’s nearly funny which is more than any of the other new shows are this season. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

When you hear the bad writing, see the embarrassing character portrayals and suffer through the agonizing 45 minutes, there will only be one thing left to do: Play some Old Maid. Kidding! You’ll want to sew your eyes shut instead.

Everyone should watch this show this tomorrow night and then everyone should call ABC and tell them that they’re idiots. By the way, this disaster couldn’t happen to a more deserving idiot than Angie “Let Them Eat Cake” Harmon. I can’t wait until the summer of ’08 to see if she makes another cameo appearance at the Republican National Convention. It’s the national murder club.

October 11, 2007   No Comments

Doris Lessing Wins Nobel for Literature

Saint Eyebeat's Eyes and Doris Lessing's EyesShe finally won. What took so long?

I’m not a die-hard fan of Lessing‘s writing but I’m glad she won. She’s something that is vanishing from literature. She’s the self-educated writer. That’s what this post is really about but I should talk about Doris first.

If you do nothing else with the news of Lessing’s prize, you should do a google image search. She’ll be 88 this month and her face over the decades is well documented. It’s the stranger in the mirror that we all deal with as we age. She has rather close-set eyes as I do, I wonder if I’m seeing myself in a few decades.

Doris Lessing Time Machine

The second thing you should do with this news is read Lessing’s own comments on winning. The BBC has some great quotes. This is one that I liked:

She recalled that, in the 1960s, “they sent one of their minions especially to tell me they didn’t like me at the Nobel Prize and I would never get it”.

“So now they’ve decided they’re going to give it to me. So why? I mean, why do they like me any better now than they did then?”

They like you now, Doris, because they’re less frightened now.

Lessing ran away from home and never graduated from high school. She’s a great example of the self-taught writer and intellectual. She was never ruined by university. We need more writers like her. If I see, on a dust jacket, that an author is a graduate of a literature program, especially an MFA grad, I will drop the book like I was jabbed with a cattle prod. Most of these people have nothing to say. They’ve been tied up in knots and parrot nonsense for cracker crumbs. They make me cringe. That’s the rant that Doris sparked. I think it must be something that Lessing has thought about herself. Here’s something Doris said:

I don’t know much about creative writing programs. But they’re not telling the truth if they don’t teach, one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer.

If you want to learn more about Doris Lessing who seems determined to speak the truth whether they like it or not in Stockholm or any place else, pick up a copy of Doris Lessing: Time Bites. And, if you are a cat lover like Doris Lessing you might want to read Particularily Cats and Rufus but beware it is not all gushing love and admiration.

Doris Lessing and Cat Pal

If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air – Doris Lessing
“Particularly Cats”

October 11, 2007   No Comments

Enrico Banducci – the hungry i

hungry i

Do you remember the “hungry i”? When I was very young, I dreamed of going to the “hungry i” like other children dream of going to sea. I haven’t thought about the “hungry i” for decades. I’m thinking about it today because Enrico Banducci, the famous impresario of the “hungry i”, died yesterday. There’s a good obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle. From that piece:

Woody Allen got his start here; so did Barbra Streisand and Mort Sahl. Banducci booked Dick Gregory, Lenny Bruce, the Kingston Trio, the Limeliters, Bob Newhart, Ronnie Schell, (who billed himself as the world’s slowest rising comedian), Bill Cosby, Jonathan Winters and dozens of others.

The “hungry i” was a bit before my time. I was an elementary school child when I first read about the legendary club. For some reason, I was obsessed with it. Of course, it hasn’t been around for decades and the great days ended with the 1960s. It’s probably a memory that is best left un-tarnished by reality. You can read more about the “hungry i” here.

Reading over the history of the “hungry i”, I discovered that a reunion show was produced in 1981 with many of the greats from the glory days of the club. I’ve moved it to the top of my Netflix Q. You can get it from Amazon.

October 10, 2007   1 Comment