Thursday, 24 December 2009

What would Asterix think?

I hadn't thought about the Unitarian Universalist Christmas Carol in the previous post for a while - I actually found and scheduled it many months ago - so it's a bit of a coincidence (although not completely, considering my philosophy) that yesterday I bought Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show In Earth, which begins thus:
CHAPTER 1

Only A Theory?

Imagine that you are a teacher of Romans history and the Latin language, anxious to impart your enthusiasm for the ancient world - for the elegiacs of Ovid and the odes of Horace, the sinewy economy of Latin grammaras exhibited in the oratory of Cicero, the strategic niceties of the Punic Wars, the generalship of Julius Caesar and the voluptuous excesses of the later emperors. That's s big undertaking and it takes time, concentration, dedication. Yet you find your precious time continually preyed upon, and your class' attention distracted, by a baying pack of ignoramuses (as a Latin scholar you would know better than to say 'ignorami') who, with strong political and especially financial support, scurry about tirelessly attempting to persuade your unfortunste pupils that the Romans never existed. There never was a Roman Empire. The entire world came into existence only just beyond living memory. Spanish, Italian, French, Potuguese, Catalan, Occitan, Romanesh: allthese languages and their constituent dialects sprang spontaneously into being, and owe nothing to any predecessor such as Latin. Instead of devoting your full attention to the noble vocation of classical scholar and teacher, you are forced to divert your time and energy to a rearguard defence of the proposition that the Romans existed at all: a defence againdt an exhibition of ignoranr prejudice that would make you weep if you weren't too busy fighting it.

Gods Rest Ye, Unitarians

Gods rest ye, Unitarians, let nothing you dismay;
Remember there's no evidence there was a Christmas Day;
When Christ was born is just not known, no matter what they say,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

Our current Christmas customs come from Persia and from Greece,
From solstice celebrations of the ancient Middle East.
This whole darn Christmas spiel is just another pagan feast,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

There was no star of Bethlehem, there was no angels' song;
There could not have been wise men for the trip would take too long.
The stories in the Bible are historically wrong,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact!


(source)

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Winter wonderland

snowy canal

Here's the view outside my window a few minutes ago. To the left the little drawbridge and in the middle of the canal one of the trees the neighbourhood comittee has put up along the whole length.

But I'm lucky, my boss called this afternoon to say she's got a foot of snow.

No sign of the ducks in this one, I believe. Thanks to the snow they haven't had to work as hard at keeping parts of the canal open today, it's all thawed out. But it was a really funny sight Saturday morning when one of the female ducks overshot the open water and made a tail landing on the ice, sliding several feet.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Busy day

Filled with politics and culture. This morning I watched the Andrew Marr show on the BBC and I just now finished watching Peer Gynt: lots of man-on-man dancing - yum!

Then it was straight into the noon news bulletin (our environment minister has left for Kopenhagen by train) and the Dutch politics show Buitenhof. After that I'll have twenty minutes before a registration of Don Carlo. I may check out this program listed as "Jewish Comedy Café", which falls almost perfectly into the gap. (Note to self: re-read Schiller.)

Another thirty minutes or so after the Verdi, Britten's Albert Herring starts. To be honest I don't really know anything about this one, I'll just have to wait and see whether I like it. Which is not a bad thing.

In between - and during, knowing my restlesness - I shall be blogging, surfing, reading, downloading e-books, copying Christmas carol lyrics, singing, crocheting, writing and just walking around for no apparent reason. When people will ask me tomorrow what I've done, I'll say "nothing".

I'm usually very busy doing nothing.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

chicken!

Also food-related, but savoury this time. I made great chicken salad sandwiches yesterday. I learned this idea for leftover chicken from K - but now I often buy chicken especially so I can make it. Probably the whole world knows about this already, but let's see where my attempt at food-blogging gets me. Please don't laugh, though...

For the chicken salad:
chicken breast
fritessaus (you can use mayonnaise, as K does, but this has about half the fat and it's mostly a binding agent)
garlic
onion (I didn't have any this time)

For the rest of the sandwich
slices of whole wheat bread (mine has some extra seeds, like sunflower, added)
lamb's lettuce (I'm notoriously picky about salad greens, but these I love)
tomatoes
pecan nuts (I prefer mine plain)

Salt, pepper, cayenne, olive oil

Preparation
Toast the bread with some olive oil. (You could use fresh, I had some that I baked the day before, so I toasted it.)

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Chop the onions and garlic and sweat them. Drain and set aside.

Cut the chicken in similar-sized chunks and fry off in some olive oil. You're not necessarily looking for colour, just make sure it's cooked through. Drain and set aside to cool.

When all has cooled down, put the chicken, onions and garlic in a food processor and blitz. Spoon through enough of the fritessaus or mayonnaise to make it all stick together and season to taste. You can eat it as is, but it gets even better if you leave it in your fridge for a while.

Take the toast, put on a layer of lamb's lettuce and spread a good helping of the chicken mixture on top. I like slightly underdo the pepper in the salad itself and then to have a generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper on top (you can use paprika instead, I guess), followed by either pecans or slices of tomato. The former really add to the nutty flavour of the bread and the latter is nice and fresh. (I'm also thinking about trying a little bit of some finely chopped pickle in the mixture.)

I have pictures, but they'll have to wait until my phone has been reanimated. Posting this has been very enjoyable, in that I just finished off the last of the salad with some lettuce and tomatoes.

The rest of the chicken I have is going to go into peanut sauce tomorrow. I don't eat peanut butter, but peanut sauce is heaven. All you need to go with that is some white rice, really.

chocolate!

In honour of the season, or rather because I just fancied a change, I have tonight become a chocolate brunette.

I'd show you a picture, but my phone is on the blink. I choose not to dwell on that, though, dyeing has just my hair cheered me up!

I'll try not to check myself in any and every reflective surface I pass, but it'll look funny and catch my eye for a while, I'm sure...

EDIT: I have totally not been going back to the bathroom mirror to check how it looks now every ten minutes.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Jesus!

I can't find words to describe the puerile glee of hearing the voice on University Challenge call out - especially in the latter stages when his excitement rises - "Jesus, Hadley!"

I wonder if Christ College Cambridge is still in the running. That would be my ideal final:
"Jesus, Jones!"
"Christ, Smith!"

Damn you, Alan Bennett

Not that he's done anything wrong, of course, in fact I greatly admire him, but thar's the problem: the BBC is having an Alan Bennet week and I only just found out they were showing A Question Of Attribution. The scene between Sir Anthony Blunt and the Queen, with them discussing fakes and forgeries. This was after he was found out as a Soviet spy, but before he was publicly named.

Now it's got me wondering what happened to him after that. But if I try to find out, I know that in no time I'll be reading up on the other Cambridge spies. Also on the subject of spies, I hope I can find some work to do that allows me to listen to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy on BBC iPlayer tomorrow, but it's been so hectic recently I'm not getting my hopes up. It was probably LeCarré who sewed the seeds of my fascination with spies.

If none of this makes any sense to you, blame it on the fact that it's half past midnight.

Oh well, I get to sleep in until all of seven AM tomorrow.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

search me!

Here is a list of keywords used to find... something, I like to imagine they were not actually searching for me. And no, I don't know any scat parties in Amsterdam...
in munster, yes?
link:okcupid.com
spot that bursts with a knife
how to never be wrong gay
delft pottery that holds alcohol
famous first lines songs
mininova disadvantage
uroskin hadron
chol cameltoe
flickr tit clevage
hot teens big ass
riddle answer get along little dogies
dieting disadvantage
sinterklaas k amsterdam cab driver
porn5 eu enter
smiths meat is murder isohunt
south park unclean, unclean
famous first lines questions
good officer evening south park
scat parties in amsterdam
hermes and artemis
tom bacchus
stereotypes on the moet & chandon ad
romaine bindsla
harry mocco
fag hags and dionysus
the subtle knife film
im writing a self-help book how long should it be?
methylfenidaat hydro cloride
holy dirt blogspot
dionysus and fag hags
the subtle knife movie
subtle knife lyric quotes

for the environment

Setting the dryer on my washing machine to the shortest setting and drying the laundry the rest of the way by using every inch of radiator surface doesn't just help the environment, it makes my house smell nice at the same time.

(I could turn the dryer off completely, but then the clothes would be dripping all over my floors. The heating is on anyway, of course.)

One of the three bulbs on my living room ceiling has died and I haven't replaced it. Not because I'm lazy or cheap (I am both, though), but because it's better for Mother Nature. The same goes to one of the halogen spots in the bathroom - although in that case it kept cutting out by itself and I may have killed it trying to fix it...

Now I have to run because in the few minutes they've been on, some of the fabrics have been getting pretty hot.