Archive for February, 2011

Another Wild Week!

February 28, 2011

And another #1 team falls (Duke)! The only guarantees in college basketball this year are that there are no guarantees!   The Michigan State Spartans continue to be sporadic and unimpressive — they barely managed to win against an unranked Minnesota team on the road and then get blown out at home by Purdue (#8). They are still .500 in the Big Ten with only Iowa and Michigan remaining before the Big Ten Tournament (both of whom have already beaten the Spartans in their earlier meeting this season). But, things are not looking good — at least not for the men. The Lady Spartans, on the other hand, have won the Big Ten title (their first outright title in their history), are ranked in the top ten, and will be heading to the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis later this week before heading on to the Women’s NCAA Tournament! Go Green!

Here is the list of upsets this week among the top twenty-five.

Duke (#1) lost to unranked Virginia Tech.
San Diego State (#4) lost to Brigham Young University (#7).
Texas (#5) lost to unranked Colorado.
Pittsburgh (#6) lost to Louisville (#16) in overtime.
Arizona (#10) lost to unranked USC and then later in the week lost to unranked UCLA.
Georgetown (#11) lost to unranked Cincinnati then lost to Syracuse (#20) later in the week.
Florida (#13) lost to Kentucky (#22).
Villanova (#14) lost to Syracuse (#20) then lost to St. Johns (#25) later in the week.
Connecticut (#15) lost to unranked Marquette in overtime.
Texas A&M (#17) lost to unranked Baylor.
Vanderbilt (#18) lost to unranked Tennessee.
Missouri (#21) lost to unranked Kansas State.
Kentucky (#22) lost to unranked Arkansas in overtime.

The close calls included:
Notre Dame (#9) edged out unranked Providence.
Wisconsin (#12) squeaked by unranked Michigan.

Social Media . . . a Live Look!

February 27, 2011

Here’s a great glimpe into the exponential growth of social media (courtesy of Gary Hayes).  Enjoy. 

http://www.personalizemedia.com/media/socmedcounter.swf

And, for those of you who are interested in more background information as well as some historical statistics regarding social media, check out Gary’s original blog post.

Leftover Champagne?

February 26, 2011

I have never had this problem.  Whenever I open a bottle of Champagne, I manage to consume it in its entirety.  But, for those of you who have this problem (i.e., leftover Champagne just sitting around and going bad in your refrigerator), here is a recipe for a Champagne Mushroom Sauce that sounds positively wonderful.   I’m thinking that I should pop open a bottle of Champagne this weekend to try this out this recipe firsthand.  To concurrently consume Champagne while cooking with it could be an excellent strategy for moderating consumption.

Ingredients
1/2 ounce of dried mushrooms (preferably porcini)
1 cup of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 cups of Champagne
1/3 cup of shallots, minced
1/4 cup of butter (to add to the Champagne)
3 Tablespoons butter (to add to the flour mixture)
3 Tablespoons flour
Salt

Directions
1. Add the chicken stock and mushrooms to a medium-sized pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat (lowest setting possible).

2. In a separate medium-sized pot, add the Champagne and shallots. Bring to a full boil and continue to boil until the Champagne has been reduced to 3/4 of a cup. Turn off the heat and allow the Champagne to stop simmering, then whisk in the 1/4 cup of butter (a little bit at a time).

3. Heat 3 Tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the flour and stir well to combine. Cook this mixture for approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently (until the mixture turns the color of coffee with cream).

4. Slowly add the hot stock (with the mushrooms) to the flour mixture. It will “spit” a bit, but continue to add the stock while stirring.

5. Turn off the heat and whisk in the Champagne mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine-mess sieve (to remove the mushroom and shallot) and add salt to taste and keep warm. Do NOT allow to boil (or the sauce may separate).

Use this sauce with Chicken or Turkey (ideal), but it would also be good with pork tenderloin or pork chops (and possibly even fish . . . salmon perhaps?).

How About Some Nonsense!

February 25, 2011

Fridays seem to be a logical choice for a little nonsense . . . a reward for having gotten through the majority of the work week.  Closely related to this (unless to the point of pathology) is the act of verbigeration.  

verbigeration

\ver-bij-uh-rey-shuhn\, noun;
1. the constant or obsessive repetition of meaningless words or phrases.

“A little nonsense, now and then, is relished by the wisest men.” (Willy Wonka in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

“I like nonsense — it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope… and that enables you to laugh at all of life’s realities.”   (Theodor S. Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss)

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week!

February 24, 2011

Here it is, the latter part of the week, and I’ve just now discovered that it was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. 

The aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices — and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.

Did you know . . . 

  • in the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia?  Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder.
  • Four out of ten Americans either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder.
  • The majority of people with severe eating disorders do not receive adequate care. 
  • 25% of American men and 45% of American women are on a diet on any given day. 
  •  35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of these, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.

For more information, visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.

Here are some other helpful links

How Do You Spend Your Time Online?

February 23, 2011

Here’s an interesting infographic from Pew Internet that documents our generational differences in online activities.  The most surprising category: “Virtual Worlds” . . .  less than 10% participation across generations!

Winter Continues!

February 22, 2011

As Winter continues to drop even more snow across the northern and mid-Atlantic states, here is yet another natural phenomenon (ice circles) specific to the winter regions.  While many see these apparently perfect ice circles as worthy of conspiracy theorizing, scientists generally accept that they are formed by eddies in the water that spin a sizable piece of ice in a circular motion.

As a result of this rotation, other pieces of ice and flotsam wear relatively evenly at the edges of the ice until it slowly forms into an essentially ideal circle.

Ice circles have been seen with diameters of over 500 feet and can also at times be found in clusters and groups of different sizes as shown above.

Way cool!  Stay warm!

March . . . Is Just Around the Corner!

February 21, 2011

And the Madness is intensifying. There were a lot of top-25 upsets this week leaving Duke (#5) poised to vault into the top slot. The Michigan State Spartans remain at .500 in the Big Ten and keep their tournament hopes alive by going 1-1 this week. They certainly seem to be riding the bubble this year. Next up for the Spartans? The Minnesota Golden Gophers. Go Green!

Here’s how the top-25 fared this week.
Texas (#2) lost to unranked Nebraska.
Ohio State (#3) lost to Purdue (#11).
Pittsburgh (#4) lost to unranked St. Johns.
Notre Dame (#7) lost to unranked West Virginia.
Georgetown (#9) lost to Connecticut (#12).
Wisconsin (#10) lost to Purdue (#11).
Connecticut (#12) lost to Louisville (#16).
Louisville (#16) lost to unranked Cincinnati.
Saint Mary’s (#23) lost to unranked San Diego and then lost to Utah State (#24).

This week’s close calls included:
Arizona (#13) ekes by unranked Washington.
Villinova (#14) hangs on against unranked Seton Hall and barely escapes unranked Depaul in overtime.
Texas A&M (#17) barely survives against unranked Oklahoma State.
North Carolina (#19) scrapes by unranked Boston College.

Wellbeing!

February 20, 2011

The folks at Gallup have been exploring the concept of wellbeing for quite some time now and have come up with some common and universal elements of wellbeing that seem to transcend countries and cultures.  In their book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements (Gallup Press), by Tom Rath and Jim Harter, they describe the elements that differentiate a thriving life from one spent suffering.  “These elements are the currency of a life that matters.  They do not include every nuance of what’s important in life, but they do represent five broad categories that are essential to most people.”  (Excerpt from the promotional website.)

The five elements:

Very interesting indeed.  These five elements seem logical and they make a lot of sense and they can certainly provide some topics for reflective pondering.

“Live long and prosper.” (Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock from Star Trek.)

It’s Not Just A Vegetable!

February 19, 2011

In the past, when I heard the word “cabbage” the only images that came to mind were food-related (sauerkraut, cole slaw, stuffed cabbage rolls [my grandmother on Dad’s side of the family used to make the best]) and they were based upon it’s definition as “a well-known culinary vegetable: a plane-leaved cultivated variety of Brassica oleracea, the unexpanded leaves of which form a compact globular heart or head.”  I have recently discovered that there are several other, non-food-related definitions.

cabbage

\KAB-ij\, noun;

1. Shreds (or larger pieces) of cloth cut off by tailors in the process of cutting out clothes, and appropriated by them as a perquisite.
2. A den or lair.

verb;
1. To grow or come to a head, as the horns of a deer.
2. To steal, to filch, to pilfer, to appropriate surreptitiously.