jeudi 25 septembre 2008

A Caravaggio birthday

Weak chiaroscuro
If you look at the picture in a darkened room, you can
actually see the ghostly image of Sam, blowing out his candles.
I only bought one package. Silly me.
There are only 16 in a package.
Thank goodness I had a few from previous years.

What is wrong with my camera? For a few days now, I can't get it to read light when the room is dimly lit, and the flash won't even make an effort to go off. I hate flash, but it's better than ghost images.

Birthdays come but once a year, and this is all I could get. How to deal with the disappointment?

Buy a new camera.

The checkerboard cake

This year, Sam got the grown-up version of the cake, the one that uses rum and coffee in the cake syrup instead of real vanilla. That's the stuff you brush onto the layers before you ice them. It seeps into the sponge cake and makes it moist (I couldn't resist, Liz; sorry!), giving it additional flavor.

The cake is 59 stories tall, has 5900 windows...

I'm just kidding. What it actually is is 3 stories tall and contains the annual production of la Normandie in butter, eggs and cream, plus the cocoa from wherever cocoa comes from.

It takes:

15 eggs
4 1/2 sticks of butter
1/4 heavy cream
12 ounces of chocolate -- semi-sweet and dark chocolate, plus 1/4 Dutch cocoa
2 cups of confectioners sugar
some 2+ cups of granulated sugar

You get the idea.

It also requires an entire afternoon for making ribbons of egg yolks and sugar, bringing egg whites to stiff peaks several times over, baking, assembly and icing.

I have often considered how fortunate I have been to have one child to spoil as I like. Could I really do this several times I year?

Mom would say yes. Hm.

How come all the younger kids liked Carvel ice cream cakes better than white cake with white mountain frosting, lemon filling and coconut?

So, What kind of birthday cake would John McCake make?


And the McGrill Master on Rachel Ray, Cooking with McCain

as the economy craters, Monday, September 22, 2008

Maybe it wasn't that bad Monday?


The US appears somewhat unhinged

anyone beg to differ?

So, I take a day off from watching the news, and the New York Times filled my email in-box with alerts and Naomi Wolf is seeing Eva Peron in Sarah Palin. The problem is that I have been seeing the same thing. Wolf writes in the Huffington Post September 22:

How, you may ask, can I assert this? How can I argue, as I now do, that there is actually a war being ramped up against US citizens and our democracy and that Sarah Palin is the figurehead and muse for that war?

Look at the RNC. This is supposed to be McCain's America. But you see the unmistakable theatre of Rove's S and M imagery -- and you see stages eight, nine and ten of the steps to a dictatorship as I outlined them in
The End of America. Preemptive arrest? Abusive arrest? "Newly released footage, which was buried to avoid confiscation, shows riot cops arresting and abusing a giant group of people for nothing."

You see, the problem is that over the Bush II years, the parallels with the rise of the brown shirts in Hitler's Germany was too disquieting. It kept coming to mind.

And then I read Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. He took a big risk with his literary career with that one. The reviews were anything but neutral. It was a scary book, and what was scarier still was that it didn't seem implausible enough.

Not anymore.

But that's why he wrote it.

Then came Wolf's The End of America.

And here come the rumors that the government is bringing the troops home to prepare to face riots in the USA, us. We the People.

I don't think it is possible to be too alarmist right now. Banks are failing, Sarah Palin has been selected as John McCain's running mate for the GOP ticket for the 2008 presidential election. She talks baby names with world leaders, Afghani world leaders. Light of the house.

"That's nice!"

And the press gets 29 seconds, one camera man, and what? One reporter?

I have to go do the dishes and take myself and my flu to bed, but buried at the end of yesterday's political post I wrote:

Some things need to change big time before America gets so tripped up in her own knickers that she falls down. How can these things happen in a great and free nation? Guys, Democracy ain't free and easy anymore. We already are fighting for it at home in The USA now. Forget Iraq.

It bears repeating. We are in the middle of one of the most important presidential elections, and Bush calls the candidates to Washington for an "historic meeting" to solve a financial crisis they made with their deregulation. Well, two things. One, no one looks that serious in this "historic meeting". Two, photographers and reporters got to get into this one, at least for the photo op.

Oh, why not? Three, this so ridiculous that there is no way they can get away with a police state in The United States of America. There isn't even an article. Just a picture just big enough to get both presidential candidates in.

(Is it just me, or does Obama look the tiniest little bit antsy?)

I'm with you, Senator. You know what needs to be done and can't wait to do it, so let's get back to debating and get Barack Obama in the White House where he belongs and send McCain back to the grill in Sedona, where he's "Grill Master Supreme," about the only additional title I am comfortable giving him, because, as Jill Zuckerman reported back on March 2 in the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau The Swamp, he has another reason for barbecuing:

“I have so much nervous energy, it keeps me moving,” said McCain, dressed in jeans, running shoes, a sweatshirt and baseball cap as he used tongs to flip the ribs.

Let's just keep him at the grill, because we really don't need his nervous energy, or any more messes, in the White House. Let's keep his in the kitchen, where he can only risk burning down one of his houses.

Enough said.

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