Feb. 13th, 2007

ritaxis: (Default)
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 103.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 2 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag five people. Or not, it's entirely up to you.

Two books, equidistant. One is Visions of Sugarplums, an old Christmas sweets cookbook. The other is The Failure of the Founding Fathers which I got to research the Constitutional Convention but I haven't been reading because it's not actually about that.

Maybe it would be a nice variation, instead of choosing, to get both the two books.

cookbook:

Add more flour if necessary. Knead dough on floured board until smooth and dshiny. (oddly, this is a recipe for springerle, which has emotional resonance for me because we had a springerle rolling pin when I was growing up).

other book:
opens up to a contemporary paragraph with no punctuation but dashes and I can't figure out how to count it so I'm considering it to be an illustration rather than text, and skipping it.

[Burr] recognized that the presidency had been transformed into a plebiscitary office, and that his active and public conniving would deeply compromise him if he succeeded in gaining the office in defiance of "the Wishes and expectations" of the American people. In contrast, if the House gave him the gift of the presidency while he sat passively in Albany, he might more readily weather the initial storm of public outrage and redeem himself by his conduct in office.

Maybe I should read this book, but it only has two cites for "slavery" in the index, and one for "slave rebellion" in a footnote. I'm not getting rid of it: maybe the power politics in it will become interesting after I've done my real research.
ritaxis: (Default)
I have got so many copies of Afterwar floating around -- I can't keep track. I've never had it this bad, and it's happening in spite of the fact that I keep killing extra files.

Since the book is undergoing constant rigorous reworking -- never has anything in my life been so hard to write, except maybe things I gave up on, which is probably why I don't give up even though it means my output is low because of it -- there are new scenelets lying around the landscape and I can't always find them which means I have to write them over again.

What did Dylan say about the price to keep from having to go through all this twice?

How about six times?

On another front, I'm making potato and wild mushroom piroshkis tonight. I already made a Shaker Lime Pie and a borscht of yellow vegetables (yellow beets, parsnips, rutabaga, carrots). This is for a shadowrun game! Do I rock? I have decided that you can take the Shaker Lemon Pie and do it with any citrus at all. I may do it with grapefruit next time, though there are modifications I would make. Mainly, I'd prepare the grapefruit as for marmalade. I'd remove the outer layer of skin -- not zest it, but cut it with a tiny amount of white on it -- and take most of the white off the fruit too. This is because the white on grapefruits is so thick that I think it would dominate the pie unpleasantly. And because grapefruit are so big I'd use 1/8 slices instead of whole slices.

I don't play shadowrun, I don't do games at all, just puzzles. And yes, cooking is an opiate for me.

Okay, back to work. It was only a couple of paragraphs, anyway. But they're important paragraphs, because they make the good bureaucrat more active in trying to protect the man without a country, and make it all the more shocking when the man without a country runs off with the people smugglers.

One last thing: Gogol Bordello rocks.
ritaxis: (Default)
So Unicef has released its "State of the World's Children" report.

The BBC's lead article is that the UK is at the bottom of the "industrialized countries" for general child welfare. Nobody who's been paying attention is surprised that the US is down there too (UK, 21st: US, 20th). I don't know how the aggregate ranking is derived, though I've seen some of the indicators that they use. You can explore the statistics at the Unicef site.

Later, when I've earned the time off, I think I'm going to compare some specific indicators in some countries which have something similar to the US. There's a customized report option that so far defeats me, but a little study ought to provide what I want to know.

Truffle has an agenda, but my foot's asleep. I'll take her out when my foot stops tingling.
ritaxis: (Default)
Browsing around in the UNICEF annual report:

Replacement birth rate is normally 2.1 children/mother: you need a higher birthrate, naturally, if a lot of people are dying. The world as a whole has a birth rate of 2.6. East Asia/Pacific has 1.9: CEE/CIS (I think that means North America and Europe, because I don't see anything else either of those could fit into) has 1.7: Sub-Saharan Africa has 5.4. The rest of the world is in the 3 range.

Income equity is irregularly sprinkled over the face of the earth. Most of the countries with the greatest income equity appear to be the ones you'd expect -- places like Denmark and the Czech Republic -- but there are places like Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Rwanda where the difference in income between the lowest 40% and the highest 20% is not that great. I don't know if this measure correlates well with anything else yet. The United States falls into the "not very equal category" with the lowest 40% getting 16% of the household income and the highest 20% getting 46% of the household income. Notice the careful limiting of the measure to household income -- Unicef left out all that other stuff that rich people own and earn, in order, I guess, to avoid exaggerating the effect. Which makes the measure, appropriately, "how much money can you spend on stuff?" instead of "how much money do you control?"

Venezuela comes out looking good. So does Ecuador. Ecuador! This is first glance, so I might be missing some things. It's too bad that so many countries don't have some of the statistics. The US and UK are missing a bunch, too. it's all sort of spotty all around, so you have to be careful drawing conclusions.

Hey, did you know you can get Stephen Hawking to read your pdf files to you? I was trying to get a better view of the Unicef report and discovered this menu item: Read out loud! I figured it wouldn't work --like I would need some kind of software I don't have or something -- but there it is! It works! Stephen Hawking telling me all about the methodology for the report. How cool is that?


I also found out that my cable company carries Democracy Now! on some station or other, but I don't know which. For some reason, three of the stations were mute this morning. The sound for one of them was coming out on the Food Network -- it was hilarious, because the sound was a little old lady sex therapist and the visual was a cute male Indian cook who was putting lurid raspberry-pink lilies on a plate with some really sexy food. I don't watch tv at home much, but I was mining telephone numbers and addresses for tutoring outfits to apply to, and then I was mending the nice fellow's pants. And when I do junk like that, I watch tv. Sometimes.

On another front, if you watched the History Channel's "Digging for Truth" installment about the Maya, you saw my friend Tom Schreiner's partner Richard Hansen and some of Tom's work -- he does the research into lime and cement production. It was a good show. I'm going to look for the others inthe series (I can do without the Aztec one, though).

Finally: it took me maybe ten minutes to reconstruct the paragraphs that went missing this morning. I think I may be back in business.

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