Well That’s a First!

August 4, 2015

Oklahoma is privileged to have been the location of many “firsts.”  Here is a partial list.

  • 1st court case to establish the personhood of Native Americans (May 12, 1879)
  • 1st novel by a woman of Native American descent (Wynema: A Child of the Forest, by S. Alice Callahan [Creek], 1891)
  • 1st State with electronic toll collections (PikePass System, January 1, 1991)
  • 1st Wal-Mart store (Kingfisher, OK, 1962)
  • 1st sale of Girl Scout cookies (Muskogee, OK, December 1917)
  • 1st woman criminal on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list (Norman, OK, Ruth Eisemann-Schier, arrested March 5,1969)
  • 1st automatic parking meter (Oklahoma City, July 16, 1935)
  • 1st execution to be televised (Oklahoma City, June 11, 2001 [Timothy McVeigh])
  • 1st shopping cart (Oklahoma City, Standard Food Stores, June 1937)

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janel Podell.

Necktie of the Month — August 2015!

August 3, 2015

IMG_0738This month I will be highlighting one of my more conservative bowties . . . standard black and white.  And while this tie will look great on all of the usual suspects: white shirt, black shirt, and gray shirt,  because it is black and white (colors that go with just about anything), this tie will look great with any of my shirts (maybe not the pastels), but especially the bright neon-colored shirts in my closet: red, orange, pink, blue, green, and purple.  Once again I find myself confronted with so many options, but so little time.

What Do You Think Of . . . These Countries?

August 2, 2015

Last month, I shared some quotations about assorted cities (courtesy of entries in my copy of The Cynic’s Dictionary).  This month I will share some of the quotations about specific countries.  Enjoy!

America: “A mistake, a giant mistake.”  (Sigmund Freud)

Australia: “The only country in the world where the word ‘academic’ is regularly used as a term of abuse.”  (Leslie Kramer)

Belgium: “A country invented by the British to annoy the French.”  (Charles de Gaulle)

Britain: “A society where the ruling class does not rule, the working class does not work, and the middle class is not in the middle.”  (George Mikes)

Canada: “A country useful for only providing me with furs.”  (Madame de Pompadour)

England: “The paradise of little men, and the purgatory of great ones.”  (Cardinal John Newman)

France: “A country where the money falls apart in your hands and you can’t tear the toilet paper.”  (Billy Wilder)

Holland: “Such a low country, it’s only saved by being dammed.”  (Thomas Hood)

Ireland: “The only place in the world where procrastination takes on a sense of urgency.”  (Dave Allen)

Israel: “The only country where one can say of someone that he is a Jew without being an anti-semite.”  (Jean Paul Sartre)

Italy: “A country so blessed, that for every weed they destroy, two spring up in its place.”  (Leonardo Sciascia)

New Zealand: “A country of thirty million sheep, three million of whom think they’re human beings.”   (Barry Humphries)

Switzerland: “The land of peace, understanding, milk chocolate . . . and all those lovely snow-capped tax benefits.”   (David Niven)

Source: The Cynic’s Dictionary, by Aubrey Dillon-Malone

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Forty-Eight!

August 1, 2015

Are you having trouble making the perfect cheesecake?   Here are some of the common problem you may encounter along with some solutions to help you prevent these baking “failures.”

Cracked Top
This is usually caused by either over-beating the batter, over-baking, or exposing the cheesecake to high a heat for too long.  Sometimes a sudden change in temperature can also cause cracking (don’t cool in a draft).  Simple solutions include:

  • Add a pan of water beneath the cheesecake as it bakes (adds moisture to the air).
  • Add a teaspoon of cornstarch (natural thickening agent) into the batter before pouring the batter into the pan. This will guard against the cheesecake separating.
  • Leave the cheesecake in the over, but turn the oven off and crack the door open as the cheesecake cools.

Lumpy Cheesecake
Generally a result of poor or incomplete mixing.  Simple solutions include:

  • Mix until smooth.
  • Bring the cheese and the eggs to room temperature before using (I bring all refrigerated ingredients to room temperature before I begin).

Burnt Top
Generally a result of baking the cheesecake too long or at too high a temperature.  Simple solutions include:

  • Bake at a lower temperature and increase the time.
  • Use a water bath (wrap heavy duty aluminum foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan, set in a larger pan, and pour water until it is about half-way up the sides of the pan.

Spotty Top
Generally the result of air bubbles that rise to the top and then bake/brown faster than the rest of the cheesecake.  Simple solutions include:

  • Don’t over-beat the batter.
  • Tap the pan on the counter to help “pop” some of the bubbles.
  • Use a toothpick to prick the air bubbles.

Soupy Center
Generally a sign that you’ve undercooked the cheesecake.   Simple solution:

  • Cook a little longer (use the jiggle test — the center should jiggle just a little, but should firm up as it cools and is refrigerated).
  • Leave the cheesecake in the over, but turn the oven off and crack the door open as the cheesecake cools.

Sometimes is just doesn’t work out.  I’ve been baking cheesecakes for years and every now and then, you just have “issues.”  Just try to troubleshoot as you go.  Best of luck!

Well, That Clears That Up!

July 31, 2015

I like it when the denouement of a book or film is neat and tidy, but complete.  Unfortunatley more often than not, the intricacies of the plot are wrapped up quickly without the level of explanation or development that would satisfy.

denouement

\ dey-noo-mahn \, noun;

1.  the final resolution of the intricacies of a plot, as of a drama or novel.
2.  the place in the plot at which this occurs.
3.  the outcome or resolution of a doubtful series of occurrences.

Fortitude!

July 30, 2015

Here’s the next installment of manners and etiquette (courtesy of the Goops)?

Fortitude
When you have been a naughty child,
Or taken more than was your share,
When you’ve been sulky, cross or wild,
You must not say, “Oh no, I don’t care!”

But when you hate to see it rain,
and when it’s time to comb your hair,
And when you have a little pain,
Then you can say, “Oh, I don’t care!”

Source: Goops and How to Be Them: a Manual of Manners for Polite Infants Inculcating Many Juvenile Virtues Both by Precept and Example by Gelett Burgess.

The Perfect Bow!

July 29, 2015

How often have you had a gift to wrap only to discover that you didn’t have any ribbon or a bow?  Here is an origami version of a paper bow that can allow you to decorate any package in a snap.

Traverse City Film Festival Getting Underway!

July 28, 2015

Today marks the official start of the Traverse City Film Festival 2015!

Are you ready to watch movies?  This year there will be more than 200 screening across the ten venues: the State Theatre, the Old Town Playhouse, the Lars Hockstad Auditorium, the City Opera House, the Milliken Auditorium, the Bijou by the Bay, the Buzz, the Dutmers Theater, Movies on a Boat, and the Open Space Park Outdoor Cinema on the waterfront.

I’ve got my tickets, what about you?

The numbers last year (the tenth anniversary) . . .

– 131,000 admissions
– 82% of available tickets sold to 250 screenings, of which 170 were sold out
– 128 features, 85 shorts across 12 venues
– 160 industry guests
– 1,600 Volunteers, 500 Volunteer Managers
– 100 festival musicians
– Mid-Life Achievement Award – Barbara Kopple
– Movie Around the World
– The Buzz and Movies on a Boat added as Venues
– “Best of” Open Space

Humor, a la Police-Style!

July 27, 2015

Happy Monday!  As we ease into the new workweek, here is a little police humor to entertain.

Why did the chicken cross the street?  Answer

Do you have any idea why I pulled you over?   Answer.

There’s nothing to see here?   Answer.

“I haven’t reported my missing credit card to the police because whoever stole it is spending less than my wife.” (Ilie Nastase)

Join the Virtual Choir!

July 26, 2015

HelmetHey Spartan Fans, did you know that the Michigan State University Fight Song is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year? To commemorate this most auspicious occasion, the first-ever Spartan Virtual Choir is being assembled to “group sing” the fight song.  Here’s a link to the webpage with all of the details and instructions for you to get involved.  And, while you still have time to add your voice to the virtual choir, I wouldn’t delay too long, the final deadline is August 12th.  This is going to be awesome.  Go Green!


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