30 January 2008

The Book Meme

Linda over at Are We There Yet has passed along a meme for one of my great passions: Books. If you love them as much I do, feel free to steal and share your favorites. The only bad thing about this oh so individual meme is that you have to narrow it down to one book in each category. For a reader that is almost inhuman punishment, so I cheat in a couple of places, but here I go.

The Book Meme

One book that changed your life:

The Bumper Book. It was the very first book I read all by myself the Christmas before I turned three. I was one of those fortunate children for whom those odd symbols made pictures in my head and took me to another world. Relatives learned rapidly that when I was reading, you had to shake me to get my attention because I was living somewhere else. The funniest was laying on a couch waiting for my aunt the nurse to give me a shot. When the book was finally put down, I went to ask when she was going to do it, and she answered "an hour ago".

One book that you have read more than once:

There are probably at least 50 books that I regularly reread, so a favorite is impossible. One that I always close with a smile of satisfaction is James Michner's "Hawaii". The first reading was in 1959 or 1960 when it first was published. This was the book that introduced me to stories that combined with phenominal research make true historical fiction such a constant joy and sometimes conveys a "truth" that just perusing reality never quite conveys.

One book that you would want on a desert island:

Given my technical expertise, I probably won't live long enough to get much reading done, but just to try surviving for awhile before the pretty luxury cruise ship showed up: Robinson Crusoe or The Swiss Family Robinson

One book that made you laugh:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and all of its sequels by Douglas Adams. If you love tongue in cheek, quirky British humor, these are the books for you. Try not to read in crowded public places. People get very nervous around others who suddenly shriek out loud and clutch their stomachs while tears of laughter streak down their face. Read it a couple of times while indoors before you take it outside.

One book that made you cry:

Many books over the years have brought tears to my eyes when the characters who have become friends face various trials and tragedies, but the one time crying was funny was while working the all night shift as a phone company operator. After midnight the four of us would take over information as well as our usual long distance. We often got students with homework, all sorts of emergencies and the spelling challenged looking for a place or name. In the wee hours the group would chat or read waiting for the next buzz of incoming call. That is where I was the first time I read The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and got to the point where Gandalf fell to his death in the clutches of the Balrog. Adult women with a home, husband, and children do not suddenly moan out loud

One book you wish you'd written:

This honor goes to Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet which is technically four books. It deals with the British raj in India from it's inception to the time of Ghandi. The people and themes still echo today in India, Pakistan, and the Muslim countries of the Middle East. You almost can't read a page without drifting to your daily newspaper for some current fall out to events back then. Plus, I would really love to go to India and these books are likely as close as I will ever get.

One book you wish had never been written:

Strangely enough none. Just as I would never want to see a book destroyed, so I would never wish even the most foul out of existence. They are all the product of the human mind in all its evil and glory. That evil or glory would exist whether or not the book ever happened and sometimes a truly horrid book can point the way to the people who need to be stopped from inflicting their poison on the world.

One book you're reading:

I'm finishing up with my current trip into British history The Lion and the Unicorn and will shortly head into the wild west one more time with "Doc Holliday"

One book you're going to read:

I have promised myself for years that I would finally get around to all 12 novels of Anthony Powell's "A Dance to the Music of Time". That procrastination is about to come to an end as a copy of "Spring" containing the first three novels has finally entered the house and is the next work of fiction to be attacked.

Now I am going to add one more category for comment. We often complain that the movie, mini series, or play just doesn't measure up to the book. Name a book or books where you think the transition to screen or stage was actually well done and why. With books that have more than one version (i.e. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory), which version was you favorite.
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. The letters between two book lovers is a reader's paradise and the movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft actually captures most of that joy thanks to two great actors who were able to make characters separated by 3000 miles of ocean into a love affair.

29 January 2008

Ask Not - Don't Ask

Lately, I've been staying away from politics because it creates so much dissention between otherwise truly wonderful people. With the primary season fully underway and feeling as depressed about it as I am, it was time to say something.

Eight years ago, I complained to a very far right Republican friend, that it seemed as if a coterie of very powerful Republicans with a lot of money and the full cooperation of the media had gathered around one person, sucked all the oxygen out of the election, and canonized the nominee without any chance for the people to vote their preference among the candidates other than as a side show.

With this election, the same thing seems to have happened. Whatever your attitudes about Hillary Clinton, the constant barrage of slanted, noisy, hateful coverage particularly on MSNBC topped off with the lie about why Bill Clinton mentioned Jesse Jackson (HINT: he was asked about the role of the black vote in South Carolina in the part of the conversation you don't see in the clip), followed by the Ted Kennedy endorsement with virtually no mention that RFK's children had endorsed Clinton just as JFK's children had gone for Obama. For the senior Kennedy to do this before Super Tuesday was a hideous abuse of political power.

The media that has almost totally sidelined John Edwards has now made their move to try to eliminate Clinton from consideration. Their new darling for change has been nominated, elected, and sworn in with a fake innaugural speech. Once more the population is being herded like sheep in one direction without benefit of real information or chance to express their desires. Given the election eight years ago and the way the election is going this year, one can imagine a day when the voting booth will no longer be necessary.

Just to expand the subject on the real differences between JFK and BHO, here is an excellent editorial in the Washington Monthly

28 January 2008

Wishes Are Children - Manic Monday

You made my life so easy this week. Stephen Sondheim wrote about what comes after Happily Ever After when you dare to go Into The Woods. Be careful what you wish for because wishes can come true.

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn
To learn what to be
Careful before you say "Listen to me"
Children will listen

Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free
Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen

27 January 2008

In January of 1888 the National Geographic Society was founded with the first magazine being issued in October of that year. At one time or another we have seen the brilliant yellow stripe of that which earlier generations, long before Playboy, found the opportunity to see bare breasted women in photographs. Over the past 119 years, the society has funded expeditions, performed research, and provided a passport to the world for those unable to depart for such wild adventure.

As the world has changed, so have the National Geographic Society. From that small group of 200 subscribers of the magazine, they now have a circulation of more than six million in many languages world wide and millions more through the internet and the National Geographic cable TV channel. Now it is possible for the average person to go on expedition with the society rather than one more visit to a quiet lake or simply attend one of the great Society sponsored motion pictures such as "March of the Penguins". Today you can purchase wonderful photographs, engage in coversation with other lovers of the natural sciences, Pursue the ways the environment is threatened, and follow along with arguments over discoveries and theories.

Because I can never wander too far from theater, Rag Time actually had a small vignette of the Robert Peary and Matthew Henson expedition sponsored by the Society that reached the North Pole in 1909. Enjoy the opening number to an incredible musical.

25 January 2008

Burns Night

Burns night is celebrated annually on January 25, in honor of Robert Burns birth. The dinners and celebrations have become so popular that more favored locations and clubs spread the attendance over two nights.

In honor of the occasion, my favorite Robert Burns song. In every joy there is the potential for heartbreak. The image evoked by the words have been echoed by many singers and writers of song ... Never met, nor never parted, we would never be broken hearted.

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever
Ae farewell, and then forever
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.

Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him
Me nae cheerful twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.

I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy:
Nothing could resist my Nancy
But to see her was to love her
Love but her, and love for ever.

Had we never loe'd sae kindly,
Had we never loe'd sae blindly,
Never met - nor never parted -
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever
Ae farewell, alas, for ever
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.

News? What News?

It doesn't matter who will get your vote in November. This is a complaint about the media covering the election. Right now they are concentrating on the slap down between Clinton and Obama, but they veer off to McCain, Romney and Giuliani as necessary.

If you missed the spitting and hissing between the candidates, it was probably because you were obsessing over the tragic death of a young actor or wondering if Brittney actually made it into the courtroom.

What you don't hear every 15 minutes is the news.

In all this uproar over the squabble in the playpen, has anyone seen any mention of the bombing in Mosul with the reported 20 dead and over 70 injured? You haven't? We have three 24 hour news stations, you would think they would mention that the death toll is now over 35 and today the chief of police and two other officers were killed as well.

Oh I forgot. That would be news, and you have to go to the BBC to find that sort of thing, but they're a bunch of furriners and probably can't be trusted to talk about the important things.


24 January 2008

Lift Your Glasses

On this day in history, the First Canned Beer Went on Sale

Given his sense of humor I'm sure Sir Winston Churchill would have laughed at the fact that this was the month and day that he died. The biographies of his life fill bookcases. The products of his pen fill many more shelves, which probably explains that Nobel Prize in Literature. His paintings sell more for the artist's name than expertise, but for a guy who spent a great deal of his life trying to save the Western World, they aren't bad. The space required for a biography would take way to many pages, just click on anything that interests you and charge your glasses and lift a toast to one of history's truly great men.

The amount of blue in this article just might indicate an interesting life, particularly when you consider that movies, mini series, and books have been made about almost all of them.

30 Nov 1874 Winston Churchill was born in Oxfordshire in England at Blenheim Palace. He was the son of a prominent Tory politician, Lord Randolph Churchill and American born Jennie Jerome and descendant of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

1897 Winston Churchill saw action with the Malakand field force, a description of which he later published in 'The Story of the Malakand Field Force'.

1898 Winston Churchill saw action with the Nile Expeditionary Force, a British mission to relieve Major-General Charles George Gordon at Khartoum, where he famously fought hand-to-hand against the Dervishes.

1900 Winston Churchill was elected as the Conservative MP for Oldham.

1906 Winston Churchill moved from the Conservatives to the Liberals.

13 Jan 1915 Winston Churchill presents plan for an assault on Dardanelles.

19 Feb 1915 Allied amphibious attack began on the Dardanelles and Gallipoli initiated by Winston Churchill, who later resigns as a consequence.

1917 Winston Churchill was appointed Lloyd George's minister of munitions and was involved in the mass production of tanks, believed to have played a large part in Britain's victory in World War II.

1919 Winston Churchill became secretary of state for war and air (until 1921).

1921 Winston Churchill becomes British Minister of Colonies.

1924 Winston Churchill became Chancellor of the Exchequer.

1933 Winston Churchill wants to boost Britain's air defense.

19 May 1939 Winston Churchill signs British-Russian anti-Nazi pact.

10 May 1940 Neville Chamberlain resigns and is succeeded by Winston Churchill as British Prime Minister (until 1945).

1940 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill says of the Royal Air Force, 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few'.

1940 British Premier Winston Churchill flies to Paris in France.

1940 British Premier Winston Churchill returns to London from Paris

1940 Winston Churchill says 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.

1940 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill urges perseverance so that future generations would remember that 'this was their finest hour'.

1941 Atlantic Charter signed by Franklin D Roosavelt and Winston Churchill.

1941 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrives in Washington for a wartime conference.

1941 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill becomes the first British PM to address a joint meeting of the US Congress, warning that the Axis would 'stop at nothing'.

1942 Premier Churchill and General Marshall fly to Florida.

14 Jan 1943 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, French General de Gaulle and US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt meet in Casablanca concerning WWII.

1943 Roosevelt, Churchill and Chiang Kai-shek meet to discuss ways to defeat Japan.

1943 Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met at Tehran to map out strategy.

1944 Eisenhower, Montgomery, Churchill and George VI discuss the D-Day plan.

1944 US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill meet in Canada at the 2nd Quebec Conference.

1944 Winston Churchill and Geneal de Gaulle begin a 2-day wartime conference in Marrakesh.

Feb 1945 Yalta agreement signed by Franklin D Roosavelt, Churchill and Stalin. The Summit ratifies a divided postwar Europe.

26 Jul 1945 Winston Churchill resigns and Clement Atlee succeeds him as British Prime Minister (until 1951).

1945 Premier Winston Churchill visits Montgomery's headquarter in Straelen.

Mar 1946 Winston Churchill proclaims an 'iron curtain' has come down across Europe in a speech at Fulton in the USA.

19 Sep 1946 Winston Churchill calls for a "kind of United States of Europe" in a speech he gives at the Zurich University.

14 May 1947 Fostered by Winston Churchill, the United Europe Movement is created. It is hostile to supranational organs and in favour of an intergovernmental cooperation.

1948 Winston Churchill visits The Hague.

1951 Follwing a Conservative victory, Winston Churchill becomes Bitish Prime Minister for the second time (until 1955).

1952 Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that Britain has its own atomic bomb.

1953 Winston Churchill criticizes John Foster Dulles domino theory.

Humor Break

1953 Winston Churchill knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

1955 Winston Churchill resigns and Anthony Eden succeeds him as British Prime Minister (until 1957).

1963 Winston Churchill becomes the first honorary US citizen when President Kennedy honours him with citizenship.

1964 British general election. Winston Churchill does not see re-election as a memeber of parliment, so effectively retires from politics.

24 Jan 1965 Winston Churchill dies at his home at 28 Hyde Park Gate in London, aged 90, from the after effects of a stroke that he experienced earlier in January.

30 Jan 1965 The state funeral of Winston Churchill is held. First funeral attended by a British Monarch for a person other than a family member.

Churchill Painting of his home Chartwell

23 January 2008


If you are not aware of the wonderful work being done by Shelly of This Eclectic Life for Share A Square, today's post is important because in addition to sick children, it now opens the project up to wounded soldiers.

If you crochet or know someone who does, this simple act can bring comfort and joy to those in hospitals across the country and spreading world wide.

This is one of those simple acts of kindness that can mean so much to the recipient and I hope you will participate.

22 January 2008

Mother Country

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1901 of Great Britain's longest reigning monarch: Queen Victoria. Born in in 1819, she began her reign in 1837 and served her nation for almost 64 years. Others sometimes minimize the role of the monarchy in the actual running of Britain, but only because they minimize the importance of tradition, a long view of history, and moral authority in relation to the government that has history on its side. Britain seems to have been unusually blessed in it's great queens even more than its kings.

If you go on line to Google Victoria there are only about eight million references. I've linked two of these above. The number of books, plays and motion pictures about her reign, her associates, developments while she was on the throne, and major historical events are too numerous to count.

Throughout her life she was assisted by some of the most able men of the age in both her personal and public life. Of deepest importance was the vision and dedication of her husband Prince Albert who was lost too soon and mourned for the remainder of her life. In her public life two giants, William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, warred for power and her attention and are now covered together in a new book: The Lion and The Unicorn which takes it's title from a nursery rhyme.

The Lion and the Unicorn

The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown
The lion beat the unicorn all around the town.
Some gave them white bread, and some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum cake and drummed them out of town.

These two men so vastly different in background and personality between them managed to create the British Empire that had maps of the world covered pink until well after WW II. Even today the residual of the Victorian Age is felt in the worldwide forms of language and government, though the Empire itself has passed away.

21 January 2008

Love In The Sun - Manic Monday

Mo has declared the word of the week to be "DATE". I told you about the time I dated a tree from Disneyland. Then there was my first kiss if not exactly a date with Hugh O'Brien since cash changed hands (for charity). I may have discussed in passing the boy who fell over his bicycle after a kiss at the end of a date, and just a couple of days ago, there was commemoration of an important date that must be honored annually. So being a Californian by birth, I need to tell you about all the X-rated goings on required to produce dates, where one lucky male can have up to fifty girlfriends and no one complains, but he does need help:

Dates are naturally wind pollinated, but in modern commercial horticulture are pollinated manually. Natural pollination requires about an equal number of male and female plants. However, with assistance one male can pollenize up to 50 females. Since the males are of value only as pollenizers as the female gets custody of the children, this allows the growers to use their resources for many more fruit producing female plants. Some growers do not even maintain any male plants as male flowers become available at local markets at pollination time.

The Romance and Sex Life of the Date

Just to get you in the mood for a date in the desert: Ahab The Arab

Then there is one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles to go on a date where you can find one of Fatima's more talented dancing sisters. While consuming wonderful morroccan goodies, don't forget to dine on a date.

Dar Maghreb

20 January 2008

My Fellow Americans

Take A breather folks. Super Tuesday won't arrive until next month. In the meantime, please note that not a darn thing has changed.

WILL ROGERS - My Favorite Son

Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?

Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.

On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.

Our constitution protects aliens, drunks and U.S. Senators.

There ought to be one day-- just one-- when there is open season on senators.

There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.

The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that's out always looks the best.

18 January 2008

For Children A Very Good Year

Busy day so this one will be really short. On this day in 1882, A. A. Milne was born. Thanks to that event, millions of children have spent hours with Christopher Robin and Winnie The Poo strolling through the Hundred Acre Wood. You may be all grown up now, but just for a few minutes, take the time to visit the House at Pooh Corner.

And listen to Christopher Robin saying his prayers.

17 January 2008

Momentous Events

Today is January 17. On this day in history: Wanda Louise was born. Now you might wonder why this is important. It's urgent because I have something imperative to do that I have done every year of my life since I was first able to talk. I gotta call Wandy and let her know that she is decidedly over the hill.

Once upon a time, she wasn't so elderly. That's her on the right and me on the left with her mother, my Aunt Helen, in between. It was summer so we were the same age, but she got to be that age six weeks before I did, which is why she is so elderly today and I won't be an equally ancient crone until March 2. At the end of WWII our mothers were living together while our fathers were busy elsewhere. They teased about having twins, but my mom never did anything as arranged unlike her definitely more well behaved older sister, and for going on 64 years as only children in our respective families, Wanda and I have been like sisters.

Therefor in honor of being almost sisters, and me being the baby (gotta love me), I get to make her life an unrelieved hell and she forgives me because, once again, I'm the baby (gotta love me). So this morning I will call her before any decent person has opened their eyes to the light of day. She will groan as we immediately slip into all the aggravations and hilarities of the past 64 years (except for the first six weeks while she was getting older by the second that I missed because I'm the baby and you have to love me).

Happy birthday Wandy. May you always and forever be older than I am because January 17 wouldn't be any fun at all without you.

15 January 2008

Whistle My Love

Our intrepid Mo Show Movie Critic & Mommy Blogger Neila returns to co-host this week's show on Romantic Comedies. Tune in live Wednesday @ 7pm Easternto The Mo Show on Blog Talk Radio

The above message arrived in my email and immediately started me down the road of every romantic movie that caused me to adore the leading man for at least two hours of my life. It started a wonderful trip down memory lane to the very first man who made me sigh and play a theme song for ages afterwards. Whistle My Love was sung by the gentleman below as Robin Adair while Robin and Marian walked through the forest.

Richard Todd was in the Disney live version of Robin Hood when I was eight years old. He went on to two more Disney films as Rob Roy and Charles Brandon in The Sword and The Rose. The dance scene with Glynis Johns would make any girlish heart beat faster. Then there was the good cry at the end of the 20th Century Fox film, A Man Called Peter. I even caught up with some great black and white films: The Hasty Heart and Dambusters. Mr. Todd set the mold. Ever since then it has been slender men with dark, slightly curly hair who looked good on a dance floor.

So who was your very first cinematic crush? Spill the beans here in comments and then tune in to the Mo Show wednesday night to share it with the world.

14 January 2008

Poo Pumper

In honor of the Tuesday caucuses and primaries, and no matter who you support leading up to November, you know you need to sign up for Poo Pumper service.

Fifty years ago, Al Capp knew what we still know today: The Country's In The Very Best of Hands

Manic Monday Carnival

13 January 2008

Avoiding The Dungeon

There is a political commentary in here somewhere, but I will leave it to the commenters to comment on what it might be. I was just trying to stay out of shackles and off the rack.

Her most exalted majesty, Queen Mimi of the Pencil Skirt and Bloggingham Palace has issued a proclamation naming certain of her citizens to produce "The Band Meme". This lowly subject has created the image above. If she had only known how little I know about the Paint Program, she would have been a shade more merciful than to threaten me with THE DUNGEON.

Here are the instructions as received:
The Band Meme
Here's how it goes. You are about to have your own band's CD cover. Follow these directions to the letter. It's fun and requires no thought at all. Go to......

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result as a comment in this post.
5. Tag others to carry on the meme.
I will not name others other than to say, the results can be very surprising and a whole lot of fun.

11 January 2008

Penny Lane and Liverpool Oratorio

In writing the article about "Eleanor Rigby", I mentioned the "Beatles Walk". There are several guided tours that you can take to see boyhood homes, schools, and early performance spaces of the Beatles. In addition, there is The Beatles Story a touristy but fascinating venue for all things Beatle.

One of the places on the walk is Penny Lane. Recently there was a movement to change all the names of streets in Liverpool that honored the personages and ships that had been involved in the slave trade. This was an early source of wealth for Liverpool, but the city council wanted to excise all city traces of this early history. This included renaming Penny Lane.

Fortunately, mainly through "The Beatles Story" and Beatles fans world wide, Penny lane will remain a fixture both in fact and story, but the early information about its slave trade origins will now be included in the information.

Discussion in emails also led to some wanting information about McCartney's classical music creations. The first one was "Liverpool Oratorio" that is biographical at its base. There is a wonderful PBS documentary about the means of creation since he had no background in writing scores for multiple instruments and voices. While somewhat simplistic in its melodies, the piece is quite beautiful and dramatic. It was commissioned for the 150th anniversary of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and featured Kiri Te Kanawa as one of the soloists. McCartney has since followed this work with three more classical creations. We will get around to the poems and paintings later. He is a very, very busy beatle.

There are several articles describing or analyzing Paul McCartney's first attempt at a classical work. Among them Wikipedia, the CD Program Notes, and the Brittanica article. The work itself is available on CD and on the Great Performances debut on DVD. At the Amazon site, you will find his later classical works such as Standing Stone and Ecce Cor Meum as well.

Kiri Te Kanawa, Jerry Hadley and chorus singing "Save The Child" from The Liverpool Oratorio

10 January 2008


You can't write about New Orleans without starting to dream about Beignets or Bananas Foster. If your New Year's Resolution had anything to do with dieting:


Creole Doughnuts

1/2 cup boiling water
2 tbsp. shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 egg, beaten
3 3/4 cups silted flour (approximately)
Confectioners sugar


Cooking Instructions:
Pour boiling water over shortening, sugar and salt.
Add milk and let stand until warm.
Dissolve yeast n warm waater and add to milk mixture with the beaten egg.
Stir in 2 cups flour. Beat Add enough flour to make a soft dough.
Place in a greased bowl; grease top of dough, cover with waxed paper and a cloth; chill until ready to use.
Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness.
Do not let dough rise before frying.
Cut into squares and fry, a few at a time, in deep hot fat (360 F); brown on one side, turn and brown on other.
Drain on absorbent paper.
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
Yields 2 1/2 dozen

Bananas Foster
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup banana liqueur
4 bananas, cut in half
lengthwise, then halved
¼ cup dark rum
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.

09 January 2008

Let The Good Times Roll

While checking out all the info about the 12 days of Christmas, I learned about the period and customs of Christmastide. I actually thought that brought an end to the carousing that goes on from Thanksgiving through 12th Night. Hey guess what? The party is only getting off the ground

Twelfth Night is the first day of Carnival which finally ends with "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras and brings us all to that well earned period of fasting and self sacrifice better known as Lent. You then get 46 days to contemplate your sins and various falls from grace that might have occured during the preceding tribute to Saturnalia, better known as "Hey! Honey! What will YOU do for a fist full of glass beads?"

So don't pack up those 12th Night costumes yet. There are more parties yet to come and survive before we get around to cooking the Pancakes and changing into sackcloth and ashes to await the Easter sunrise.

Perhaps the cities most famous for the Mardi Gras celebrations include Venice, Italy; Mobile, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Many other places have important Mardi Gras celebrations as well. Carnival is an important celebration in most of Europe, except in England where they merely eat pancakes, and in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

In tribute to NOLA rising from the floods of Destruction: Harry Connick, Jr. with
Here Comes The Big Parade

08 January 2008

It May Take An Intervention

Yesterday was just like almost every day. The PBS channel was playing beautiful music while displaying pretty pictures. Passing by in the midst of handling laundry, I heard the words "Eleanor Rigby statue" Wha???? Statue???? One of my favorite Beatles songs has its own statue????

By now you all know what is going happen. Me and my computer are going to take one of our "gotta know everything about everything" manic trips ... but, but, but there's housework so I'll just do a simple image search and here she is:

I can stop now. Right? Fat chance!!! Was the song based on the statue ... the statue on the song? Okay, I'll just look at the article about her. The sculpter's name is Tommy Steele and the rumor is that he sold her to the city for "half a sixpence". Say what?! THE Tommy Steele, British rocker, star of many musicals? One of those musicals was Half A Sixpence. Who knew? He's a sculptor?

Okay, it will only take a moment to sneak over to You Tube for "Flash, Bang, Wallop!"

Well I'll just leave you all here. There is still that matter about the objects inside the statue and all the other sites on the "Beatles Walking Tour" and, and, and ... If you don't hear from me again soon, send a rescue party.

07 January 2008

One~~Manic Monday

Today is the One Year Manic Monday Anniversary.

This ONEderful meme has been brought to us by none other than the ONE of a kind MO of the one and only "It's A Blog Eat Blog World".

In honor of his creation, I give you that singular sensation: MO

One singular sensation, every little step he takes
One thrilling combination, every move that he makes

One smile and suddenly nobody else will do
You know you'll never be lonely with you-know-who

One moment in his presence and you can forget the rest
For the boy is second best to none, son

Oooh! Sigh! Give him your attention
Do I really have to mention

He's the one

Photoshopped images created by Janna

06 January 2008

Twelfth Night

King of 12th Night

The Milkmaids, Lords, Ladies,and all the musicians have gathered together in the great hall for the masked ball. The guests have helped to remove the Christmas decorations. The gold rings and other jewelry are sparkling and unfortunately for them, the birds are roasting on a spit somewhere. It is the 12th night of Christmastide. The great cake has been served and the bean and pea have been found to select the King and Queen of the revels. Let the dancing begin, because honey it is time to PARTY!!

Twelfth night was a time of revels, disguise, pagentry, and performance. Plays were written just for this one evening. Even Shakespeare got into the act in 1601 with "Twelfth Night" a comedy of accident and errors with lots of ribald tongue-in-cheek jokes when you consider that a boy actor is pretending to be a girl who is pretending to be a boy while falling in love with a man who has fallen in love with a neighbor lady who has her eye on the girl/boy/girl until a brother believed to be drowned pops up to add to the confusion ... it is one hilarious tangle of a play.

I am all the daughters of my father's house, And all the brothers too.
(Twelfth Night, 2. 4 )

During the 18th century, it was considered one of the best times to get married with a wedding on Epiphany (January 6) with the revels the night before since guests normally stayed over due to travel distances. If you happen to bump into George and Martha Washington or Thomas and Martha Jefferson do wish them a happy anniversary.

Prior to her marriage to George, Martha Dandridge Custis was one of the wealthiest women in America and renowned as a hostess. As a widow with an independent fortune, she was quite a catch for George. One of her creations was the great cake for 12th Night. Once she married him she not only had one of the best dancers in the colonies at her disposal but he gave her access to the largest distillery in America, so you know the Wassail and punch bowls were spiked.

Original Recipe
"Take 40 eggs and divide the whites from the yolks and beat them to a froth. Then work 4 pounds of butter to a cream and put the whites of eggs to it, a Spoon full at a time till it is well work'd. Then put in the Youlks [sic] of eggs and 5 pounds of flower [sic] add 5 pounds of fruit. Add to it half an ounce of mace and nutmeg, half a point [sic] of win [sic] and some frensh [sic] brandy. Two hours will bake it. "

Adapted Recipe
10 eggs
1 pound butter
1 pound sugar
1 1/4 pounds (20 ounces) flour
1 1/4 pounds (20 ounces) fruit
2 1/2 teaspoons ground mace
2/ 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 ounces wine
2 ounces French brandy
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Separate egg whites from yolks and set yolks aside. Beat eggs whites to the "soft peak" stage. Cream butter. Slowly add the beaten egg whites, one spoonful at a time, to the butter. Add sugar slowly to egg whites and butter — again, one spoonful at a time. Add egg yolks. Add flour, slowly. Add fruit.

Since Mrs. Washington would have used anything that was seasonable or available dried, and since nuts were considered a fruit, for this adapted version use the following:

5 ounces of pear, peeled, cored and diced (about 1 large pear)
9 1/2 ounces of apple, peeled, cored and diced (about 2 medium-to-large apples)
3 1/2 ounces of raisins
2 ounces sliced almonds (about 1/2 cup)

After fruit is added, add ground mace and nutmeg, wine and brandy. You can use cream sherry and other sorts of wine. Madeira, one of George Washington's favorites, would certainly be an appropriate choice. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch springform cake pan. Put batter into pan and place in oven. Bake for about 75 minutes. When done, remove cake from oven and cool.

18th-Century Icing Recipe
Taken from one of Martha Washington's cookbooks

"Take two pound of double refin'd Sugar, beat and sift it very fine, and likewise beat and sift a little Starch and mix with it, then beat six Whites of Eggs to Froth, and put to it some Gum-Water. The Gum must be steep'd in Orange-flower-water, then mix and beat all these together two Hours, and put on your Cake: when it is baked, set it in the Oven again to harden a quarter of a Hour, take great care it is not discolour'd. When it is drawn, ice it over the Top and Sides, take two pound of double refin'd Sugar beat and sifted, and the Whites of three Eggs beat to a Froth, with three or four Spoonfuls of Orange-flower-water, and three Grains of Musk and Amber-grease together: put all these in a Stone Mortar, and beat these till it is as white as Snow, and with a Brush or Bundle of Feathers, spread it all over the Cake, and put it in the Oven to dry; but take Care the Oven does not discolor it. When it is cold paper it and it will keep good five or six weeks."

Adapted Recipe
Beat for 3 minutes:
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons 4X sugar (confectioner's sugar)
Repeat additions of sugar until you have used 1 1/2 cups
Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons orange-flower water

Directions: Beat until the icing is stiff enough to stay parted when cut through with a knife. Smooth it onto the top and sides of a cake. Let it dry and harden in a 200-degree oven for 1 hour. (Note: Icing will be brittle and will shatter when you cut into the cake. Don't be surprised when this happens

For a description of Christmastide and 12th Night festivities and locations in America where they are still celebrated, you can visit HERE.

The other great party tradition is the Wasail Bowl. For the recipe and traditions, turn HERE, and some more 12th night party ideas and traditions are HERE. You may want to schedule one of your own next year.

Hugh Jackman - For One Night Only

Once More Before I Go

Costume and Mask

Here' mine. What are you wearing?