August 2007

NPR : Cheesemakers Taste a Change in the Weather

Yes, I know, another NPR story. But it’s a good one. As the climate changes, the cheesemakers are finding changes in the cheese.

In a remote alpine village 3,000 miles away, French cheesemaker Alex Pelletier sighs.

“Yeah, global warming is really depressing. Everybody’s talking about it,” says Pelletier, who, like the Putnams [in Vermont], makes Beaufort cheese. Pelletier’s worry is the unprecedented heat in the French Alps, which is making cows thirstier. Drinking more water, says Pelletier, dilutes the proteins and fats in the cows’ milk. And that costs the cheesemakers, who must use more milk to create the same amount of cheese.

Read the text and enjoy the pictures but the podcast has even more info.

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Tens of thousand revelers paint Spanish town red in giant tomato fight – International Herald Tribune

BUNOL, Spain:
Tens of thousands of warriors-for-a-day hurled tons of ripe tomatoes at each other Wednesday in an annual food fight that transforms this Spanish town into a sea of red mush.

At precisely 11:00 am (0900 GMT), on the cue of a rocket fired from town hall, municipal trucks hauled 117 tons of plum tomatoes into the main square of Bunol and dumped them, setting the stage for exactly one hour of good-natured warfare.

I love it – a tomato free-for-all! Please follow the link to read more about it.

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Newsvine – Pranksters Wrap Rove’s Car

White House pranksters wrapped Rove’s Jaguar in plastic wrap on the
private driveway next to the West Wing. Rove’s car is easily recognizable because of its “I love Barack Obama” bumper sticker and the twin stuffed-animal eagles on the trunk. Oh, and there’s a stuffed-animal elephant on the hood.

Rove, the top White House political strategist who recently announced his resignation, left his car on the driveway while visiting Texas and traveling with President Bush. He was due back in Washington Wednesday evening.

The “I love Barak Obama” sticker is a great touch. Is that government owned plastic wrap? Did these insiders do the job on company time? Possibly the best days work from the White House in a long time.

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© 2006 uclick, L.L.C. Copyright; © 2007 Universal Press Syndicate

Do you think we can get someone who will uphold the Constitution and not just cater to the President?

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Bathed In the Right Light –

Here is link to a very interesting article from today’s Washington Post about the lighting of the city, mostly around the Mall area. Here is an excerpt from the opening paragraphs:

At night, there is a second city that emerges in Washington, more
beautiful and more intelligible than the city by day. The great
monuments on the Mall glow a warm white, the grass and trees that
surround them sink into inky darkness, and the city itself seems
larger, more dramatic and more logically laid out. The Capitol dome
looms over the Mall, the Lincoln Memorial defines the end of the axis
stretching to the Potomac River, and the White House is a modest but
assertive presence across the Ellipse to the north — as if the
executive is standing watch, on the edge of camp, while the city
sleeps. The republic, at night, is properly ordered.

The strange thing about Washington’s nocturnal beauty is that none of it was planned, yet none of it was accidental either.

I must say that I think Washington is one of the loveliest cities at night. It’s truly inspirational and, even though this sounds so cliché, it does make you feel proud to live here.

One especially memorable evening we drove to a party in upper Northwest in January 1997, the night before Bill Clinton’s second inaugural. Fireworks were set off in 10 different locations throughout the area. As we drove toward the Memorial Bridge, the fireworks started and we saw the most spectacular sight! The night was especially cold and clear — I think that made the fireworks even more brilliant.

Inaugural 1997

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MacKeyboard1 MacKeyboard2

I mentioned this little beauty earlier this month and it arrived to today. I plugged it in immediately and it’s exactly what I hoped for. It’s quiet, has a great touch; it’s very slim and sleek. I’m very hopeful that it will remain crumb free and will be much easier to clean than the old one.

Keyboard closeup

Wood’s Tea founder dies

Burlington Free | Living

Rusty Jacobs, founder of the folk group Wood’s Tea Company, died Wednesday at his home in South Burlington. He was 56. The cause of death is pending, said band member and friend Howard Wooden.

Jacobs moved to Burlington to attend the University of Vermont and settled here. He was a rock ‘ n’ roll musician who became enamored of the Chieftans, a traditional Irish group and, influenced by their music, turned to traditional music in his own playing, Wooden said.

“Rusty was a master pennywhistle player and great rhythm guitar player,” Wooden said. “More than that, he was a personality. He had an engaging, soft soul. He was a gentle and peaceful man, and that came through on stage.”

Wood’s Tea Company is my brother’s band. I had the pleasure of meeting Rusty several times at gigs and at my brother’s home. He was a sweet man with a sparkling eye. I can hardly believe this news is true. Please read the linked article to learn more about this wonderful person.

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Withered D.C. Region Cries for Water, Cool Water –

The grass is brown and crunchy. The leaves are falling off the trees is a steady stream of brown. We haven’t had decent rain since April.

Although I know about the drought, this article surprised me:

But with summer rainstorms evaporating after a few drops from the sky, the talk in many corners of the area has centered on a single subject: water.

That’s especially true on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where more than 100 residents have watched their wells dry up — in part because the state’s largest prison has used almost 10 times its allotted amount of the area’s supply, officials said.

Residents on the lower shore, around Somerset County, say the Eastern Correctional Institution is using too much water from the Manokin aquifer. The prison, which houses 3,350 inmates, is allowed to pump about 25,000 gallons per day. But in recent weeks, Somerset County Administrator Daniel Powell said, water use has risen to more
than 200,000 gallons daily.

State prisons spokesman Mark Vernarelli was quick to defend the prisoners, writing in an e-mail, “Our inmates are not taking hour-long showers or flushing water down the drain to waste.” He said officials are auditing water use and will develop a plan to reduce use even as Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced that Maryland will investigate the well failures.

How can a prison use 10 times it’s allotted supply?

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Irene M. Kirkaldy; Case Spurred Freedom Rides –

I ask myself why we don’t know more about the ordinary people who made extraordinary contributions to our lives. I don’t comb the obits for special people – the Washington Post puts them on the front page for me.

Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, 90, who died of Alzheimer’s disease Aug. 10 at her home in Gloucester, Va., quietly changed history in 1944 when she refused to give up her seat on a crowded Greyhound bus to a white couple. Her case resulted in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation in interstate transportation and sparked the first Freedom Ride in 1947.

Mrs. Kirkaldy’s defiance of the discriminatory Jim Crow laws of Virginia came 11 years before Rosa Parks’s similar act in Montgomery, Ala., galvanized the civil rights movement and made her a national icon. Without fanfare, Mrs. Kirkaldy’s early case provided a winning strategy for fighting racial segregation in the courts.

Today’s blog title comes from this paragraph:

In a daring and dangerous move, she tore up the warrant and threw it out the window. The deputy then grabbed her arm and tried to yank her off the bus. She didn’t go peacefully.

Good for her. Good for us.

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Today in History – Aug. 12 —

Today is my 48th birthday. I’m a better person to be able to write that out. The link above has lots of trivia about the day but here is a selection:

Today is Sunday, Aug. 12, the 224th day of 2007. There are 141 days left in the year.

On this date:

In 1898, fighting in the Spanish-American War came to an end.

In 1898, Hawaii was formally annexed to the United States.

In 1977, the space shuttle Enterprise passed its first solo flight test by taking off atop a Boeing 747, separating, then touching down in California’s Mojave Desert.

Five years ago: Iraq’s information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, told the Arabic satellite television station Al-Jazeera that there was no need for U.N. weapons inspectors to return to Baghdad and branded as a “lie” allegations that Saddam Hussein still had weapons of mass destruction.

One year ago: Thousands of people gathered across from the White House, even though President Bush was out of town, to condemn U.S. and Israeli policies in the Middle East.

Today’s Birthdays: Choreographer Michael Kidd is 88. Actor George Hamilton is 68. Rock singer-musician Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 58. Jazz musician Pat Metheny is 53. Actor Sam J. Jones is 53. Pop musician Roy Hay (Culture Club) is 46. Rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot is 44. Actor Peter Krause is 42. Tennis player Pete Sampras is 36. Actor Michael Ian Black is 36. Actress Rebecca Gayheart is 35. Actor Casey Affleck is 32.

On personal note, I went up to Baltimore to see the Orioles play the Red Sox (O’s won 6-3 in the 10th). It was a sold out game and we had incredible seats courtesy of my nephew’s girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend (no, that isn’t from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). We were in section 260 on the club level. Here was the view:

Section 260 view

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