Thursday, June 30, 2005

oh my

So, I was looking at Facebook groups at Princeton University (don't ask) and noticed that there was one called "Gay? Fine by me". Apparently it's the official group for the "Pride Alliance Allies" at Princeton. I thought this was some stupid Princeton thing. But no, the "Gay? Fine by me" slogan is actually pretty darn widespread, and has been around for at least a couple years. Maybe this is old news to some of you, but my mind was boggled. Fine By Me is an actual nonprofit, with various chapters; their main campaign is getting people to wear "Gay? Fine By Me" t-shirts.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Tofu Recipe

I was going to post something about tonight's vote in favor of gay marriage in Canada's house of Commons. Or something about the Bush dealie tonight, and ABC reporting that it was a White House advance team member who started the one applause during the speech. But, actually, I just wanted to point those two things out. So, here's the recipe.

The Tofu Recipe

aka "Lois's Tofu Recipe" aka "Teriyaki Tofu"

2 lbs firm or extra-firm tofu
2 T fresh ginger, minced
1/4 C sugar (brown or white!)
1/4 C sherry cooking wine
1/4 C mirin (or white wine)
2 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil

Press tofu, at least with your hands, if not between plates for a few minutes, to remove water. Lay tofu down, and with knife perpendicular to length of tofu, cut each 1 lb block into about seven slabs. Fry tofu in olive oil until both sides are lightly browned (you'll need two pans; or, you can do it in two rounds). Remove tofu and dry/cool on paper towels.

Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients to prepare a marinade. When completed, microwave for approximately 30 seconds to make it luke-warm; stir to make sure sugar is mostly dissolved.

Cut each tofu slab into six pieces (use a sharp knife, and do it carefully; you don't want the pieces to fall apart). Drop them into a 1 gallon ziploc bag, and dump in the marinade (you can use a bowl, too, but that's less satisfying, somehow). Toss bag around a bit, then refrigerate. Marinate for an hour or so, if time permits, periodically flipping bag.

Then dump entire bag out into large frying pan; cook on medium-high heat. Flip and stir pieces periodically as liquid cooks down for 5 or 10 minutes. As liquid all but dissapears, flip frequently, so that no piece burns, but keep it on the heat until sugar begins to caramalize on tofu pieces, which turn a darker brown. This is the crucial step; don't stop cooking before you get some caramelization and some pieces are verging on burning.

Serve on top of a bed of (lightly salted) brown rice, with fried broccoli and broiled zucchini strips, quartered mushrooms, and red or white onions all in the mix.

-the recipe I originally had used white sugar. But teriyaki-type sauces traditionally use brown sugar.
-I wouldn't bother making this recipe with just 1 lb of tofu; it's too much time for too little product. Once I did 3 lbs. Remember, 1/4 cup is equal to 4 tablespoons.
-you can throw in a bit of rice vinegar, or other vinegar, if you like. But don't do more than 1 teaspoon.
-use a large non-stick pan. Really. Cast-iron won't work for this, and aluminum would probably be quite tricky as well.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Problematicizing 'problematic'

Can the word problematic spread even further, and with new meanings? Yes.

"Despite a flurry of Republican activity, including the filing of a new Senate bill on Thursday, the prospects for Social Security legislation remain deeply problematic," the Times leads in a Friday article.

Can the 'prospects' for something be problematic? That would mean, I would think, that the expected or possible future outcomes have problems. But while the article does include some analysis about why senators won't vote for such legislation (it is politically dangerous, and therefore problematic to them), the "deeply problematic" in the first sentence seems to be intended to mean something more like "grim". The article is saying, after all, that the chance of passage is looking low.

Yes, perhaps the prospects are 'problematic' if you have a pro-privatization standpoint (as in, it would be problematic to you that the prospects are bad). But otherwise, the prospects are simply bad.

In general I think Robin Toner's social security coverage is quite good (although this one was co-written with David Rosenbaum, who can be quite the tool). But I think this was very sloppy wording, and/or a reluctance to use a word like 'grim', even if it would be accurate.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Republicans ask, do we have ta vote for CAFTA?

Who would have ever thought that CAFTA actually might not pass?

I mean, I have some vague memory of some plan hatched in the top floor of the CC involving people dressed as superheroes who were going to be outside during lunch getting people to sign petitions, or something, that were going to like, stop CAFTA. Did people back then actually think CAFTA was going to be stopped? I wasn't involved, but I sure didn't think so. (That's not to say that I think, or thought, that all activism with a low chance of achieving its primary stated goal is worthless. I don't.)

Anyhow, the vote in congress is coming soon. And the politics are getting interesting.

From the front page of Wednesday's Washington Post business section, we have "For CAFTA, Party Pressure and Pork", which looks at some of those politics.

I'm curious, what are various folks on the left doing/saying about this issue these days?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

woooo democracy

For a good summary and analysis of the new report that's out about 2004 voting in Ohio, checkout this piece on Salon (you have to wait for an ad to play, but it's not too bad).

In short, "African-Americans waited an average of 52 minutes to vote; the average for white voters was less than 20 minutes."

But the rest is worth reading, too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Party on the Cambridge Common

And by party, I mean celebrating the 230th anniversary of the US Army. Hooray! Apparently it was started right on the Cambridge Common, with George Washington and all, or something like that.

So, the army decided it would be cool to have a celebration, with some sleek equipment, four parachutists dropping in, some veterans, and a talk by some high-up army guy, and the mayor. And a big truck that said "be all you can be" or whatever. If that sounded like something of a recruiting event in disguise, you're exactly right. In fact, the army is doing various events all across the country showing off equipment.

And so, in the middle of the day on a weekday last week, there was a groovy demo. There were 200+ people there in protest (don't people have to be at work?). Who was the first person I ran into? None other than Marcia Morris. She moved up to these parts and still works for AFSC.

Some people got inside the fence, to the event, but then at some point before we got there they stopped letting people in who were clearly there in protest. This was in a public park, of course..

At the beginning some of the protestors stood right by the stage, and then were arrested when they refused to move. Later, more were arrested (making a total of 7) when they jumped the fence to get in to the event.

Some photos are here. (and scroll all the way to the bottom, there are more).

Now there's all this debate here in Cambridge about the planning of the event; most notably, people are criticizing the mayor for organizing the event without consulting the rest of the city council.

Meanwhile, the army keeps missing recruiting goals.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Eggplant Rolls Filled with Basil and Cheese

Hungry? Need to cook a meal for a hot date? Trying to figure out how to use up the excess goat cheese in your fridge?

Eggplant Rolls Filled with Basil and Cheese is the answer (are the answer?) to all of your needs!

This will be the first in a series of yummy-licious recipies posted here on bsom. They won't, of course, actually be recipes that I made up. But they will be recipes from various sources, with tidbits on which corners I have successfully cut without leading to absolute disaster.

So, today's recipe:
or also,

These recipes (I've only made the first one) involve slicing eggplant, baking/broiling it, spreading a cheese mixture on the pieces, rolling them up, putting them in the oven a bit more, so they ooze, and then putting some tomato sauce on top. Good stuff.

The first recipe has you making your own tomato sauce; I've skipped that. They seem to be big into salting and drying eggplant. Maybe that helps something, but it's certainly not necessary. The first time I made the recipe I followed their cheese ratios. The second time I only had cottage cheese and havarti, which was rather odd. The cheese liquified a bit, creating a shallow puddle in the pan, but once you served them on a plate, the aesthetic catstrophe was eliminated, and they tasted quite good. So, if you can't get goat cheese (it's expensive..), that's ok, but I do recommend it. Using cottage cheese was pushing it a bit (though the second recipe does use ricotta).

The only tricky thing about this recipe is the slicing and broiling of the eggplant. If you slice it too thin it can burn easily while broiling. If you're doing two baking sheets worth, you can put your thicker pieces in one and thinner pieces in the other. Well, try to get them all to be the same thickness. The key is to use a very big knife, and cut it this way:

Cut off the ends. Then slice off one side, and then the opposite site. Now roll the eggplant over 90 degrees, and it will lay flat, without rolling around, and also your knife will have a flat, un-skinned (or, "skinned"?) surface to cut into (into which to cut?).


Serve fresh out of the oven, with bow tie pasta (you can put the same tomoato sauce on it), and a salad -- prefferably a spinach salad.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Back in the Blog

It's summer, and that can only mean one thing: it's time to blog again!

(time to find a job? what's that you say?)

I thought it'd only be appropriate if I started with a review of some of the latest news:, reporting on coach Knight returning to the Lakers, said that the team was getting a "re-Phil". har har.

-The NYT, reporting on new printed schedules for NJTransit, headlined that "The Timetables Are, Uh, Changing". Who comes up with this stuff??

-The Times had a piece about Al Franken going back to Minnesota, maybe to drum up support for a 2008 senate run. It had this anecdote:
"I jumped ya twice in Thief River Falls," said a middle-age woman in greeting at the pre-speech party in a tent next to the Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minnesota here. The seeming inference of long-ago sexual congress would cause deep blushing elsewhere, but it actually meant that Faith Rud and Mr. Franken had bonded in a far more profoundly Minnesotan way: she had used jumper cables to revive his Volkswagen bus on a cold night long ago after a college gig.

-There's this website, Ban Comic Sans, that says that Comic Sans should be eliminated as a font because it is stupid, badly designed, and way overused. For example,

Apparently the font was created by some Microsoft guy in 1994, and it was just meant for instructional software and some programs for kids. But then it got thrown in with Windows 95, somehow, and the rest is history. It has bad kerning, it's critics say.