Thursday, January 31, 2008

brother, can you spare a dime?

the other day a friend sent along the following mouse tale- when you announce that your totem is a mouse and you have a history of having a weakness for all things rodent, folks are very kind in passing along stories in which mice (or rodents) play pivotal parts. (thank you matthew for this story!) the moral of this story is mighty good medicine......

The Mouse Trap (author unknown)
A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

What food might this contain? 'The mouse wondered - - - he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!'

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, 'Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.'

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, 'There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!'

The pig sympathized, but said, I am so very sorry, Mr.Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.'

The mouse turned to the cow and said 'There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!'

The cow said, 'Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose.'

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap. . .alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer's wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.

But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock.

To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well; she died.

So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember ---- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life.

We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

picture: paris 2004

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

blowing in the wind

live with intention

walk to the edge.

listen hard. laugh
practice wellness.

play with abandon.
continue to learn.
appreciate your friends.

choose with no regret.
do what you love.
live as if this is all there is.
Maryanne R. Hershey

after a few days of relatively warm temperatures, winter has returned with intention or is it a vengeance! the temperatures have plummeted and the wind is fierce and howling. I ran across this quote yesterday and was reminded of the last time it was snowy and wintry playing with olivia the dog. she loves to play with abandon when winter rages with intention. I hope I can hold some olivia spirit in mind as I head out and confront the elements today I expect we will be walking on the edge if not blown right off!

pictures: olivia on avenue c january 24, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

bumper sticker wisdom III

between movies on sunday susan & I strolled over to the barking spider. the spider is a friendly tavern serving up an eclectic selection of beers and in the evening a diverse array of music. if one's in the neighborhood, it's a comfortable spot to hang with one's buds. the spider is a visual feast, but if you're looking for food I don't know if there's anything other than bagged snacks. the outdoor courtyard sports an assortment of interesting bits of bumper sticker wisdom. during the warmer months the doors open up thus doubling the spider's listening (and drinking) space.

Monday, January 28, 2008

flowers of peace

yesterday I ended my month of muppet madness by attending the last program at the cleveland museum of art. yesterday's program "a better world: living in harmony," featured two episodes of the marvelous fraggle rock, another show which focused on the rain forest and was part of the jim henson story hour, and several really delightful psa's featuring kermit and the gang for that were done years ago for the national wildlife federation. the world would certainly be a better place if we heeded the messages of living in harmony on the earth and with our fellow creatures - and the television world would be a better place if they replaced all the crappy 'reality' shows with muppet programming! I was able to attend 4 of the 9 muppet programs and all were excellent (we particularly enjoyed 'dog city' a mystery film noir featuring an all muppet-dog cast). I had expected all of the programs to be sell-outs like the first weekend, but as the month went on attendance dropped and yesterday's turnout was quite scanty. I was disappointed. I thought because the program was on the environment it would be standing room only. as such susan, who has been my buddy for most of these outings, and I showed up way early to insure we'd get a ticket. turns out it was only hopeful thinking that it would have a packed house and a sell-out. but the upside was we had time for a little wandering before the movie.

although the sky was quite grey yesterday, it was a lovely day to wander around the circle. the temperatures although low were not as frigid as they have been and there was a lovely mantle of fresh snow on everything. we ended up wandering over to the natural history museum to get a cuppa. since it was lunch time and neither of us had eaten, we were lured into ordering a bowl of asparagus-mushroom soup. we confirmed that it was not from a can and it was quite simply delicious! from our table in the cafe we also caught a little of the live animal show that the museum gives each day. an added bonus. dodging some cold dinosaurs we made it back to the art museum in time for muppet magic.

our fun didn't stop after the muppets. at 4 the cleveland institute of art cinematheque had a screening of the documentary pete seeger: the power of song. it was great - or 'the greatest.' I'm happy to report that the turn-out was wonderful - which I found very heartening. the film premiered at the tribeca film festival last spring and has been making the circuit in various art venues around the country. according to the jim brown production website it will be airing on pbs in february. soon after it shows on pbs I expect it will be released in dvd format. I for one will be putting in an order for a copy - this way I can make sure everyone I know will see it. just one more way to try and make the world a better place - spread a little of pete's power and sow some seeds of peace, understanding and song!

pictures: taken in university circle, cleveland ~ january 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

lost in the library

When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story's voice makes everything its own.
John Berger (b.1926) writer, painter, art critic

There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis(1929-1994) book editor, american icon

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
Groucho Marx (1890-1977) comedian, actor

pictures: ms t reading what's under my bed (1983) by james stevenson, january 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

this land was made for you and me

Racism, in the first place, is a weapon used by the wealthy to increase the profits they bring in by paying Black workers less for their work.

To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women.
Angela Davis (born january 26, 1944) activist, philosopher, professor

last week while moving some of my pictures from my old computer to my new computer I came across this picture I took a few years back when I attended a conference where professor davis gave the keynote. her talk was on race, health and justice and she spoke from the perspective of a lifelong social activist; and yes, as expected she was inspiring and empowering. since today is her birthday I thought I'd share the picture - although I would prefer that I could have caught a picture of dr. davis looking straight ahead, when one is playing paparazzi you get what you get!

as a graduate student in sociology during the 1980s I read quite a few works by davis and was greatly influenced by her analysis of race, gender and class. given how the concepts of race and gender are currently being bandied about during this presidential race, it probably would behoove folks to revisit some of davis' classic works. as an aside, speaking of race have you read this about huckabee's free pass from the 'liberal media'? the media just never fails to amaze me!

speaking of amazing and inspiring, earlier this week I went to see the movie 'the diving bell and the butterfly.' the film tells the story of jean-dominique bauby who became a victim of a rare condition called 'locked-in syndrome' after experiencing a catastrophic stroke. the film is based on bauby's memoir which he dictated by blinking his left eye - other than his mind, his left eye was the only part of his body which functioned. on every level I found this film absolutely brilliant - from the cast (mathieu amalric was incredible as bauby and my all time fave max von sydow plays bauby's father - though he didn't get as much screen time as I might have enjoyed, max freak that I am) to the cinematography, screenplay, and the musical soundtrack (it's not often I am so smitten by a movie's soundtrack that I'm eager to hunt it down!). I was interested in learning more about bauby's story so as soon as I got home I did a google, I found is a 1997 review of the book and it appears that the film is fairly true to bauby's memoir. good sign.

the film is nominated for four academy awards - best director, best adapted screenplay, best film editing, and best cinematography. I found it odd that it was not nominated for best film (or best foreign film) - but I have yet to see all the films that were nominated in those categories. but, for what it is worth it did win the golden globe for best foreign language film.

back to angela and her books, the mouse recommends:
Women, Race and Class (1981)
Violence Against Women and the Ongoing Challenge to Racism (1985)
Women, Culture, and Politics (1989)
The Angela Y. Davis Reader (1998)
Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)

picture: a. davis - stfm conference, san francisco, april 2002

Friday, January 25, 2008

cries and whiskers

yesterday the softest, sweetest cat in the universe - at least my universe - took her last journey over the rainbow bridge. we have been on watch the last couple of weeks and knew merlin would set off for that journey at any time. as merlin's life was good and sweet, her death could be seen as 'good' - she wasn't in pain, she was surrounded by love and she passed on her own peacefully.

the last few days have had all of us on heighten watch. everyone in the family - both human and feline have been aware that it was just a matter of time. everyone has been there for merlin. gwen who generally gives all other cats a lot of distance (except when at night when it's all cats aboard the bed) has spent a lot of daytime hours sleeping very near merlin. rosie, merlin's biological sister cat, spent an inordinate amount of time grooming merlin yesterday. could rosie have known yesterday was going to be 'the day.' it sure seemed as if she wanted to make sure merlin was looking her best. oddly seeing rosie and gwen with merlin my mind flashed with remembrances and images from one of my all time favorite movies, cries and whispers, while bergman's 'deathwatch' movie can be seen as dark and brooding, the watch here of merlin by her 'sisters' was not.

merlin was the type of cat one longs to have as part of one's pride. she was amazingly easy going, purred demurely at the slightest contact, and never minded being surrounded by a bunch of noisy and active children. in fact she loved kids and kids loved her. she was particularly fond of laps, especially when anyone was at the computer. merlin had a fairly long life - she was almost sixteen - not extraordinarily long but not too short of course I'd have wished many more years. it is written that 16 cat years translates to 80 human years. at one time 80 seemed old; but now 80 no longer seems old - my parents are in their eighties and I have good buddies approaching or in their eighties. today's 80s are yesterday's 60s - or so it would seem.

last night when I got home, I went right to merlin to check on how she was doing. I noticed her breathing was even more shallow than it had been a couple hours earlier. I picked her up from her little bed, wrapped her in a towel and held and petted her. I was blessed to be with merlin when she took the step out of her ninth life to cross over the rainbow bridge. over the bridge to the place where she will cavort with all who have preceded her and where she will wait for the rest of her pride. we will cross when it is our time.

pictures: top kitten merlin; insert a typical 4-cat night taken a few days ago; bottom two days ago, frail merlin

Thursday, January 24, 2008

two and do!

please take two.

created by the talented and peaceful folks from afsc (american friends service committee).

be a peacemaker
sign the petition to defund the war and refund human needs
do it now
thank you

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

mammas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys

ever since watching 3:10 to yuma I seem to have cowboys on the brain - I've been longing for a hat like the one russell crowe wears in his role as ben wade (if anyone knows where I can snag a hat like this, please let me know!) .

my cowboy fixation is also being fueled by wishing I was with f & e on their current road trip. they frequently take a road trip to texas this time of year in order to go to the fort worth stock show & rodeo. they can't help themselves, they were both born in texas and they appear to be under the influence of some sort of natal homing phenomena....

and so the rest of you can share the joy, a little willie for your listening pleasure!


picture: sam (the dog) and I flanked by two tough hombres (the one on the right is my bro). san diego, 1958. photo taken by my father and transferred from slide to digital format by the talented e

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

winds of the old days

I hope every woman in this country, whether they agree with Roe or they disagree with Roe, whether they themselves would make one decision or another, will come together and say: Pro-choice means that the Government respects the individual, and isn't that really what our country is all about?
Barbara Boxer (b.1940) u.s. senator from california


today is the 35th anniversary of roe v wade - a most important date for the rights of u.s. women.

as long as women have been getting pregnant, women have also sought to end pregnancies. this is a fact.

The international community has recognized that unsafe abortion is a major threat to women's health. By liberalizing restrictive abortion laws and investing in abortion safety, governments can save the lives of tens of thousands of women every year. History has shown that women worldwide, when faced with unwanted pregnancy, seek abortions regardless of the legality of the procedure. Many have no choice but to undergo abortions performed by unqualified practitioners in unhygienic settings. About one-third of the women who have abortions performed under these circumstances experience complications that pose major risks to their lives and health.
read more

if you are against abortion, don't have one.

pictures: taken at the 1989 march for women's equality and women's lives

Monday, January 21, 2008

making dreams reality

in remembrance and gratitude

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929-April 4,1968)
minister, civil rights leader, 1964 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

picture: carving of mlk on pulpit of the american church in paris march, 2007

Sunday, January 20, 2008

rambling rose

Truths and roses have thorns about them.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) philosopher, naturalist,
author of Civil Disobedience

picture: robusta roses ~ cleveland botanical garden, may 2005

Saturday, January 19, 2008

where has childhood gone?

the other day while riffling through my box of old family photos I ran across this picture taken in 1910. unfortunately there was no information as to who these kids are or where the picture was taken - since it's a "family photo" the only thing I can surmise is that it was taken in pennsylvania - the area where both sides of my family settled after they arrived from 'the old country. even though I don't know what kid I'm related to in the picture I am none-the-less quite taken by the faces and fashions of the children. I wish had a key to identify the children and some landmark to place the picture - alas there's none. I'm sure whatever grandparent held on to this picture imagined that the pertinent facts would always be known.

this picture relates to a wonderful little exhibit I encountered earlier this week at the 'western reserve historical society' where e works. the exhibit, 'short and sweet: two centuries of american childhood" showcases childhood fashion and clothes. the exhibit draws primarily from the museum's permanent collection but it looked as if there were also some items that were on loan from private collections. the exhibition was quite fascinating and reminds us of the truth in the adage that everything old is new again.

I often hear folks remark about how horrid it is that young children are dressed like 'little adults' - however, little do we realize that this fashion proclivity has been de rigeur off and on for eons.

the exhibit at WRHS presents examples of children's clothes from the late 1700s through the 1940s. the first item in the exhibit was a very posh silk brocade tunic for a toddler which was fashioned to be nearly identical to that of his or her mother (until the 20th century toddlers regardless of sex were pretty much dressed the same - both quite fem!). the tunic was worn over an rigid undergarment made of whalebone and tightened around the child's torso with laces. I've read a lot about wealthy women being subjected to the tortuous conditions of wearing these constricting undergarments, little did I know that children also were subjected to such 'fashions.' the practice of rigid undergarments however, for both children and women was somewhat confined to the wealthier classes. of course for the children of the poor and working classes there were other cruel and exploitive practices going on in the ' good old days' - like unhealthy and oppressive working conditions to name just one!

the exhibition was very educational, sociologically speaking - along with displaying trends and changes regarding clothing it also presented a sampling of toys and pastimes with accompanying commentary on the moral 'guidance' or nature of these artifacts. for example during the 18th and 19th century young girls were encouraged to keep their hands busy with needlework. samplers were a preferred means for young girls to work on their needlework skills. these samplers served a spiritual function where many of the quotes and affirmations which the girls worked on were designed specifically to instill moral virtues. given my own fascination with samplers I found this part of the exhibit particularly fascinating!

if you find yourself in cleveland with some time to kill and are a bit of a history buff, I suggest you check the exhibit out. it is a wonderful display of artifacts detailing the social construction of childhood (fashion) over the last two centuries.

Friday, January 18, 2008

in these times

inspired by d. chedwick bryant's post today on the history of perfume monkey dolls - which incidentally I find totally frightening. I offer this:
click on image to enlarge if you dare.
for more on this frightening doppelganger phenomena click here

save the chimps!
impeach the imposter!

soups on!

the waiting is over! the recipe for the wonderful soup we had on new year's eve arrived! thanks mel!! this appears to be an easy soup to prepare and I can testify that it tastes absolutely fabulous. since the next week is bringing arctic temperatures our way, I think a culinary trip to south america may be just the ticket!


Crab, Coconut and Cilantro Soup
from Columbia (serves 4)

30 ml/2 Tb olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed minced
1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
45 ml/3 Tb chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 litre/4 cups fresh crab or fish stock
500 g/ 1-1/4 lb. crab meat
250 ml/1 cup coconut milk
30 ml/2 Tb palm oil
juice of 1 or 2 limes
salt
hot chili oil and lime wedges - to serve

1) Heat olive oil in pan over low heat. Stir in onion and celery, sauté gently for 5 minutes until softened and translucent. Stir in garlic and chili and cook for 2 more minutes.

2) Add the tomato and half the cilantro, increase heat. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add stock, bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

3) Stir in crab, coconut milk and palm oil. Simmer over very low heat for 5 minutes. Consistency should be thick, but not stew like, add water if needed.

4) Stir in lime juice and remaining cilantro. Season with salt to taste.

Serve in heated bowls with chili oil and lime wedges on the side.

since my last youtube post was yanked, here's a video to enjoy. no politics - just flip the frog and friends in a classic toon by ub iwerks (1930).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

money, money, money

many thanks to jim for the head's up on this important investment opportunity.



update: unfortunately mouse readers, the video is no longer available through youtube - I guess blimp tv, which is a "member of the national lampoon comedy network" doesn't believe in sharing! no worries, if interested you can still see this satirical video by clicking here

a day in the life

I read the news today, oh boy....
Lennon/McCarthy ~ Sgt. Pepper's Loney Hearts Club Band (1967)

extra, extra, read all about it! or should we say DON'T READ ALL ABOUT IT! two items which have come across my desk in the last 24 hours.

item #1

In the last year, the major TV networks asked the presidential candidates 2,679 questions.
Pop quiz: How many were about global warming?

A) 514—after all, it's one of the top issues facing the country
B) 165—as many as were asked about illegal immigration
C) 3—the same number asked about UFOs

If you guessed 3, you're right: Reporters asked as many questions about UFOs as they did about the climate crisis—the biggest threat to our planet.

"What Are They Waiting For?", League of Conservation Voters

item #2:

Oh, by the way, the Iraqis don't really want us

Did you miss this? It should have been the lead story in every newspaper and
radio and TV program in America. In the Washington Post it was on page 14.
In virtually all of the rest of the media it was on page zero, channel zero,
0000 AM or 00.0 FM.

from: William Blum Anti-Empire Report for January 14, 2008

this polar bear lives at the cleveland metroparks zoo. if we don't do something about global climate change NOW zoos will be the only place these magnificant beings will be living - if we can can call that living!

by the way, if you really want to know what's going on, don't count on the mainstream media to inform you. it is more than obvious the mainstream media follows the maxim of 'don't bite the hand that feeds you'! to learn about who owns the media click here.

picture: courtesy of my most talented daughter e. cleveland captured sometime this millennium.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

be blue

ms t is down for a nap so I thought I'd do some nibbling. marie recently posted one of those quizzes that I'm a total sucker for - this one is color coding our brains.

just call me pablo, I must be in my blue period.... I always picture my brain a lovely emerald green - jeez, I wonder how a green brain would be characterized? if anyone takes the quiz and turns out green, let me know.

Your Brain is Blue

Of all the brain types, yours is the most mellow.
You tend to be in a meditative state most of the time. You don't try to think away your troubles.
Your thoughts are realistic, fresh, and honest. You truly see things as how they are.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your friends, your surroundings, and your life.

be cool

The moment we indulge our affections, the earth is metamorphosed, there is no winter and no night; all tragedies, all ennui, vanish - all duties even.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) philosopher, poet, essayist

what a difference a week makes! wasn't it just last week that we broke high temperature records and ms t and I were running around with just our jean jackets on! the view above was taken yesterday. twas an excellent day to spend sewing in the studio. I'm happy to report today the sun is out, the sky is blue (most unusual) and it's an absolutely gorgeous winter day - however, the thermometer on the back porch is registering a brisk 23 degrees F (or -5 C).


pictures: yesterday & today view from mms on avenue c

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

that's amore!

who doesn't like pizza? based on what I've learned about how much pizza is consumed, I'd say not many. the other day I heard the statistic that 350 slices of pizza are consumed in the united states every second. when I heard that I instantly thought: "no wonder almost a third of americans are overweight!" but this reaction comes from the quantity of pizza consumed, and is not a slam on pizza. in fact, pizza can be very healthy and nutritious.

ever since we became custodians to a bread machine, making pizza has become a weekly routine. and the pizza here on avenue c is very healthy and nutritious with toppings you won't find in your typical pizzeria. if we aren't going out, saturday is pizza night. sometimes friends come over and join us and we turn the evening into 'pizza and game night' or 'pizza and a movie night'. this weekend saturday was supposed to be pizza and scrabble night with l from next door.

unfortunately sometimes plans go awry. at 8 when the bell dinged indicating that the dough was ready I made an important discovery: confirm that the mixing basket for the bread machine is locked in. the bell dinged and in true pavlovian style I jumped up, ran to the machine only to discover that everything looked exactly like it did 1 hour and forty minutes ago! instead of waiting until after 10 to eat, we did the next best thing, picked up the phone and called for chinese take out (which leads me to wonder how much chinese take-out is consumed? I don't know about your neighborhood, but in mine for every pizza joint there's an equal number of chinese take-out places!). in terms of saturday, no worries the food was fresh, delicious and delivered right to our door within twenty minutes (and only set us back 20 bucks!).

the upside to this misfortune was the menu for sunday was set and all the prep work was done! saturday was scrabble night and sunday was pizza and a movie night. e brought over her recently acquired copy of 3:10 to yuma, which she has proclaimed is her favorite movie of all time (hum, interesting.....wonder what that says about her psyche!). sunday e, f, l and I with canine companions munched on pizza and via the magic of film escaped a wintry evening in cleveland to the wild west and the land of outlaws, ranchers, greedy land-grabbers, saloon society and posse. like many westerns 3:10 to yuma is a morality tale of good vs evil; but in yuma, as in "real" life's good vs evil, the tale told illustrates that things aren't often black and white but all shades of gray. I can't say 3:10 to yuma qualifies to be my favorite movie of all time, but I will say it was purty darned good. if you like a exciting yarn with all the elements of a classic western (and can handle modern movie violence) check it out - I give it two (enthusiastic) thumbs up!


pizza factoids:

Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices per second.

Pizza is a $30 billion per year industry.

There are approximately 61,269 pizzerias in the United States. (Source: American Business Lists, Omaha, Nebraska.)

Each man, woman and child in America eats an average of 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza a year. (source: Packaged Facts, New York)

Approximately 3 billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. each year.

Italian food ranks as the most popular ethnic food in America. (Courtesy of the National Restaurant Association)

According to a recent Gallup Poll, kids between the ages of 3 to 11 prefer pizza over all other food groups for lunch and dinner.

pizza history

Basic pizza most likely began in prehistoric times, with bread cooked on flat, hot stones.

Roughly 1,000 years ago herb-and-spice-covered circles of baked dough grew exceptionally popular in Naples, Italy. Known as focaccia, these rounds were served as an appetizer or a snack. (Source: Smithsonian)

Pizza developed in Italy in pre-refrigerator times. After focaccia, its most direct ancestor was "Casa de nanza," which means "take out before." Housewives would pound out dough into a thin crust and place leftovers on to bake. Pizza was a peasant food designed to be eaten without utensils and, like the French crepe and the Mexican taco, was a way to make use of fresh produce available locally and to get rid of leftovers.

But pizza as we know it could not have evolved until the late 1600s when Old World Europeans overcame their fear of a New World discovery - tomatoes. Native to Peru and Ecuador, a plant which produced yellow or red fruit (later called tomatoes) was introduced to Europe in the early 1500s. Brought back by Conquistadors to Spain, the tomato was thought to be poisonous and was viewed with suspicion. It wasn't until the late 1600s that Europeans began to eat the tomato. (Source: Smithsonian and PIZZA TODAY)

The peasants of Naples, Italy, who lived mostly off of bread and little else, were the first to add tomatoes to their focaccia bread rounds.

In 1830 pizza truly began with the opening of the world's first pizzeria. Named Port'Alba, the pizzas were cooked in an oven lined with lava from Mount Vesuvius, a volcano located on the Bay of Naples. (Source: Smithsonian)

Modern pizza was born in 1889 when Queen Margherita Teresa Giovanni, the consort of Umberto I, king of Italy, visited Naples. Don Raffaele Esposito, who owned a tavern-like place called Pietro Il Pizzaiolo, was asked to prepare a special dish in honor of the Queen's visit. Esposito developed a pizza featuring tomatoes, mozzarella cheese (a never before used ingredient made from the milk of water buffalo) and basil - ingredients bearing the colors red, white and green for the Italian flag. He named it the Margherita Pizza, after the guest of honor. Thus, the modern-day tomato-and-cheese pizza was born. (Source: Smithsonian and PIZZA TODAY)

Shops in the volcano-devastated city of Pompeii bear the characteristics of a pizzeria.

Marie Antionette's sister, Marie Carolina, wife of Ferdinand I of Sicily and Naples, had ovens built in the forest so she could enjoy pizza while the Royal Hunting Party feasted on wild ducklings and pigs killed in the hunt.

The popularity of pizza exploded throughout the country when World War II servicemen returning from Italy began opening pizzerias and raving about that "great Italian dish."

In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi opened the first licensed American pizzeria, Lombardi's Pizzeria Napoletana, at 53-1/2 Spring Street in New York City. (From The Art of Pizzaiolo, by John Thorn.)

America is the new pizza renaissance leader in the world and is exporting our technology of pizza production and promotion on an ever-increasing basis.

Pizza restaurants are opening in such unlikely locations as the Caribbean islands of Curacao and Bonaire; the South Pacific atoll of Palau; and in most Arab countries. The deep-dish pizza was invented in Chicago by pizza entrepreneur Ike Sewell. His restaurant, Pizzeria Uno, is still going strong today.

pizza factoids and pizza history courtesy of google - click for more

Sunday, January 13, 2008

blue sunday

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door.
Irish blessing

this just in....

"I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse."
Walt Disney

This Day in History
First Mickey Mouse Comic Strip Released (1930)
Mickey Mouse's first incarnation of sorts was as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, created by Walt Disney for Universal Studios. When Disney was fired for asking for a bigger budget to produce Oswald cartoons, he created Mickey Mouse to keep his company afloat. Mickey was somewhat mischievous in early cartoons, but later evolved into a well-meaning Everyman. Today, Mickey is one of the most recognized symbols of American culture. More

pictures : dingle, ireland; 1930 mickey from google images

Saturday, January 12, 2008

it's such a good feeling

To be rich in friends is to be poor in nothing.
Lilian Whiting (1859-?) American author and journalist

recently marie sent me the 'you make my day award' - which of course made my day. marie right back to you!

after receiving the ymmd, I have been instructed to: “Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about being part of the blogging community! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on.”

like many other bloggers little did I realize when I started blogging that I would be entering a wonderful new world. a place where boundaries blur, distances shrink, and the concept of community grows to unimaginable dimensions! keeping my list to ten was impossible - so with the instructions in mind and half again, I present the ymmd to the following:

colette amelia, dumdad, gary, gem, jenclair, jude, junkthief, lettuce, mohamed, ms mamma, reya, salty, seraphine, vanilla ,wat

thank you all for making my day!

to my other friends here in the cyberhood, you make my day, a sweet mwah to you - yes, I mean YOU. and please feel free to spread the mwah!

Friday, January 11, 2008

if cars could talk

'free car'
a. the owner is so mortified to drive a taurus he/she issues a disclaimer
b. the owner is rubbing our noses into the fact that he/she didn't have to buy this car
c. open the door, keys are in the ignition and drive it away
d. none of the above here's the real scoop____________________

and we are all happy that you are! and grn is bl with a bit of yllw

Thursday, January 10, 2008

scribble, scrabble


on monday my sweet sister-in-law p forwarded me the 'word of the day' that is automatically sent to her. the word was scrabble. I don't know if she sent it to me because of the game scrabble or the mouse referenced in one of the quotes. eek. or both. but isn't it lovely to come to someone's mind and be associated with such a wonderful word. almost makes me want to do another blogabet!

scrabble \SKRAB-uhl\, intransitive verb:

1. To scrape or scratch with the hands or feet.
2. To struggle by or as if by scraping or scratching.
3. To proceed by clawing with the hands and feet; to scramble.
4. To make irregular, crooked, or unmeaning marks; to scribble; to scrawl.
5. To mark with irregular lines or letters; to scribble on or over.
6. To make or obtain by scraping together hastily.
7. The act or an instance of scrabbling.
8. A scribble.

Mice kept me awake by scrabbling in the uncovered garbage can.
-- Edith Anderson, Love in Exile
Rather frantically I scrabble for the recollection of what exactly it does give me.
-- Robert McLiam Wilson, Ripley Bogle
Heard by Maidment but not seen, the dog, called Rosie, yawned, then pushed herself on to her feet, slipping about on the polished boards with a scrabble of paws.
-- William Trevor, Death in Summer

Scrabble derives from Dutch schrabbelen, from Middle Dutch, frequentative of schrabben, "to scrape; to scratch."


picture: sophie (the dog next door) helping me during a game of scrabble; notch, e's pet mouse who lives on avenue c with me (guess e felt it was only fitting.....).

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

refuge of the roads

happy new (islamic) year! the other day as I was musing about time - yes a preoccupation of late. I was thinking of when and how various cultures and traditions mark time and signify endings and beginnings.

many cultural traditions use the moon to mark the passing of a year. the islamic calendar is one which is based on lunar months. today is muharram - the new year - which begins with the waxing crescent moon. using this calendar 2008 is 1429. muharram is celebrated with reflection, prayer and sometimes fasting.

the title of this post comes from a song on joni's herija album. the album's name is a transliteration of hijra, which refers to the journey the prophet muhammad's and his followers went on as they fled to medina in 622.



happy new year, happy journey. as we journey may each of us find kindness and comforting refuge in the arms of others - be they friends or strangers (for what is a stranger but a friend one has yet to meet - who said this?).

photo: courtesy of skychasers.net from google images

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

by george, HE'S got it!

on sunday an editorial by george mcgovern appeared in the washington post calling for the impeachment of bush and cheney. now mr. mcgovern clearly is a george worthy of the honorable and noble name george!*

in little more than 1400 words senator mcgovern presents a compelling argument why the country must pursue this course. with only ten months remaining until the next presidential election, it is unrealistic to think that we will actually remove bush and cheney from office - nothing happens quickly in washington (except perhaps the ability of a certain band of rascals to "derail american democracy").

a couple brief excerpts from mcgovern's editorial, Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon was Bad. These Guys Are Worse:

Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.

Impeachment is unlikely, of course. But we must still urge Congress to act. Impeachment, quite simply, is the procedure written into the Constitution to deal with presidents who violate the Constitution and the laws of the land. It is also a way to signal to the American people and the world that some of us feel strongly enough about the present drift of our country to support the impeachment of the false prophets who have led us astray.

click to read entire editorial

senator mcgovern is hardly alone in his position. but unfortunately there appear to be systems controlling the country which have a remarkable ability to shut down dissent and reason. one perfect example is consider the exclusion of presidential candidates dennis kucinich and ron paul from various candidate debates and forums. friday night bill moyers followed up the iowa caucus with by interviewing dennis and ron and political scientist kathleen hall jamieson. among the topics pursued was the intersection of the media and politics and the 'powers' which shape and influence both. it was a stimulating program and analysis; in case you missed it, here you go!

*george is the name of my much loved grandfather, st. george the mythical dragon slayer, not to mention quite a few other fine individuals.

pictures: 1972 mcgovern for president button from my button vault; protest in cleveland on march 20th 2006 - the third anniversary of the invasion.

Monday, January 7, 2008

gettin' down to business

I'm happy to report that as of today my internal calendar and the external calendar have almost caught up! there's still a little disconnect, but it's totally inconsequential. today has felt like the 'official' start of the new year -and it is january. how amazing is that! like for many others, today was the first day of a 'regular' full week after 'the holidays' (at least holidays as defined by those of us with a western pagan-judeo-christian orientation). the last two weeks were a bit strange with christmas and new year day falling on tuesdays. today was my day to reconnect with 'reality' and to get down to business. this morning I accepted that the organization of my work spaces which began last week was now 'good enough', I finished one quilt project (for a baby born in december! I'm sorry little marcos), and am settling into my altered and a bit more organized workspaces and starting some new projects. overall I feel very refreshed and renewed. a good way to start a new year.

this evening marks another first - as this is my first post utilizing my new computer. this computer was a gift from two incredibly generous fairy-godsisters. l & m bestowed this beautiful machine during the season of giving! thank you - I can never adequately express my gratitude nor can I ever repay such generosity! this new baby is AMAZING!! the screen! the memory available! the speed!

speaking of memory, a picture says it all - check out the difference in space available - screen on left old computer (color blue represent space used) screen on right new computer (color pink represents space available) . my sweet f did a heroic job over the weekend installing the camera software on the new computer, networking the two computers, and preforming all sorts of other technical mumbo-jumbo (when it comes to left brain right brain skills we compliment each other wonderfully) he's still working on trying to get at least one of the myriad of printers laying around operational - and I am hopeful that it won't be long until he conquers that challenge.

the home office now sports two computers - f and I no longer have to compete or take turns venturing into cyberspace or working on various computer-based activities.

since I posted a photo of one workspace here's a photo of my other workspace - which also doubles as ms. t's playroom for some of the time she comes over to hang out with me and the cats.

the calendar may have said january 7th, but the day felt like april 7th! above the temperature as recorded on the back porch. the 'official' temperature for cleveland was 65 degrees which broke the 1907 record high.

picture notes: gwen was getting a bit upset over all the pictures of dixie (and other dogs) which have recently appeared on the mouse, she insisted on some equal time! a few other kitties can be found in the pictures of the two workspaces.