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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Springfield
Home country: Planet Earth
Member since: Mon Aug 9, 2004, 01:39 PM
Number of posts: 27,145

About Me

Angry and tired. And tired of being angry. Still in The Struggle.

Journal Archives

Looking for a different kind of beef stew recipe.

I have some stew meat but am kind of sick of the regular beef and potatoes stew, and my SO is sick of chili and spaghetti sauce. Anyone have any ideas on how to mix it up with stew beef? I'm thinking middle-eastern, Asian, maybe African. Why do you do when you want an off-beat beef stew?

I suppose the meal would have been fine IF

the school included a lesson on the history of soul food and racist black stereotypes as they were serving it. It's fine for us, as adults, to discuss regional and cultural food rationally after the fact. But the meal alone, presented to children as "black history," devoid of deeper social context, passes along racist imagery and stereotypes. That's the difference, Kitty.

My favorite lost library book story:

I work at a public library. A few years ago, I was boxing up donated books when I came across a deleted library book from the '60s or '70s. It was an art book, not a style that would appeal to my tastes, but a kind of coffee table tome. I was mostly interested in the old library markings flashing me back to my childhood: date stamps from actual rubber stamps! An old library logo!

As I was looking through it, the lead librarian walked by and saw me. She told me a woman had returned it a few days before, 30 years late. The woman was sincerely apologetic, wanted to pay whatever late fees were due, but explained (somewhat sheepishly) that she was a retired art teacher who had just loved the book too dearly to ever return it before. Now, moving into an assisted living situation and downsizing her home, she decided it was time to make amends and clear her good name.

The librarian listened to her story. Instead of chiding her in any way, or demanding exorbitant fines, she invited the woman to pay her dues to society instead by offering a free art class for the library's adult enrichment programming. The woman happily and gratefully agreed.

It was the perfect solution. A retiree is given an opportunity to serve her community, to again be of use, and to clean one "sin" off her slate. The community got a free art class through their library. I will always remember and admire that librarian's wisdom and grace in this instance.

I think this woman sounds like a realist.

She fully understands what these girls will be doing, but she also understands that some women will always do this because some women think it's their only option, or they're seeking a twisted form of acceptance, or they think they're out thrill-seeking - all blind to other possibilities for themselves and/or blind to what will become of them. I think she's being too hard on herself - what she's doing saves lives as surely as the people who address the female self-esteem and male exploitation issues that drive the industry. Pornography doesn't have a one-size-fits-all remedy, it has to be attacked from many directions before it will die. This woman is helping to ameliorate some pain in a brutal industry. That says a lot about her character and her mission. I applaud her and her work while acknowledging the other work needs to be done, too.

The media is liberal if defined as "relating to liberalism."

Liberalism, as in, "a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard." Assuming 90% of US media exists to make a profit, then they are indeed acting in a liberal manner.

It's precisely this interpretation of being liberal that made me stop calling myself a liberal and start describing myself as a progressive. I don't want there to be any ambiguity.

Moroccan roasted beets

Well, here's a recipe that was so good I absolutely had to share it with you all! I found it in a book that's part memoir/part cookbook called The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week) by Robin Mather.

Ms. Mather was the food critic for one of the big Chicago newspapers and didn't want to give up taste when she scaled down. Every recipe sounds amazing, but this one really caught my imagination and I made it yesterday. ZOMG!! SOOOOOOOO GOOD! Sweet and tangy and earthy - just amazing!

4-6 servings

2 lbs beets
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of course salt

Preheat oven to 400-degreeF.

Wash the beets and prepare them by trimming away all but a 1/2" of greens if they still have their leaves, and leaving them untrimmed if they don't. Don't worry about their root-end tails. Wrap the beets in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place the package on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the beets for 1-2 hours, until they are completely tender when pierced with a knife. Remove the beets from the oven; allow to cool. (itf note: I popped them in the oven when I woke up, baked for the 2 hours it took to get ready for work, then just let them cool in the oven all day.)

Skin the beets with a paring knife. Cut the beets into 1/2" dice and put into a bowl.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant but not yet brown. Add the cumin and continue to cook for 1 minute longer. Pour the hot oil over the beets. Toss the beets to coat them with the oil; add the lemon juice and salt and toss again.

Let the salad stand for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

Author note: The cumin in these beets plays up their earthines. They improve by standing at room temperature, covered, for up to 24 hours. After that, if there are any left, refrigerate them.

Excellent! As long as it's implemented with consideration to this:


By so narrowly defining useful landscapes, the craze to farmify our surroundings has made it all about humans. There’s nothing wrong with a utilitarian view of nature. The problem is that we are ignoring the utility of plants like wildflowers and native ornamentals in favor of imported fruit trees.

All around us, even in cities, there are natural processes at work that we depend on. Although largely overlooked, these “ecosystem services” are critical to the survival of our species.

Pollination is one such service. The transformation from flower to fruit does not happen in a vacuum. Plant sex requires an intermediary, in this case, wild bees. They do the work of spreading pollen from flower to flower — a sperm delivery service. (Though European honeybees were imported to pollinate our crops, our native wild bumblebees and other insects pollinate a significant portion, and may be more productive.)


A farm-filled landscape would undermine this critical ecological process. Bumblebees rely on wildflowers for a steady supply of pollen and nectar. But fruit trees bloom for only a few weeks a year. When forests and meadows are lost (to development or farming), places for bees to eat also disappear. These wild bees feed us, but we are not feeding them.

You are a Constitutional scholar?

You have top secret clearance and know every detail of the program to ensure it doesn't violate the Fourth Amendment? Because some version of this has always existed makes it a-ok legit?

Just because the government says something is legal doesn't mean it is legal or ethical and shouldn't be questioned. Please see historical precedent: US revolution from Great Britain, the end of slavery, the end of Jim Crow laws, the end of prohibition, the legalization of abortion, etc. Having other problems that need to be addressed does not negate the fact that this program also needs to be addressed.

Scary night! Came home from the movies to find cops in our driveway

because the dogs had gotten out and were barking at neighbors walking their dog! We never go out after dark and I think Honey must have just freaked the fuck out, jumped on our gate so much the latch twisted. We were about 5 minutes from home after the show when we got a call from one of our neighbors saying the dogs were out. Honey got a little pepper spray on her paw, and the cops said Bear was acting aggressively toward them - though knowing Bear, he was just probably scared as shit and barking like mad to protect the house. Five minute later and we could have had two shot dogs!

We were lucky to have other neighbors tell the cops we were responsible dog owners, our dogs were generally very friendly and this was a freak thing that they got out of the yard. Also, the people walking their dog said our dogs didn't attack so they aren't going to press charges. Still, it make me really nervous and scared about leaving them alone at night again, and of course, we have an engagement party to go to in a few weeks. Don't know what they hell we're going to do with them then.

And of course I have a job interview tomorrow. Like I'm going to get any frigging sleep tonight!

Almost every day.

I work at a library!

As such, I see many people who come to the library on a daily or weekly basis. Some are retired who want to be some place safe and comfortable to read the daily paper or weekly magazines - for free. Some are unemployed who come to use the computers to search for and apply to jobs. Some are teachers who order multiple copies of books for their classrooms; at least one is a school librarian from a nearby school district that has pretty much cut their school library out of the school budget. Some are parents who bring their kids for our reading and early childhood educational programs. Many are kids who need some place safe to go after school and over the summer. Many are people who come for the free movies, music cds, and downloadable emedia (including ebooks).

My branch is in a fairly upscale part of the city, and we are the busiest branch in the system. We offer free adult programming such as cooking classes, local history presentations, bicycle maintenance, crafts, book clubs, financial planning guidance, how to start a business lectures, English as Second Language classes, and music presentations, to name a few. During the summer our children's programming includes visits from magicians, a local bird of prey rescue group, story tellers, crafts for ages 5-18, and a reading program that offers prizes like tickets to the local Six Flags, professional soccer games, gift cards, iPods, and a grand prize of a laptop. HOAs & other community groups rent out our meeting room for the bargain basement price of $25/hr.

Our Central library is a depository for federal documents and houses the largest collection of western history in the country. One of our branches holds the largest collection of western African American history. These special collections are invaluable for people conducting genealogy, labor, religious, and racial research.

You are mistaken if you think public libraries are no longer viable in the 21st century. They are invaluable - though sadly underfunded and unappreciated in many communities in the country. That's out of ignorance - a modern public library is as relevant today as it was to its time a century ago.
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