11/18/2012 archive

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher

Bill Maher’s New Rule: Obama Must Get Back at the Right by Becoming Angry Black Man Pushing Liberal Agenda

h/t Heather at Crooks and Liars

An Anthology of Turkey Day Helpful Hints and Recipes

PhotobucketOver the last couple of years I’ve shared some of the recipes that I served at the annual Turkey Feast. There have also been diaries about cooking the bird, whether or not to stuff it and suggestions about what to drink that will not conflict with such an eclectic meal of many flavors. It’s not easy to please everyone and, like in my family, there are those who insist on “traditions” like Pumpkin Pie made only from the recipe on the Libby’s Pumpkin Puree can slathered with Ready Whip Whipped Cream. For my son-in-law it isn’t Thanksgiving without the green bean casserole made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Thank the cats we have a crowd that will eat just about anything on the table that looks pretty. Rather than reprise each recipe, I’ve compiled an anthology of past diaries to help you survive the trauma of Thanksgiving Day and enjoy not just the meal but family and friends.

  • What’s Cooking: Stuffing the Turkey Or Not
  • Health reasons why not to stuff that bird and a recipe with a clever decorative way to serve the dressing.

  • What’s Cooking: What to Drink with the Turkey
  • Suggestions on wine and beer pairings that go with everything including brussel sprouts.

  • What’s Cooking: Sweet Potato Mash
  • A great substitute for those sticky, over sweet, marshmallow topped tubers that goes well with pork or ham and breakfast.

  • What’s Cooking: Autumn Succotash, Not Your Usual Suspect
  • Hate those gritty, tasteless lima beans in succoatash? I do but this recipe using edamame change my mind

  • Pumpkins, Not Just For Carving
  • Includes a great recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake that will please even those diehard traditional pumpkin pie lovers.

  • What’s Cooking: Pumpkin Soup
  • Any squash can be substituted for pumpkin in this recipe. My daughter is using butternut served with a dollop of cumin flavored sour cream.

  • What’s Cooking: Don’t Throw That Turkey Carcass Out
  • Besides making turkey soup or hash with those leftovers and the carcass, there is also some great recipes like the mushroom risotto in this essay.

    May everyone have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving. Please remember those who have lost so much during Hurricane Sandy with a donation to a food bank or charity that is assisting. May they all be warm and safe. Blessed Be.

    Formula One 2012: Perry’s Pit

    Well, where is here exactly?

    It’s the penultimate race of the year and the Driver’s and (arguably) Constructor’s Championships are still up for grabs.  Actually I should classify the Driver’s Championship as arguable too since it’s not really as close as the 10 point gap between Vettel and Alonso would indicate.

    What happened?  It’s not so much that Red Bull is all that much better than the rest but that the other teams suck so bad.

    Jenson Button says 2012 McLaren car is worst since he joined F1 team

    Paul Weaver, The Guardian

    Monday 5 November 2012 17.30 EST

    “Since I’ve been here this has been the worst year. It’s been tricky, even on good weekends. We’ve had a problem pretty much every weekend, lately. We need to stop it. I don’t get it.”

    Button has been just as frustrated as his departing team-mate Lewis Hamilton as McLaren have failed to match the performances of Red Bull – or even Ferrari, who now look likely to relegate the British team to third place in the constructors’ championship.

    Hamilton has often been outstanding this season but has been frustrated by pit-lane mistakes and, more recently, poor reliability.

    He dominated the weekend in Abu Dhabi and stormed away from his 25th pole position into a comfortable lead, only to pull out before the halfway stage because of an electrical problem, evoking memories of his gearbox failure in Singapore, when again he was running away with the race.

    “It’s twice in the last five races,” he said. “And the cars, apart from India, have had problems in all five. In Singapore we had the gearbox failure, at Suzuka a rear rollbar malfunction, before qualifying and in the race, and in Korea a rear rollbar failure. Then we had India, which was fine, and then here. So that’s four hardcore difficult weekends.”

    Hamilton added: “I’ve been on pole position seven times this year. I have only won three times. In the other ones we’ve had failures and issues with pit stops and so on. If my car was as reliable as Sebastian’s or Fernando’s I would be right up with them now.”

    Crisis of confidence as Ferrari pull out stops for Fernando Alonso

    Paul Weaver, The Guardian

    Friday 16 November 2012 12.24 EST

    In a move so late it was positively posthumous Jules Bianchi, the Ferrari test driver, took the car for a spin at Spain’s Idiada Circuit last Saturday. The work he did there concentrated on the car’s aerodynamics, for this has long been diagnosed as the car’s failing; and yet it was a classic case of closing the garage door after the Red Bull has bolted.

    Fernando Alonso goes into the penultimate race of the season here on Sunday only 10 points behind Sebastian Vettel. While Alonso has said he is confident and trusts his team, his chances of winning his third world championship were best summed up by one beleaguered member of the tifosi who said on Friday, shrugging: “For Fernando to win Vettel needs to crash. Twice.”

    In reality it should never have been this close. Ferrari still have a slim chance because of Alonso’s dogged ability to make the best of a bad job while his and the team’s position have been promoted by McLaren’s habit of not only shooting themselves in the foot but using a sawn-off shotgun to do it.

    There are many technical reasons for Ferrari’s troubles. They have had wind tunnel problems. They have also had difficulties – perhaps most crucial of all – in qualifying. Alonso has not been better than fourth on the grid in the past eight races and is normally about sixth. He is stronger in race mode when he is not hindered by the car’s poor DRS system, which is used more freely in qualifying.

    But there are deeper problems at Ferrari. There are questions over Fry in his role as technical director, which he took on for the first time at Ferrari. The team were more competitive two years ago, when Alonso almost won the title, and when Aldo Costa, the man Fry replaced, was in charge. Ferrari have not been innovative enough. They have been too content to close the gap on their more inventive rivals at Red Bull and McLaren. They have not challenged, intellectually.

    The journalist Beppe Severgnini said: “Italy is the only workshop in the world that can turn out both Botticellis and Berlusconis.” There have not been many Botticellis from Ferrari recently.

    Red Bull’s F1 dominance is talking point of US Grand Prix paddock

    Paul Weaver, The Guardian

    Friday 16 November 2012 14.22 EST

    The BBC commentator David Coulthard drove not only for Red Bull but for two of the other three teams to achieve this feat (a hat-trick of Formula One Constructors’ Championships), McLaren and Williams (Ferrari, twice, were the others). Coulthard said from the paddock here on Friday: “I’m totally unsurprised. Because Red Bull are the only one of the major teams totally focused on Formula One.

    “McLaren have electronics, road cars and other things and I don’t know about anyone else but I’ve never been successful at giving 100% to more than one thing.

    “At various times McLaren have been the class of the field. At no time have Ferrari been able to say that, although they’ve had a great package. But Red Bull [whose soft drinks empire is run completely separately] have an ability to find solutions to the problems that they find during the course of a season. It is a really good formula.”

    So this is 3 years in a row now of Vettel grabbing the pole and driving out of range and Formula One is just as boring as it was under Schumacher/Marlboro UPC.  What has to happen for it to get interesting again is for the other teams to get better and only Lotus/Renault shows any sign of improvement.

    Good luck with Mercedes Lewis.  You’ll need it.


    Interactive Track

    Official Sites

    Pretty tables below.

    On This Day In History November 18

    This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

    Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

    November 18 is the 322nd day of the year (323rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 43 days remaining until the end of the year.

    On this day in 1883, the Railraods create the first time zones At exactly noon on this day, American and Canadian railroads begin using four continental time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of local times. The bold move was emblematic of the power shared by the railroad companies.

    The need for continental time zones stemmed directly from the problems of moving passengers and freight over the thousands of miles of rail line that covered North America by the 1880s. Since human beings had first begun keeping track of time, they set their clocks to the local movement of the sun. Even as late as the 1880s, most towns in the U.S. had their own local time, generally based on “high noon,” or the time when the sun was at its highest point in the sky. As railroads began to shrink the travel time between cities from days or months to mere hours, however, these local times became a scheduling nightmare. Railroad timetables in major cities listed dozens of different arrival and departure times for the same train, each linked to a different local time zone.

    Timekeeping on the American railroads in the mid 19th century was somewhat confused. Each railroad used its own standard time, usually based on the local time of its headquarters or most important terminus, and the railroad’s train schedules were published using its own time. Some major railroad junctions served by several different railroads had a separate clock for each railroad, each showing a different time; the main station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for example, kept six different times.

    Charles F. Dowd proposed a system of one-hour standard time zones for American railroads about 1863, although he published nothing on the matter at that time and did not consult railroad officials until 1869. In 1870, he proposed four ideal time zones (having north-south borders), the first centered on Washington, D.C., but by 1872 the first was centered 75 W of Greenwich, with geographic borders (for example, sections of the Appalachian Mountains). Dowd’s system was never accepted by American railroads. Instead, U.S. and Canadian railroads implemented a version proposed by William F. Allen, the editor of the Traveler’s Official Railway Guide. The borders of its time zones ran through railroad stations, often in major cities. For example, the border between its Eastern and Central time zones ran through Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Charleston. It was inaugurated on Sunday, November 18, 1883, also called “The Day of Two Noons”, when each railroad station clock was reset as standard-time noon was reached within each time zone. The zones were named Intercolonial, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. Within one year, 85% of all cities with populations over 10,000, about 200 cities, were using standard time. A notable exception was Detroit (which is about half-way between the meridians of eastern time and central time), which kept local time until 1900, then tried Central Standard Time, local mean time, and Eastern Standard Time before a May 1915 ordinance settled on EST and was ratified by popular vote in August 1916. The confusion of times came to an end when Standard zone time was formally adopted by the U.S. Congress on March 19, 1918, in the Standard Time Act.

    Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

    Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

    Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

    Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

    The Sunday Talking Heads:

    Up with Chris Hayes: Joining Chris this AM are Tom Ricks, author of “The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today” and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security; David Frum (@davidfrum), CNN Contributor; Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman), Wired senior reporter; Heather McGhee (@hmcghee), Demos vice president; Tara McElvey, Newsweek/Daily Beast correspondent; Julian Sanchez (@normative), Cato Institute research fellow; Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer), executive director of Jerusalem Fund & the Palestine Center; Noura Erakat (@4noura), the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Refugee & Residency Rights; Raymond Castillo, Warehouse Workers United member; and Greg Fletcher, Walmart retail worker.

    This Week with George Stephanopolis: Guests on “This Week” are House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Peter King (R-NY); and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI).

    The roundtable guests are House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-CA); former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and ABC News’ George Will, Donna Brazile and Jonathan Karl.

    Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) & Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

    His panel guests are Tom Ricks, author of “The Generals,” David Ignatius of the Washington Post, and CBS News’ Margaret Brennan and Bob Orr.  

    The Chris Matthews Show: This weeks’s panel guests are Sam Donaldson, ABC Reporter; Jodi Kantor, New York Times; Katty Kay BBC Washington Correspondent; and Dan Rather, HDNet Global Correspondent.

    Meet the Press with David Gregory: Guests on MTP are Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC); Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); and Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI).

    The roundtable guests are  Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID); NY Times columnist Tom Friedman; fmr. White House Chief of Staff for President Clinton, John Podesta; GOP strategist Mike Murphy; and NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

    State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are : Ranking Democrat Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO); Chairman of Mitt Romney’s Hispanic Steering Committee, Carlos Gutierrez.

    Her panel guests are Jackie Calmes of The New York Times, Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal and CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.

    What’s Cooking: Fried Turkey

    For the more daring and adventurous cooks

    Republished from November 23, 2010 for obvious timely reasons.

    By now you should have defrosted that frozen turkey and it should be resting comfortably in the back of you refrigerator. If you haven’t, getteth your butt to the grocery store and buy a fresh one because even if you start defrosting today, your bird might not be defrosted in time. I discussed the how to cook your bird to perfection in a conventional oven, now for a method that’s a little daring, deep frying.

    Alton Brown, is one of my favorite TV cooks. Good Eats funny and informative, plus, his recipes are easy and edible. I’ve done fried turkey and while I don’t recommend it for health reasons, once a year probably wont hurt. Alton’s “how to” videos are a must watch on safety tips, how to choose a turkey fryer, equipment and, finally, cooking directions. If you decide to try this, please follow all directions carefully and take all the safety precautions.

    Below the fold are recipes and more safety tips.

    Bon Apetite

    What’s Cooking: Turkey Technology

    I can’t believe it’s that time already.

    Republished from November 20, 2010 for obvious timely reasons.

    I never went to cooking school or took home economics in high school, I was too busy blowing up the attic with my chemistry set. I did like to eat and eat stuff that tasted good and looked pretty, plus my mother couldn’t cook to save her life let alone mine and Pop’s, that was her mother’s venue. So I watched learned and innovated. I also read cook books and found that cooking and baking where like chemistry and physics. I know, this is Translator’s territory, but I do have a degree in biochemistry.

    Cooking a turkey is not as easy as the directions on the Butterball wrapping looks. My daughter, who is the other cook in the house (makes the greatest breads, soups and stews) is in charge of the Turkey for the big day. Since we have a house full of family and friends, there are four, yeah that many, 13 to 15 pound gobblers that get cooked in the one of the two ovens of the Viking in the kitchen and outside on the covered grill that doubles as an oven on these occasions. Her guru is Alton Brown, he of Good Eats on the Food Network. This is the method she has used with rave reviews. Alton’s Roast Turkey recipe follows below the fold. You don’t have to brine, the daughter doesn’t and you can vary the herbs, the results are the same, perfection. My daughter rubs very soft butter under the skin and places whole sage leaves under the skin in a decorative pattern, wraps the other herbs in cheese cloth and tucks it in the cavity. If you prefer, or are kosher, canola oil works, too.

    Bon Appetite and Happy Thanksgiving