Archive for December, 2015

Scepticism!

December 31, 2015

A healthy dose of scepticism (to doubt the truth of something) is not always a bad thing, but upon consulting my copy of The Cynic’s Dictionary, I found a few additional ways to define this word.

“The beginning of faith.”  (Oscar Wilde)

“The chastity of the intellect.”  (George Santayana)

“The first step on the road to philosophy.”  (Diderot)

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How About a Little Bubbly?!

December 30, 2015

Here it is, the end of December and New Year’s Eve is tomorrow.  So, if you haven’t stocked up yet, it’s probably time to head over to the liquor store to stock up on the libations for your end of year celebrations.  Here is a handy infographic on sparkling wine to assist in this endeavor.  Cheers!

College Basketball 2016, Week Eight!

December 29, 2015

127The Spartans only had one game this week, on a neutral court @ The Palace in Auburn Hills (Michigan) where they faced the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland University.  The Spartans were without Denzel Valentine who had minor arthroscopic knee surgery earlier in the week.  Oakland challenged the Spartans (and led by as many as 15 points in the second half), but Michigan State dug deep and found a way to win.  The Spartans finished their non-conference schedule undefeated and improved to 13-0, their best start in school history.  The number of undefeated teams remaining in the top-25: five (Michigan State, Oklahoma, Xavier, SMU, and South Carolina).  The Big Ten currently has three (3) teams in the AP top-25: Michigan State (#1), Maryland (#4), and Purdue (#14).

Next up for the Spartans: on the road at Iowa for their Big Ten Conference opener on Tuesday (tomorrow) and on the road against the Golden Gophers of Minnesota (Saturday).  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
George Washington (#20) losing to unranked Depaul.

The close calls this week (won by six points or less [two scores] or in overtime) included:
Michigan State (#1) defeating unranked Oakland by six (6) points in overtime.
Oklahoma (#3) defeating unrankd Hawaii by only three (3) points.
Virginia (#5) defeating unranked Cal by only one (1) point in overtime.
Iowa State (#11) defeating Cincinnati (#22) by only two (2) points.
Kentucky (#12) defeating Louisville (#14) by only two (2) points.
SMU (#18) defeating unranked Colorado by four (4) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Iowa State (#11) defeating Cincinnati (#22) by only two (2) points.
Kentucky (#12) defeating Louisville (#14) by only two (2) points.

A Strict Disciplinarian!

December 28, 2015

The Rink household was governed by parents who were both extremely martinet.  So much so, that whenever a child transgressed, they were not only disciplined immediately by the one parent (usually mom during the day), but also a second time once dad arrived home and was informed of the misbehavior.

martinet

\ mahr-tn-et, mahr-tn-et \, noun;

1.  a strict disciplinarian, especially a military one.
2.  someone who stubbornly adheres to methods or rules.

Slam Dunk!

December 27, 2015

Here is a cookie recipe that is sure to be a slam dunk.  And, it is gluten-free to boot!

Triple Chocolate Dunk Cookies  (courtesy of Penzeys Spices)

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2 egg yolks
1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups gluten-free flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of orange zest

Topping
12-ounce bag of dark chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix well.  Add the flour, salt, and orange zest.  Beat until well mixed.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or until the dough is firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Scoop enough dough to roll between your hands to create 1- to 1-1/4 inch balls.  Place on the baking sheet at least two inches apart.  Press down slightly.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until slightly brown.  Allow the cookies to firm up a bit before using a large flexible spatula to remove them from the sheet and place them on a wire rack to cool.

Melt the dark chocolate chips in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently.  Dunk the cookies in the chocolate (halfway) and place on parchment paper.  Once all the cookies are dunked, melt the white chocolate chips and drizzle over the cookies.  Repeat with the milk chocolate.

Twelve Years Ago . . . !

December 26, 2015

USGS_magnitude_8_earthquakes_since_1900.svgI still remember the unbelievable scene of destruction as the earthquake/tsunami beneath the Indian Ocean (9.1 magnitude) caused devastation and loss of life in a dozen countries (including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Sumatra, Thailand and India).   Since 1900, it was one of the largest earthquakes in history (the third strongest, only Prince William Sound, Alaska, 9.2 in 1964, and Valdivia, Chile, 9.5 in 1960 have been stronger) and one of the most deadly (fourth deadliest with nearly 228,000 deaths).

Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately predict the strength or the timing of earthquakes.  Hopefully someday we will.

 

Merry Christmas, 2015!

December 25, 2015

I just love the Piano Guys, so on this joyous day, here is their rendition of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”  I probably should have posted this video at the beginning of Advent rather than at the end, but alas!  Merry Christmas, one and all.

Teasing!

December 24, 2015

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

Teasing
Tease to linger longer when your mother bids you go;
Tease to have a penny when your father answers, “No!”
Tease to have a story when your uncle doesn’t please;
That’s the way to be a Goop — tease, tease, tease!

Hint about the carriage when there’s only room for three;
Hint about the toys you like and every doll you see;
Hint about the candy, say you’re fond of peppermint;
That’s the way to be a Goop — hint, hint, hint!

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 Insult of Richard Wagner!

December 23, 2015

Happy Tuesday!  In consulting our copy of Oxymoronica, I discovered that Richard Wagner was the object of three “oxymoronic” insults by some pretty memorable humorists.

“I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to panes of glass with its claws.”  (Charles Baudelaire)

“The late Bill Nye once said, ‘I have been told that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.'”  (Mark Twain)

“I like Wagner’s music better than anybody’s.  It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without other people hearing what one says.”  (Oscar Wilde)

So, just to prove his point, here is my favorite Wagnerian excerpt from the “Ride of the Valkyries.”  Enjoy!

Source: Oxymoronica,by Dr. Mardy Grothe, p. 144-145

College Basketball 2016, Week Seven!

December 22, 2015

127The Spartans only had one game this week, @ Northeastern; and despite dreadful shooting early in the first half, the Spartans managed to cruise to a 20-point win to improve to 12-0 (and the lone remaining undefeated team in the Big Ten Conference).  The Spartans have matched their best start ever (2000-2001 season). There were several upsets among the top-25 this week, included a couple of undefeated teams (Iowa State and Purdue); there are currently only five (5) undefeated teams remaining in the top-25 (Michigan State, Oklahoma, Xavier, SMU, and South Carolina).  The Big Ten currently has three (3) teams in the AP top-25: Michigan State (#1), Maryland (#4), and Purdue (#14).

Next up for the Spartans: at home against the Golden Grizzlies of Oakland University on Tuesday (tomorrow).  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Kentucky (#4) losing to unranked Ohio State.
Iowa State (#5) losing to unranked Northern Iowa by two (2) points.
Duke (#7) losing to unranked Utah by two (2) points in overtime.
Purdue (#9) losing to Butler (#17) by six (6) points.
Baylor (#16) losing to Texas A&M.

The close calls this week (won by six points or less [two scores] or in overtime) included:
Cincinnati (#23) defeating unranked VCU by six (6) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Virginia (#8) defeating Villanova (#12).
North Carolina (#11) defeating UCLA (#22).