lördag, augusti 09, 2008

A Method of Escape: Cabin Weekend

If you're looking for a political screed, you've come to the wrong blog. We're getting the hell out of here for 24 hours. Time for a visit to the cabin, take in a little lakeside air, drink some tea--we're even leaving the wine in St. Paul--and enjoy a little fireside chat.

And we're going to live like the beasts of the forest (the people, that is): we're going to grill our dinner.

Corn on the cob, bell peppers, zucchini, walleye (grilled over fennel stalks and brushed with chive/rosemary butter), and some other things, I think.

Sunday morning will bring a trip to Katty Shack, where they serve the best and biggest pancake I've ever encountered.

Super tasty weekend.

And who knows? That casino in Turtle Lake is on the way home. I've got a $20 bill in my pocket and it's calling to the Loch Ness game. See you on Millionaire's Row!

torsdag, augusti 07, 2008

Bad Medicine

Dairy Queen is donating the proceeds from all sales of its popular Blizzard product today to Children's Miracle Network. They call it Miracle Treat Day.

Yes, it's a nice idea. But isn't it a bit strange to tag a medical research donation to such an unhealthy product? "Welcome to Dairy Queen! Enjoy your diabetes." Very few of even the small Blizzards fall below 600 calories. Yes, you can survive it, but you know exactly why they want you there today: like meth, you'll be hooked.

You already are hooked. It's encoded in your DNA. Resist!


I found myself in a similar dilemma yesterday when at Target to buy some printer paper. There was a green-wrapped HP pack with a 50 cents-higher price. I had thought maybe that meant some post-consumer recycled content.

Alas: no.

Target does not carry that product from HP. At least, last night it didn't. Maybe HP doesn't even manufacture that product. (I don't recall what brand I've bought at OfficeMax. All I know is I was about out and needed more.) Turns out: HP slaps on green packaging, increases the price 12.5%, but donates 20% of profit on the product to the Arbor Day Foundation.

I did not like the one post-consumer recycled content paper they had on the shelf so decided in the end to go with the wasteful product that partially funds a good organization.

I might as well load up at the DQ, it seems. Perhaps resistance is futile?

onsdag, augusti 06, 2008

Rice = Nice

I paid a visit to FreeRice.com this morning to shake awake my half-asleep brain--half-asleep for I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and just stayed awake, eventually ambulating to the low-light environment off the kitchen for a little editing work at 5:30 a.m., if only to give my open eyes something to do.

Now, coffee before me, I remembered FreeRice: a site at which you take vocabulary tests, and for each word you get right (you've a one in four chance each time), 20 more grains of rice are donated in food-starved places around the world.

No registration is needed. No fees. Just you and the words and some sponsors willing to cover the cost of the rice donations.

Best word I remembered correctly: bumbershoot (umbrella)
Best word I guessed correctly: axilla (armpit)

Give it a try.

tisdag, augusti 05, 2008

Why I Oughta...

...never make another type of pizza other than THIS.

I've written about this particular pizza before. I was right then, and I'm right now. Well, the Muse was right. She's the one who found the recipe for Pizza Bianca with Goat Cheese and Greens.

I admit, I love thinking about the many other grand pizzas made here, such as this:

and this:

and this:

But the Pizza Bianca with Goat Cheese and Greens is just SO SO GOOD. Especially the crust. We hadn't made it in months, but with our good friend Kerrey in town from Little Rock we couldn't resist the excuse to indulge.

What the hell were we thinking taking so long to make this again!?

Everyone: please, please, please take that recipe and at least make the dough yours. It's well worth it.

fredag, augusti 01, 2008

The Life of Us

Over at the Country Mouse Tales, Claire posted an entry the other day in which she recognized some things she really likes about other blogs. That's something I ought to do more of. I'm certainly reading around enough.

Today I want to note how much of a joy it is to read The Life of Us...as much of it as I convince myself I understand. It's in Danish, and I've done a little study with the language. And there are enough similarities to the small amount of Swedish I know that I can puzzle out some things. When in doubt, and when dictionaries fail me, I turn to GramTrans for help.

The primary writer, Kathrine, used to do the Copenhagen Photo Blog and wrote in English. It was part of that photo-a-day ring from cities all over the world. She took wonderful shots. She still does, only now she uses them primarily on her family blog.

Kathrine and husband Mikkel (a musician) provide plenty of beautiful images from around the city and a number of short videos of their interactions with the real stars of the site: their young sons August and Alfred.

For my own druthers, it's rather nice to have the opportunity to listen to Danish. And Katharine's writing style is quite spirited (so far as I translate it!).

Her images of the city inspire me.

Copenhagen is one of the main cities of my heart. I've been there twice and know I'll go again. In the meantime, I've got The Life of Us to tide me over.

I recommend the images/entries here ("A Summer's Day in Copenhagen"), here ("Nyhavn," named for the neighborhood and canal) and here (because that hoodie rocks).



Perhaps it was the cooled air and celing fans giving my fellow joe drinkers the fits, or perhaps they'd all consumed something...fidgety the previous evening and felt a bit of an internal draft. Or maybe they were simply very excited to see another.

But as I sat in the coffee shop on Thursday morning entering article abstracts into a database and listening to a Pixies-heavy mix on my headphones, the people around me were outrageously expressive with one another. They shifted in their seats like Tom Arnold. They used their hands the way Italians are portrayed on commercials.

It was like sitting among mimes, and since I had headphones on, they might as well have been mouthing their words.


I was upbraided by an old man for saying "All's well," for this is apparently something one is not to say in certain company.

"Maybe you say that with your white friends," he said, "but you watch out in certain neighborhoods."

(He's black. He's also a friend, so this wasn't a random berating. It's actually quite characteristic of him to abruptly give a lecture on matters you'll seldom discover the reason for.)

He demonstrated a gang-like greeting gesture that looks something like giving an indigestive chest a single rap with a fist, then fanning open the fingers.

"All's well," he said as he did this.


I had thought I'd finally gained the edge on my father in reading Scandinavian mysteries; but alas, fresh from the 6-hour drive he and Mum took to visit, he walked in, saw the Håkan Nesser book I'm reading (The Return) and said, "I've read that."

"And Borkmann's Point?" I asked.


He went on to name a couple authors I haven't reached yet (Karin Fossum and Åsa Larsson, the latter of whom interests me for the Kiruna setting).

Back to the Scandi drawing board for me....


We are.