Monthly Archives: July 2009

Surprised? Not me.

Somehow, when I read the headline, Surprising Ingredient Causing Weight Gain I knew it would be MSG. I was right. It seems like there’s been a war on MSG for ages. Most people think of it as a scary chemical food additive but it’s actually a naturally occurring substance. As the article says, even “slow-cooking tends to cause small amounts of glutamic acid to be released from the protein sources (e.g., meat, chicken) in the recipe.” See? Natural. (However, it is often added to processed foods.)

It is true that MSG can trigger migraines in some people and it’s possible that they might be right about it causing weight gain but that seems just too perfect to me. The big crisis that the health nazis are currently all worked up about is obesity. That’s what we hear constantly – obesity, obesity obesity and how bad everything is – so it seems to me that someone must have been wanting to discover that MSG makes us fat.

I’m not saying that I love MSG. If it disappeared I probably wouldn’t notice. Or maybe I would. Since it’s a flavor enhancer maybe I’d notice that things suddenly didn’t taste as good as they used to but I can’t imagine a huge change. It’s just that I’m getting quite annoyed at the constant obsession with fat and health in general. It seems to me that we would all be healthier and happier if we just followed the simple rule, “All things in moderation,” and aside from that stopped obsessing over our health and found more interesting hobbies.

Quotes From Here and There

… like many my age I stand continually amazed at our failure to achieve new space milestones. Space shuttle: bah! here

“Bumpits” hair-accessory ads: somehow, I blame Sarah Palin for this.there (Twitter)

It’s never too late or too early to take up quilting, sewing, and fabric fondling.here (another one from Twitter. I think I might need an intervention soon.)

And every time I see some spindly little TV tart getting medieval about Body Mass Index and other irrelevancies, I want to grab her by the arm and say “Girl, you need a sandwich. Now.” there

Suddenly you can do all your computing stuff lying down with a tube kit supplying Mountain Dew and a mirror on the ceiling to reflect the sports results from TV. Can life get any better?here (scary thought)

So I walk bothareens of Ireland, the ditches burgeoning with fuchsia and montbretia and meadowsweet and loosestrife, the sky heaped with clouds in a hundred shades of blue and white, the sea a silver paten, and out of nowhere the raindrops fall on my head. Sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.there

Blinking

Fascinating:

An article posted today on New Scientist suggests that, over the course of a 150-minute film, audience members will miss an incredible fifteen minutes simply through the act of blinking – but also that people watching a film tend to blink at the same time.
It’s called “synchronized blinking,” and it means that “we subconsciously control the timing of blinks to make sure we don’t miss anything important” – with the addendum that, “because we tend to watch films in a similar way, moviegoers often blink in unison.” That is, they blink during “non-critical” moments of plot or action, creating a kind of perceptual cutting-room floor.

The author goes on to speculate about the possibility of an architectural equivalent of “synchronized blinking,” wondering if there are places no one ever sees because everyone blinks at that exact same location. Sounds kind of wild to me. Still, it might be useful as an excuse.

After all, perhaps there’s a detail in your own house that you’ve never actually seen before – and it’s because you tend to blink as you walk past it. …

Perhaps that’s how spiderwebs build up: you literally don’t see them.

Reading this article has made me self-conscious about blinking. Now I’m going to be thinking about it all day, wondering if I missed something the last time I blinked. And you know… I should probably look around for any spiderwebs I might have missed.

Big Bugs

Seen on my deck a couple of days ago…

Large insect
view large

And this morning. What is this, a horsefly? I didn’t know they got this big. The deck rail upright it’s sitting on is about an inch and a half wide. It’s like something out of a bad movie.

Large insect
view large (if you dare)

Random Linkage

Awful Library Books – strange and outdated books.

What kind of burgers?! – I knew McDonald’s food is pretty bad but…

Rubik’s Cubewich – It doesn’t look very appetizing to me but it was a clever idea.

Top 15 Nasa Inventions – (via The Daily Grail)

20 Fascinating Ancient Maps – I guess the definition of “ancient” is fairly flexible. It includes maps as old as the 1500’s and as recent as 1918. But they are very interesting. (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Walled cities – interesting collection of photos

WD-40 Facts and Folklore – amazing stuff. (via Pat)

The User Manual Site – This looks like it might be very useful. You can store manuals in your own virtual filing cabinet. I haven’t looked yet to see how many manuals they actually have. (via ITLnet Blog)

How to make a shrunken head – I’m not sure that I want to know.

The Beatles in lace

…and a few more blogs:

Frankensteinia

Postcards From Wildwood – Nice. Lots of photos.

The Secret Life of an Unknown Housewife

Rocketpunk Manifesto – Cool and very interesting.

Garden Delights – a wonderful photoblog; not only gardens

Female Misogynist – Strange. Sometimes I simply can’t resist the temptation to take a peek inside an alien mind.

Fernando Vicente – Art

Driller’s Place – as in Tulsa Drillers but this guy lives in Arkansas now.

Dave’s Mechanical Pencils

Shatner Reads Palin

Everyone is talking about this. Well, that is, everyone a few people on Twitter. I don’t know anything about modern poetry but this sounds quite good to me.

To be fair I guess I really should listen to the original now.

UPDATE: Curses! YouTube had to remove the Shatner/Palin video but fortunately I found it at NBC.

Classic Movie

Last night I watched Broken Blossoms, a 1919 silent movie that aired on Turner Classic Movies recently. There is no way to adequately express how awesome TCM is for showing these old movies.

In Broken Blossoms Lillian Gish plays an abused girl who is befriended by a Chinese immigrant. (played by Richard Barthelmess) This movie was quite progressive for its time but by today’s standards it seems racist. Chinese characters are played by actors obviously of European ancestry and the word “chink” is used casually, as if it was a proper term. But for the most part I did enjoy watching Broken Blossoms. It took a few minutes to get used to the quaintness of it but I soon got caught up in the story, anxious to see what would happen every bit as much as when I watch a good modern drama.

One does have to make an effort to put oneself in the right frame of mind when watching a movie that’s almost a hundred years old. What was considered good entertainment then is laughable nowdays. Some of the lines sound the like winners in the Bulwer-Lytton contest and of course there’s the typical early film quality and odd acting style but one must remember that this was the way movies were in those days and this one is serious. I did not find it very difficult, myself. I thought it was a beautiful and sad movie.

Here is a clip from the middle of Broken Blossoms. I am disappointed that the music in this is different from the music used in the TCM broadcast. It was composed by Al Kryszak. I think the music in this clip is probably more like what you might have heard in a theater in 1919 but I liked Kryszak’s score, authentic or not.

Monday Smile

I saw this Coke commercial at Bioephemera and it makes me laugh every time I watch it. I love the brain. If I hadn’t already tried Coke Zero and found that it tastes more like zero than Coke this would definitely make me want to try it.

Arvo Pärt, Symphony No. 4

I listened to Arvo Pärt’s Symphony No. 4 on the radio (KWTU, Tulsa) last night. It is mesmerizingly beautiful – somewhere between moody and mystical. Here is just the beginning of it. (not the same performance I listened to last night)

A Little Chopin to Start the Weekend

This one will be familiar to a lot of people but it’s a good video. I wish it showed the pianist’s face more. He’s interesting to watch.

And because one is not enough…

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By the way, while I was browsing the classical music videos I came across this… thing. I won’t have it on my blog so I’ll only link to it. I do like Pachelbel’s Canon, though this particular recording sounds rather tired. The problem is the picture. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t recognize the composer in that painting? I mean really!

Quotes From Here and There

But why, oh why, couldn’t he at least have lived three more days to see the 40th anniversary of the moon landing? That’s just mean, Mr. Reaper.here

And I personally prefer not to verb nouns when it can be avoided.there (in the comments)

But wouldn’t it be cool if we’re wrong?here

The eclipse began in India on the 22nd, local time, and ended about four hours later in mid-Pacific on the 21st. Got that?there

And now for the fun part…

I have finished the “secret project” quilt top, put all the layers together and yesterday I started the actual quilting. Yay! I think this is going to be the best looking quilt I’ve done so far.

Since it’s a gift I don’t want to post a picture of the whole thing yet even though there’s not much chance that the intended recipient will see this but I’m itching to show off so I will just show you one of the blocks that don’t really reveal much about what the quilt will look like and doesn’t give a clue as to who it’s for since neither one of these is the inspiration fabric. Anyway, I like this so much I might use this same kind of block in a completely different quilt sometime.

Quilt Block, green and black

I didn’t put much thought into the dark fabric. I needed something dark with a small print so I just picked the first thing that would be sort of compatible with the rest but once I started cutting and sewing it I really started liking it a lot. I wish I had bought enough for a fall blouse. It’s funny… when I look at fabric I still usually think first about sewing clothes.

I’m still a quilting beginner and I consider everything I’ve done so far, including the current project, “just practice.” I know I’ve been doing some things wrong. I read a lot about it online but sometimes it’s hard to figure out from an article what you’re supposed to do and it’s surprising how many of the sites don’t have illustrations. It finally occurred to me to look on YouTube and I found a lot of quilting videos there. Some of them have been helpful but mostly I just need a lot more practice.

Off Season

I really hate to have to say this – hate that it’s come to this – but I am totally done with Brett Favre. Why couldn’t he have just retired gracefully? Everyone has to sooner or later. Of course, if he can still play and still wants to play there’s no reason why he should retire but I just really hate all the false drama and his wanting to play for the Vikings is absolutely the last straw.

Rooting for Green Bay is sort of a family tradition and I first got interested in football during the Packers good years. At the time they had several really great players. They were a great deal of fun to watch. I still want to like the Packers without Favre but they’re not as much fun to watch as they used to be. Honestly, they haven’t been as fun to watch for the past several years. I watched a couple of Jets games last season but I’ve never had much interest in that team and even with my former favorite quarterback I couldn’t manage to work up any enthusiasm. I’m in football limbo. A fan without a team.

* * * * *

If there’s one thing that makes me want to stick my head in the sand it’s the accusation against Ben Roethlisberger. Naturally my first thought is that he seems like such a nice, decent guy and I don’t want to believe it but I know you never can tell. People can surprise and disappoint you. On the other hand, why did the woman wait a year and then not file criminal charges but instead a lawsuit. That seems to support Roethlisberger’s innocence and suggests that the woman is just after money but I’m thinking there at least had to have been some kind of circumstances that she could twist in order to make the charges seem like they might be true. Anyway…. la la la la la la…. don’t want to hear anymore.

* * * * *

Should Michael Vick play again? Last year I was saying, “No! Never!” but now I’m thinking, “Yes. Maybe.” The proper message to send is that if a person who has committed a crime cleans up his act he can put his past behind him and live a normal, respectable life. So the question is, “Is Michael Vick truly reformed or is he just going through the motions so he can play football again?”