Monthly Archives: September 2010

So long Tony…

Tony Curtis just died…I was going to say that it’s a shame but at 85 he had a pretty phenomenal career, tons of kids (I guess that happens when you have six wives) and it sounds like it was a life well lived.  So, here are a couple of clips of the guy…if you haven’t checked out these films, do yourself a favor and open some time up in your weekend schedule…

Tis the season…

We are approaching the best time of year with Halloween right around the corner.  Let Me In is the American remake of ‘Let the Right One In‘, a Swedish vampire movie that I blogged about previously.

The original was quite good and the American version is not supposed to be an exact remake so do go and see the original.  That being said, I’m pretty excited to see this one given that it’s getting positive reviews.  Here’s the trailer:

‘There are opportunities…it just depends on if you can grab them.’

If you’re concerned about a growing Chinese military threat you’re wasting your time.  Rather, if you see China as a threat to American hegemony you should be looking at places like Senegal.  Al Jazeera has a special about Chinese immigration to Africa.  How many Americans (even in this time of economic hardship) are willing to pack up and move to a new economic frontier?  Meanwhile, who do you think is going to have more influence throughout the continent in the next 10 or 20 years?

Best line:  ‘Chinese people like to do things quickly and things move slower in Africa.’

One doesn’t usually hear of Chinese being the impatient ones.  After all, aren’t they still waiting to see how the French revolution worked out?

The Battle of Kandahar

The long awaited summer fall offensive in Kandahar province has finally begun.  Who can tell how things are going at this point?  Things seem volatile enough that the civilian force designed to follow the military forces closely are generally being forced to stay in Kandahar proper.

Along with the military buildup has come a similar effort to increase the presence of State Department employees, along with aid contractors paid by the Americans, who would serve as stabilization teams in those areas.

Although some 300 American civilian staff members have arrived in Kandahar Province, at the district levels there are only a few, mainly because of security concerns.

While Gen. Petraeus is talking about the Taliban “reaching out” to the Karzai government to cut some sort of deal, the BBC has a report (from a source of unknown reliability/credibility) of serious security concerns:

A nearby district called Dand, which shares borders with the city, has been badly affected by insurgency. Many people who were accused of working or co-operating with the government, aid agencies or foreign forces, have been captured and beheaded.

Pakistan seems to be getting its share of what-for as well.

Oh, and the Brits seem to be walking back talk of a July 2011 withdrawal.

In which I demonstrate I can follow a recipe

Mark Bittman‘s book “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” is, quite frankly, brilliant.  We had a ton of produce from our CSA and I needed to do something with it…fast.  Tomato sauce is easy and I made a bunch, ‘getting rid’ of the extra tomatoes that were accumulating everywhere like tribbles.   So, cracking open this massive tome I found and made:

Indian Style Pumpkin Soup

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 lbs pumpkin (or squash) cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (I used a white onion but I don’t think it matters)
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon each:  minced garlic, minced, fresh ginger, curry powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Heat the butter on medium-high and once it’s melted, add the pumpkin and onion.  Cook until the onion is soft (the book says 5 minutes but I had a small pot and had to keep stirring it to distribute the heat so it took longer).  Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook for an additional minute or so.  Add the stock, bring to a boil and lower the heat so you’ve just got a little bubbling action going.  Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Puree the soup (I ladled it out into a blender and did it in batches).  Once it’s all pureed, put it back on the stove on low heat and mix in the coconut milk and the cilantro.

I served it over rice made with vegetable broth, rather than water to add a bit more flavor. Very filling, very tasty.

Particularly good with some nice, substantial bread.

To Reign in Hell

So, I see they’ve greenlighted a film based on Paradise Lost.  I suppose it might be pretty good but (and I’m ashamed to admit it), I was never able to work my way through Milton’s work and worry that given they’ve decided for it to be”crafted as an action vehicle that will include aerial warfare, possibly shot in 3D.” the heavenly hosts might, in fact, demonstrate their wrath upon the human race.

If you’re going to go that route, I’d recommend a film adaptation of Steven Brust‘s To Reign in Hell.  It’s a clever update of the story of the Battle for Heaven with lots of room for action and (if the film makers decide to go totally edgy) a good plot with interesting characters.  Since they won’t do that, check out the book, it’s a lot of fun.

Music monday…sucky job edition

Reflecting my day at work today…and potentially the foreseeable future…Methinks I need to get serious about finding alternate employment.

Soundgarden with Fell on Black Days