The birthday kids.

Today is Alan and Kate’s birthday, and if birthdays aren’t a reason to get out your Fostoria square cake stand, I don’t know what is. Square cake stands require square cakes, however, and I didn’t have any square cake pans. We were at a mall on Saturday, so I stopped at Sur la Table.

There were millions of cake pans in all sizes. Every single one was flared at the top, just a little bit. For a layer cake, you need straight sides. I told the floor guy I needed straight-sided pans, and he ushered me into the “professional” area. The cost differential between an ever-so-slightly flared 8×8 amateur cake pan and a plumb-line straight professional pan? Two-point-six-to-one. Sometimes I hate cooking. The clerk suggested I make it in a 9-by-13 pan and cut it in half. This would yield two layers measuring 9-by-6.5 inches. This is not square. Sometimes I hate myself.

But the cake turned out OK:


That’s devil’s food with vanilla cream cheese frosting, by the way. I’m writing this before it’s cut, but I suspect it will be a little dry, based on its texture coming out of the pan. My cooking’s in a long slump these days; there are times when I just knock around the grocery store waiting for inspiration to strike, and it never does. The farmer’s markets are dwindling and I don’t have the effortless summer bounty, all of which tastes good with a little grilling, a little olive oil and a little salt. I cook for two people besides myself, one of whom doesn’t get home until 9:30 p.m. or later, the other essentially indifferent to everything that’s not an Oreo, pasta or bowl of cereal. I’m looking at another winter of soups, and I’m already dispirited.

Poor me.

(UPDATE: The cake was fine. As was dinner: Pork tenderloin with cranberry-rosemary sauce, au gratin potatoes and sauteed spinach with garlic. Perhaps my mojo is returning. And happy birthday to Mrs. Blonde Mannion, who also had pork tenderloin with cranberry-rosemary sauce for her birthday dinner.)

I guess we should run with the food theme, then. I ordered my Thanksgiving entree Saturday — a cruelty-free, pasture-raised, no-bad stuff, all good-stuff turkey from a CSA provider. They had pictures of the turkeys milling around their pasture pen. I expect I’ll be presented with the bird’s autobiography, attesting that its life was long and good out there in the pasture, and that it was ready to sacrifice its life for our harvest banquet. At these prices (don’t ask), it better. All I ask for is a little fat; the last chicken I bought from the “Amish” place at the market was so skinny it looked like it ran marathons.

I have my problems with the Amish, but the chicken place at the Eastern Market proudly advertises its Amish sourcing, so (shrug). I only object when I hear anyone claiming Amish poultry are somehow purer than that of your basic nightmare operation; my very own husband wrote about Amish chicken operations, and the only differences between them and Tyson’s are a) size; and b) the kid dumping the pharmaceuticals into the feed bin has a bowl haircut. If that makes you feel better, fine, but don’t delude yourself.

The rest of the menu is unplanned, but for the staples — potatoes, dressing, gallons of gravy. For four people I’m not going overboard, but hey, it’s Thanksgiving. Suggestions invited.

Bloggage: There’s no nerd like a typography nerd.

If you don’t like what they’re saying, just claim they’re lying. Repeat. Fact-checking the fact-checker of the fact-checker of “Going Rogue.”

Why I will never understand corporate finance:

In a positive sign that General Motors Co.’s restructuring is off to a good start, the company today said it would begin repaying U.S. government loans later this year, ahead of what is required, and that it lost $1.2 billion in the third quarter after emerging from bankruptcy.

No wonder this company got so screwed up.

Looks like Michigan is out of the race to house Gitmo detainees. Damn. One typical winter should have been enough to extract signed confessions from the lot of ’em.

Off to do what I do on Mondays. Whatever that is.

Posted at 10:34 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

56 responses to “The birthday kids.”

  1. Deborah said on November 16, 2009 at 10:55 am

    I’m a typography nerd. The biggest offense is kerning (the space between letters), it’s often way off which to me is disturbing. Some sign fabricators think you can type something on a computer, enlarge it 1,000% and call it day. It doesn’t work that way, the space between the letters needs to be manipulated properly.

    320 chars

  2. mark said on November 16, 2009 at 11:01 am

    For the turkey-

    1. Brining. It’s a must in my opinion.

    2. Best tip ever, if you don’t care about “presenting” the bird at the table. The fundamental, unavoidable turkey problem is the white meat is done 20 degrees earlier than the dark meat. This is often compounded by the white meat being on top, closer to the primary heat source. So, when the thermometer says the breast is done (actually 5-10 degrees before “done”), haul the bird out of the oven and grab your carving knife. Starting at the breast bone, carve away the two breast lobes. This is surprisingly easy, with only an intact wishbone providing resistance. You will end up with two beautiful, skin-clad breast lobes, which should be covered with foil and allowed to rest before slicing.
    Cover the breast cavity with foil and put the rest of the bird back in the oven until the dark meat is done.

    874 chars

  3. moe99 said on November 16, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Good tip mark. Now if I only was a good turkey slicer…

    btw here is someone who wildly loves LaPalin’s book:

    181 chars

  4. coozledad said on November 16, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Lovely cake. I made some blond brownies during the downpour last week and we scarfed the whole 8″x8″ cake pan full of them within about four hours. I also made a stack of gorditas rolled in black pepper, chili powder and black salt.
    We ate them with black beans and roasted serranos and a slaw made with olive oil, ume plum vinegar and more grated serranos.
    I don’t think I’ll ever buy premade tortillas again.

    412 chars

  5. mark said on November 16, 2009 at 11:14 am


    It really is easy. To build confidence, practice with a chicken. Same anatomy or, as a Vietnamese friend would say “same-same, different”.

    A bonus, slicing wise: You can then slice the breast lobes against the grain if you wish. This is easier than slicing with the grain, produces pretty uniform slices, and each slice will have a strip of the skin (plus all the herbs , etc. that you spread under the skin before roasting) around about 40 percent of the perimeter.

    481 chars

  6. brian stouder said on November 16, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Pam saw such good deals on turkeys at the store two weeks ago that she bought two, and we did a full-up turkey dinner with fresh mashed potatoes and gravy (and so on) last weekend; sort of a full-dress holiday rehearsal dinner.

    And it was dad (aka, me) who made the first faux pas.

    A question for the house: You have your portion of turkey and potatoes and greenbeans and so on, and then the gravy boat sails your way.

    Do you:

    a) take the dipper and put a crater in the mound of potatoes, and then fill it with gravy (all in one motion, more or less)

    b) simply dump gravy upon your potatoe (Indiana spelling) mound, without any crater

    c) make a crater with your fork, and then (and only then) fill it with gravy

    d) b or c

    d) none of the above; skip the damned gravy!

    Well, I did “a” above, and was swiftly reprimanded; Pam insists that the dipper shouldn’t touch yer taters (words to live by, I suppose)

    Anyway, I see that Edward Woodward has passed away. Time to watch Breaker Morant again

    1021 chars

  7. Pam said on November 16, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Doesn’t an 8″ round layer cake fit on your square cake stand?

    61 chars

  8. jcburns said on November 16, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Kerning is one of those great terms that emerged from the days of metal type (literally chopping off corners of a type block to make the letters fit together more snugly). Me, I can spend an entertaining morning making the kerning on one line of type…just…perfect. That said, your cake looks especially well, uh, kerned.

    Birthday best wishes to the father daughter duo.

    377 chars

  9. derwood said on November 16, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Brian….create the crater with the dipper…as long as you haven’t licker the dipper who cares.


    105 chars

  10. mark said on November 16, 2009 at 11:56 am

    OK, Brian, I’ll help you out. At home, the answer is “a”, because it’s the least effort to achieve maximum gravy to potato ratio, without risk of it running into, say, brussel sprouts, or one of the very few other side dishes where gravy isn’t welcomed with open arms and party hats. Plus, you’re the man of the house. You know the goodness that is gravy and you will partake as you see fit in your own home.

    When the lady of the house disagrees, you may, nonetheless, choose “c” as the wiser, but more labor intensive method to maximum gravy. However, your bride’s objection to “a” may be due to her concern that you are unaware of the private/public distinction in gravy etiquette, and that you will embarass her in public at some future point. Demonstrating a firm grasp of these rules may persuade her to acquiesce in the ladle/crater/lake method at home.

    Of course, if you are at home AND you personally made both the gravy and the potatoes, then you are a wimp if you don’t use method “a” or, better yet, a soup bowl on the side full of potatoes and gravy. Maybe even your own, private stash of gravy.

    In public, I’m afraid “b” is the only option, unless you are morbidly obese, when “d” is reluctantly allowed. If you choose “d” without a well-known history of life threatening heart disease, the men at the table won’t trust you. They may not say anything, but their thoughts won’t be kind.

    “B” allows you to have some gravy. Not nearly enough, but some. And your bride will win the admiration of her peers for your good table manners and remarkable self-restraint. While there are many benefits to civilization, men have lost the right to bathe in gravy whenever and wherever they want.

    1718 chars

  11. brian stouder said on November 16, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    While there are many ben­e­fits to civ­i­liza­tion, men have lost the right to bathe in gravy when­ever and wher­ever they want.

    Absolutely true. Men who know which side their bread is buttered on, and who want to earn some marital gravy, must be attuned to ‘Potato-Correctness’

    295 chars

  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    “Goooood evening, Ohio!”

    Quick, name that quote! (Hint: statement made in Auburn Hills, Michigan)

    101 chars

  13. moe99 said on November 16, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    It was in the prior thread, Jeff!

    33 chars

  14. LAMary said on November 16, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    A Thanksgiving sweet potato suggestion: peel and slice some sweet potatoes,slices about a quarter inch thick. Do the same with an equivalent amount of Granny Smith apples. Alternate slices in a baking dish, as you would with scalloped potatoes. Dot with butter, and pour some cider over the whole thing, no so it’s swimming, but maybe three quarters of an inch deep. Cover it with foil and bake it at 325-350 for an hour. It’s sweet but not sickly like the marshmallow sweet potato thing.

    490 chars

  15. 4dbirds said on November 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Happy Birthday to all. Agree with Mark on brining. Best turkey ever. When I discovered the cakes at Wegmans, I stopped baking them. They are heavenly.

    154 chars

  16. 4dbirds said on November 16, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    LA Mary, I do my sweet potatoes in a similar fashion only with some added Grand Marnier.

    89 chars

  17. jeff borden said on November 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Here in Illinois, we are not scared of Islamic terrorists, despite what the wee men with R’s after their names claim. We are far more afraid of our political leaders, who prefer bribes, skimming, under-the-table payments, etc. to truck bombs, but do about as much damage.

    Stories in the Chicago papers quoted citizens of poor Thomson, Ill. as thrilled at the prospect of housing Gitmo detainees there as it would create about 3,000 jobs in a hard-hit area. And, trust me, Thomson has much more in common with Missouri than Illinois in terms of political persuasion. These are the kinds of “real Americans” *James Frey, ummm, excuse me, **Sarah Palin cited in her campaign stops and they are not afraid of the cave-dwellers.

    I guess getting the terrorists from Guantanamo makes up for losing the 2016 Olympics.

    *The author who completey lied in his non-fiction book.
    ** The author who completely lied in her non-fiction book.

    934 chars

  18. jeff borden said on November 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Here’s a brilliant column by Glenn Greenwald of Salon. This column encapsulates precisely what I’ve been arguing for years, namely, when we change the way we live, the way we act, the way we use our legal system and our military because we fear a terror attack, the terrorists have won.

    See what you think and then ponder why not a single prominent conservative has spoken up in favor of doing the right thing:

    By Glenn Greenwald
    This is literally true: the Right’s reaction to yesterday’s announcement — we’re too afraid to allow trials and due process in our country — is the textbook definition of “surrendering to terrorists.” It’s the same fear they’ve been spewing for years. As always, the Right’s tough-guy leaders wallow in a combination of pitiful fear and cynical manipulation of the fear of their followers. Indeed, it’s hard to find any group of people on the globe who exude this sort of weakness and fear more than the American Right.

    People in capitals all over the world have hosted trials of high-level terrorist suspects using their normal justice system. They didn’t allow fear to drive them to build island-prisons or create special commissions to depart from their rules of justice. Spain held an open trial in Madrid for the individuals accused of that country’s 2004 train bombings. The British put those accused of perpetrating the London subway bombings on trial right in their normal courthouse in London. Indonesia gave public trials using standard court procedures to the individuals who bombed a nightclub in Bali. India used a Mumbai courtroom to try the sole surviving terrorist who participated in the 2008 massacre of hundreds of residents. In Argentina, the Israelis captured Adolf Eichmann, one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals, and brought him to Jerusalem to stand trial for his crimes.

    It’s only America’s Right that is too scared of the Terrorists — or which exploits the fears of their followers — to insist that no regular trials can be held and that “the safety and security of the American people” mean that we cannot even have them in our country to give them trials. As usual, it’s the weakest and most frightened among us who rely on the most flamboyant, theatrical displays of “strength” and “courage” to hide what they really are.

    2304 chars

  19. Dorothy said on November 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Allowing a ladle to touch potatoes when dispensing gravy infects said ladle with potatoes, and therefore all potential gravy users might not appreciate getting potatoes mixed in if they, for instance, want gravy only on their stuffing. Which is where most of the gravy goes in my family. Our family does not call it dressing – it’s stuffing. Dressing is what you do after you get a shower.

    I guess I’m not into the inter-personal relationships of potential turkeys I will be cooking, so I got my bird on Saturday for a whopping 29 cents a pound. She is just over 20 pounds. And I’ll make a turkey breast to go along with that one, since we’re serving 14 for dinner at my house and most of us like the white meat.

    Happy birthday to Alan & Kate!

    758 chars

  20. adrianne said on November 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Love LA Mary’s sweet potato suggestion, will give it a whirl for our Thanksgiving dinner (hosted by my mom: she does turkey, I’ll do pies and sides).

    And happy Nov. 16th birthday to my birthday buds, Alan and Kate!

    217 chars

  21. brian stouder said on November 16, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Allow­ing a ladle to touch pota­toes when dis­pens­ing gravy infects said ladle with pota­toes, and there­fore all poten­tial gravy users might not appre­ci­ate get­ting pota­toes mixed in

    That is almost word-for-word what Pam said to me, in stentorian tones!

    Jeff – precisely. And wanting to change the rules for American psychos that happen to have a particular racial or ethnic lineage emblazons a (harsh) bright back-lighting on these overblown, cynical fears

    489 chars

  22. Connie said on November 16, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Add my dad to the birthday list, he turns 78 today. For a man who had his first heart attack in his 30s (and the first ever bypass operation performed in Grand Rapids) he is in pretty good shape, though he never expected to live this long. He recently got to spend some time with his first great grand child, and tells me the cortison injection in his knees have greatly improved his life.

    Happy b’day to your crew Nancy, my guy seemed to survive his 60th OK last week, even though I did fall asleep after work and miss the birthday dinner he was cooking for us.

    567 chars

  23. Connie said on November 16, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    On the subject of potatoes and gravy: Use the potato serving spoon to make that central gravy cavern, as part of serving the potatoes onto your plate.

    151 chars

  24. Jeff Borden said on November 16, 2009 at 2:15 pm


    It’s always the guys who talk the loudest about being “tough” who are the first to cry for mommy, isn’t it? Count Ghouliani once fancied himself the tough, bare-knuckled prosecutor in the town that never sleeps. Now he’s a dainty little coward worried that one of the greatest cities in the world simply can’t handle a terrorism trial.

    God, he’s disgusting. As much as I admired his performance in the hours and days after those planes hit the WTC –particularly compared with our national leaders– his constant exploitation of that horrible day is beyond nauseating. He’s made millions, but he’s stopped making sense.

    632 chars

  25. MichaelG said on November 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Happy Birthdays Alan and Kate!!

    I generally do a face plant by the time food is served. That takes care of the potato cavity.

    131 chars

  26. beb said on November 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    From watching lots of Food Network Challenges I’ve learned that professional cake decorator spend a lot of time chopping off cake that doesn’t fit their design, so in regards to your square cake stand, nancy I suggest getting two 9×12 pans and cut the layers down to the 9×9 square form you want. Not only will this produce a beautiful cake but think of all the “wasteage” you can squirrel away for late night snacking!

    The concept of free range poultry reminds me of a bit from “Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where, at the Restaurant at the End of Time, the cow comes out and recommends which cuts will be most tasty to eat.

    A history of Thanksgiving said that Turkeys were once breed so intensely for breast meat that they couldn’t stand up and farmers actually had to breed them back to a leaner, more upright variety. Personally I dislike breast meat as too bland. Give me dark meat any time. So a free range turkey, while much smaller than a factory grown variety would have much more of the kind of meat I like.

    I was disappointed that James Webb, who I thought was an army-tough Democrat, has come out whining about civilian trials for the 9-11 terrorists. Actually it worse than that, because he’s arguing that these terrorists deserve only military trials because they committed acts of war against America. But they’re not soldiers. They’re not committing acts of violence from one nation-state against another. They are civilians committing acts of violence against other civilians. So it is precisely civilian courts where the people should go to get justice.

    This whole idea that there are a class of people called “enemy combatants” that can be imprisoned on the President’s say so and not treated to either the habis corpus of civial law or to the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war is wrong and monsterous. What I see from what Webb is saying is the beginnings of a permanant miltary state replacing our nation of laws. Things we don’t like become crimes against our nation. The rule of law gets replaced by military expediency. And the idea that we, as civilians, can’t deal with bad people, but must leave it to te military is a very bad idea.

    2200 chars

  27. Jeff Borden said on November 16, 2009 at 3:23 pm


    I look to the U.K. for guidance in handling terrorism. Lord knows they dealt with plenty of it relating to Northern Ireland including bombings with large numbers of casualties. They treat these events as law enforcement issues, not military issues. Solid police work. Good intelligence systems. Well-trained barristers.

    Your reference to “enemy combatants” reminds me that none of the great Tea Party activists had any trouble with a president giving himself the authority to declare anyone an “enemy combatant,” to deny habeas corpus, to tap wire and e-mail accounts without any judicial overview. But President Obama seeks to do something about the 48 million people without insurance and we’re on the road to becoming the USSR.


    768 chars

  28. Mindy said on November 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Craft stores with cake decorating supplies offer a selection of Wilton pans priced so low that you won’t resent they’ll be gathering dust much of the year. Pick up a bottle of Cake Release while you’re there. The applesauce muffins I made yesterday looked good enough to photograph since the pan was greased with Cake Release. They came out perfectly browned and didn’t leave behind a crumb. If you’re not up for a trip to a craft store, Meijer has a cake decorating section in the bakeware aisle and will likely have pans to compliment your cake stand.

    557 chars

  29. Jean S said on November 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Kosher turkey! essentially pre-brined, and you don’t have to make space in your fridge for a big old pot of water. Also, google nora ephron + best turkey and you’ll get an absolutely foolproof–and ab fab–recipe. One flaw: It’s best with smaller turkeys (as in 14 lbs or so).

    I love the gravy discussion. Good to know we can focus on the really important issues around here.

    378 chars

  30. Dorothy said on November 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Beb is right about trimming the cakes to the size you want them to be. My first job ever was in a bakery. They’d cut off sections of the cake to get the sizes they needed for things like wedding cakes, kids’ birthday cakes with towers on them, etc. And at the risk of sounding like a low-life, what’s wrong with the disposable aluminum pans you find at Kroger? They come in lots of sizes and I know they have square ones cuz I’ve bought them before.

    452 chars

  31. Dexter said on November 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Daughter is getting married in a few weeks and yesterday she, her mom, sister and her man were visiting caterers to arrange for the cake. Shee-it…if I only had known you were such an expert cake-woman….

    207 chars

  32. mark said on November 16, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Turkey and gravy can only distract me from the politics for so long. “Fear” as the motive for opposing a criminal trial for KSM lets you malign a big group of people all at once, but it doesn’t work very well. Just a few days before AG Holder announced that KSM and four others would be tried in NYC, he announced that the USS Cole bombers would face military tribunals. I suppose that Holder must fear them.

    “Due process” is a concept rather than a precise recipe. Typically, at a minimum, it includes an opportunity to present evidence on your own behalf, an impartial decision-maker, a right to appeal and similar rules for those that are similarly situated. So far as I know, the Cole bombers and KSM are similarly situated, and I think the different treatment is political not constitution-driven.

    We have to figure out what treatment to afford “enemy combatants” because they are a reality. If we want to call it “civilian-on-civilian crime (I don’t), we can do that but we have to think through the consequences. Roman Polanski awaits and is fighting extradition- that’s how we handle suspects of criminal charges who are found elsewhere. And most nations won’t cooperate with us on extradition if the accused faces the death penalty. KSM was bagged and gagged and hustled off to Gitmo.

    In apprehending a suspect of a crime, we don’t use lethal force unless there is an immediate, real threat to the lives of others, we give Miranda warnings, etc. We lob missiles at suspected terrorists al of the time.

    In almost every state, US citizens can have their children taken away on “clear and convincing evidence” not “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”, without a jury and with the consideration of some hearsay evidence. INS proceedings use lower standards to deport.

    If the Constitution requires criminal trials, then it should require the same for the other, similarly-siuated detainees. If it doesn’t, I see no reason to offer them greater rights on an ad hoc basis.

    1998 chars

  33. Jeff Borden said on November 16, 2009 at 5:02 pm


    You are actually making an argument with a point to it. You can’t possible be a conservative, LOL!

    If we want to parse legal definitions, I’m with you. Why some of these creeps are going before a military tribunal and others before a federal magistrate is well worth discussing. What the powers of discovery will be in the trial and what extent defense lawyers might have to sensitive data is worth talking about.

    What I am referencing and what Glenn Greenwald was writing about is the absolute pants-wetting, fear-mongering engaged in by our rightwing friends. These buffoons help inflate the reputations of these low-life terrorist hoods by making them out to be some kind of comic book super villains. One of our Republican congresscritters in Illinois is shrieking about how Chicago and Illinois will be endangered by these thugs if they are inside a state-of-the-art maximum security prison. Do they have the ability to turn into smoke and drift through the walls? C’mon! We’re better than this.

    Guantanomo is an open, oozing wound in America’s reputation. It is a prime recruiting tool for jihadists. It’s time to close it down. And it’s time to let the sunshine of reason bear down on the sick, atavistic viewpoints of trogs like KSM, which is what this trial will do.

    I gotta admit, I am just amazed that so many rightwingers have such a low opinin of our country and its legal system that they think a piece of shit like KSM cannot be tried successfully. And that a former prosecuting attorney would be the lead cheerleader for their thinking.

    1573 chars

  34. moe99 said on November 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    There has not been a declaration of war. Without that there are no enemy combatants.

    The bombing of the US Cole was a bombing of a naval vessel. A criminal action against a US military target. The World Trade Center and Flight 93 were not military. Hence the difference in trials.

    290 chars

  35. mark said on November 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    On the fear issue, I’ll give you this much: Republicans have played up the danger of incarceration in the US just to make it more difficult for Obama to close the prison at Gitmo and keep his campaign promise.

    210 chars

  36. mark said on November 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm


    And the pentagon?

    25 chars

  37. jeff borden said on November 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm


    Exactly so. And you have a point on the Pentagon, too.

    At base, I’m just tired of building up the reputations of a bunch of religious fanatics who’d like to see the world as it was in 600 A.D. We’re talking about a bunch of losers who live in caves, supported by donations from wealthy religious Wahabi conservatives (many, if not most, from our “ally” Saudi Arabia), most of them illiterate and unschooled. Are they dangerous? Sure, but not to the extent we paint them.

    482 chars

  38. moe99 said on November 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    mrak–I will concede you the Pentagon. Given that, why not have the civil trials, followed by a military tribunal? They were separate crimes after all.

    156 chars

  39. crinoidgirl said on November 16, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Freedom of speech, and the freedom to disagree – a fifth grade boy in Arkansas refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance until gays and lesbians have equal rights: (Arkansas Times article)

    216 chars

  40. Scout said on November 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Still chuckling at this line – “…Amish chicken oper­a­tions, and the only dif­fer­ences between them and Tyson’s are a) size; and b) the kid dump­ing the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals into the feed bin has a bowl hair­cut.”

    What I want to know is what’s going to be served at coozledad farm on Thanksgiving.

    Oh, and Connie – your potato solution was simple and brilliant. Now we know.

    395 chars

  41. moe99 said on November 16, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Sarah Palin on Oprah.

    95 chars

  42. Jeff Borden said on November 16, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Oprah. Now there’s a journalist.

    What a suck-up interview. One pop cultural icon to the other. No wonder Our Lady of Wasilla wanted to start the tour there. Next up: Barbara Walters, who will probably offer just about the same level of questioning.

    251 chars

  43. alex said on November 16, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I watched Giuliani and some of the other gasbags on the Sunday talk shows doing their tired old hystrionics and barely keeping a straight face. Had it been announced that the 9/11 terrorists would go before a tribunal I’m sure they’d be screaming about how it should be the other way.

    Great story crinoidgirl. If only more people were willing to stand up (or sit down). I think I’ll join that young feller in solidarity.

    423 chars

  44. Peter said on November 16, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I agree with you Scout – Connie’s solution is supoib.

    Nancy, it gets cold here in Illinois as well – those Gitmo boys will do just fine here, thank you very much.

    I remember kerning from my intern architect days – Letraset had guides on how to “kern” your press on letters so they look typeset, and the early Kroy machines had an autokern function.

    354 chars

  45. coozledad said on November 16, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Scout: It might be some sort of soymeat pastry, with a side of roasted potatoes. Usually we have collards, but the cabbage loopers got what the weather didn’t this year.
    Fat meat and greens would be a traditional southern holiday meal, with a side of grits and maybe some Virginia cured ham.Deep fried tofu with sesame oil and Maggi sauce is a pretty good facsimile of fatback, and it’s good with turnip greens and malt or cider vinegar. I haven’t been able to duplicate the crunchy/chewy outer dermal layer of the hog with tofu, however.
    Soy ham is ludicrously expensive and oversweetened, but I can make a Virginia ham substitute with it by slicing it into thin pieces, soaking it in powdered cayenne, leftover coffee and soy sauce, and then driving every bit of moisture off it on a dry griddle until it’s the consistency of OSB board. It’s virtually indistinguishable from the genuine article, except you won’t find any skippers in it.

    941 chars

  46. Jolene said on November 16, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I had no idea that there was such a complex relationship between gravy consumption and perceptions of manliness. Hope that witty version of Mark will show up more often.

    Beb, I’m w/ you re Jim Webb, as I said in a previous thread. He is typically an independent thinker. I hate to think that he is concerned enough about hanging onto his seat that he is arguing against U.S. trials for KSM and the others. His victory margin was narrow (only about 6,000 votes), and he’d almost certainly have lost if George Allen hadn’t turned into his own worst enemy. Of course, we have the recent Republican victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election, but, still, it seems so out of character for him.

    700 chars

  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 16, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I’m gonna have to start setting time aside on Mondays to read the weekend backlog, but this wasn’t the Monday to start.

    We like sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, brown sugar and butter sauce (some allspice & cloves) in lieu of mini-marshmallows.

    Saw last twelve minutes of Palin on Oprah . . . now THAT’S suckitude. Sorry i spent the time, especially with seven minutes of commercial for about ten minutes of show, two for upcoming promos. Can’t see Sarah doing a talk show, TV or radio. But her and Nicole Wallace playing Horse, that i’d watch.

    Grim news for Michigan re their California cousins:

    685 chars

  48. Jolene said on November 16, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    On food, I have a couple recipe suggestions. Here’s one for Cranberry-Lime Salsa, which, in addition to cranberry and lime also contains tequila and jalapeno. If you make this, definitely follow the “make one day ahead” instructions, or perhaps even make it two days ahead, as those strong flavors need time to mellow.

    The WaPo food bloggers had a recent piece on soups to go w/ holiday dinners. There were several that sounded very good, including Sherried Pumpkin Apple Soup, Butternut Squash Soup w/ Walnut Whiskey Butter, and Apple and Cheddar Soup w/ Roasted Apple Garnish, and more.

    And, of course, there’s the fabulous Spicy Fall Stew Baked in a Pumpkin that I wrote about last year. (Brief version: Delicious, ours was prettier than this picture, makes a great side dish or main dish w/ other sides for vegetarians/vegans, can use corn rather than hominy.) Another side dish that I’ve bookmarked but haven’t tried yet is Mark Bittman’s Roasted Sweet Potato Salad w/ Black Beans and Chili Dressing. Looks fabulous. I thought there was a video of him making it, but it doesn’t seem to be linked here.

    1521 chars

  49. Jolene said on November 16, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Finally, that is one big-ass cake stand. Next time, I think you have to go for more layers.

    92 chars

  50. Jolene said on November 16, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Whoops! Just remembered one more thing: HBO is showing a documentary called Terror in Mumbai narrated by Fareed Zakaria, one of my favorite TV talking heads, on Thursday evening at 8 PM EST. He showed a couple of clips on his CNN show yesterday. Was both horrifying and sad, as the guys who carried out the shootings were barely more than boys. They were being directed by bad guys in Pakistan–talking to them by cell phone, no less, while they were killing people at the Taj Hotel and elsewhere.

    This case is relevant to the war vs. law enforcement issue as it was forward thinking by the Indian intelligence services that made it possible to capture those conversations. Of course, it’d be still better if they’d had the intelligence to stop the attack, but, presumably, they are continuing this work–perhaps w/ better results to come. It can’t have been encouraging to the Pakistani bad guys to get such clear evidence that their operations had been, to some extent, compromised.

    1083 chars

  51. beb said on November 16, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Mark @32: I’m with you on due process. The backbone of being a Nation of Laws is the right to defend yourself in court, confront witnesses and demand that the state either make a case of let a person free.

    I’m also with the USS Cole bombers. They were part of no national army so their arrest did not make them prisoners of war (also there is no war – anywhere!) They were arrested by the FBI, I believe, and should be tried in civil court.

    As a point of interest, the Cole was attacked in the last days of Clinton’s administration and was left to Bush to prosecute. That we are now in the Obama administration, eight years later and only now talking about trying these bombers is an embarrassment.

    “Enemy Combatant” is a term and concept that did not exist before Bush the Younger wanted some means to avoid giving habeas corpus to pepople he was torturing. Since the term has no legal existent the easiest and best way to treat it is to declare – once again – that it doesn’t exist. Sadly, Obama has been seduced by the power to arrest any one for no crime and hold them indefinitely without redress.

    I’ve long thought that the best way to deal with Gitmo was to just open it up to on-demand inspections by the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Amnesty International, etc. If the issue is that Gitmo is kind of not part of America then act to make it 100% American.

    1372 chars

  52. brian stouder said on November 17, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Speaking of the attack on the Aegis Destroyer USS Cole, I cannot recommend highly enough the book The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright.

    It is just a great book, and it has about it the ring of truth; the FBI’s investigative team picked up leads and so on there, and began expending shoe leather matching things up with the earlier attacks on the US embassies at Dar es Salaam and other East African cities…and had a glimmer of a chance of following the thread all the way to the 9/11 attackers, except that the CIA didn’t share what they knew with the FBI – since the FBI was all about prosecutions and public trials and so on….

    which raises the one infinitely complex point that hangs over public trials in our civil courts for these multinational criminals. The CIA (and other ‘black’ intelligence agencies) simply do not operate with a view toward public trials and the exposure of ways and means and sources.

    But indeed – that is simply a challenge we must shoulder. Will future nihilists learn what things to avoid? Maybe they will – but “the good guys” aren’t standing still; their sources and ways and means are always changing, too.

    But indeed – the point that the critics of a public trial could make – but haven’t really coherently made (at least that I’ve seen or heard) is the same old problem we had in the late ’90’s, and in the run-up to September 11, 2001 – which is so well detailed in Wright’s book; institutional coordination and cooperation within the United States’ far-flung intelligence gathering and law enforcement-criminal investigative operations.

    Hopefully our looming trial bespeaks some behind-the-scenes arrangements and accomodations amongst (for example) the CIA and FBI, going forward.

    1741 chars

  53. moe99 said on November 17, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Holder’s speech announcing the prosecutions:

    …In each case, my decision as to whether to proceed in federal courts or military commissions was based on a protocol that the Departments of Justice and Defense developed and that was announced in July. Because many cases could be prosecuted in either federal courts or military commissions, that protocol sets forth a number of factors – including the nature of the offense, the location in which the offense occurred, the identity of the victims, and the manner in which the case was investigated – that must be considered. In consultation with the Secretary of Defense, I looked at all the relevant factors and made case by case decisions for each detainee.

    It is important that we be able to use every forum possible to hold terrorists accountable for their actions. Just as a sustained campaign against terrorism requires a combination of intelligence, law enforcement and military operations, so must our legal efforts to bring terrorists to justice involve both federal courts and reformed military commissions. I want to thank the members of Congress, including Senators Lindsay Graham, Carl Levin and John McCain who worked so hard to strengthen our national security by helping us pass legislation to reform the military commission system.

    1379 chars

  54. crazycatlady said on November 17, 2009 at 1:49 am

    I enjoy baking cakes and decorating them (or used to before carpel tunnel), and I get my supplies at Jo-Ann Craft Store. I do Mexican sugar skulls too and get pastry bags for decorating them there. They have specialty baking pans at reasonable prices. And with 40% off coupons, the pans are a steal! I get food color pastes, mini loaf paper cups, holiday sprinkles there. If they don’t have it, just get a Wilton catalog. Easy!

    427 chars

  55. caliban said on November 17, 2009 at 3:28 am

    And if physicians won’t tell the truth, we’re left with out and out liars like Tom Coburn. He thinks that if Obama supports vets, it must be socialism. Republicans vote against veterans of the obscene
    invasions and occupations neocons make up in the first place. What in the world is wrong with these chicken-hawk bastards? And what in the world is wrong with any American voter that thinks this behavior is OK?

    When the president acts in the best interest of vets, how is it aceptable that some asshole that thinks hookers that obviously have better ideas about social justice and family values take a back seat to Senator Vitter? Where’s his moral justification for putting holds on Preaidwbtial nominations? He comported with hookers. It’s not like an allegation, it’s a fact. And this sleazeball is holding up a Presidential appointment of somebody unquestionably qualified?

    Look you morons. Scalia only believes in the Constitution he made up in his own twisted mind. Perps are guilty, and absolute proof of innocence doesn’t mean we can’t fry somebody. That is what this guy said. I say that makes him a psychopath. Explain to me how I’m wrong. And how W wasn’t a happy idiot, and how he wasn’t a whole lot worse when he thought it was funny doing his little imitation. He thought it was just as funny blowing up innocent Iraqis and missing Sadam by miles, and not caring, because a dead Iraqi is like a dead Indian.

    Neocons are like a post-industrial joke now. Palin is the anit-neo neocon. Those people thought they were intellectuals. They were bumrushed by idiots. The future for Republicans is crystallized in a single phrase: Keep your government hands off my Medicare. And there is probably no way to deal with stupidity that entrenched.

    I’m an absolute believer in the stupidiy of Ameericans. Lf Ameericans want to believe the Health Insurance and Drug Company people havtheir best interests at heart, you folks are looney tunes. When Bush was president, he made a deal with Phaarma where they could charge whatever they wanted to and the government would have to just eat it. So that make sense to anybody but a Bush toady? Mope

    There’s a President trying to fix an inordinate mess. Gay rights? Gay marriage? Are we kidding? There are a lot of things more important to a lot of people. I am so sick of backbiting on single issues.

    What I really mean, somebody’s sexual preference isn’t particularly important to me. What this has to do with Patrick McGoohan, I haven’t a clue. Not even remotely.

    2534 chars

  56. Sue said on November 17, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Caliban! Where have you been?

    30 chars