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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Begin bike lane. End bike lane. What? In pictures: Crazy cycle lanes (, 3/16/06) leads to In the gutter (, 3/10/06), which leads to the brilliant Cycle Facility of the Month and it's fantastic facility archives.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:59 PM

Sunday, March 26, 2006

souvenir photograph of Arlene riding her bicycle at the 2006 Cinderella Classic

30th Anniversary Cinderella Classic 100k

March 25th was the 30th Anniversary of one of my favorite rides: the Cinderella Classic, put on by the Valley Spokesmen. Every spring, the club puts on a 100 km (64 mile) ride for 2,500 women. It is festive; it is fun. The participants are amazingly cheerful, supportive, encouraging, and helpful. Costumes range from wedding dresses to butterfly wings to ballerina tutus to the occasionally glorious wicked stepsister. The club members, usually playing the role of 'Charming Princes,' register us, feed us as three rest stops, patrol the course in sag wagons (which help with minor and major technical difficulties, and take gals who can't take it anymore back to the start), ply us with lemon drops at a key point in the ride, and reward us with sewn patches and chocolate-covered mints at the end.

It is the only event I attend where men demand, in a friendly tone, that we women must eat more cookies.

I LOVE this event.

I believe this was my 5th Cindy, and it was certainly the most difficult: a fierce storm blew in, pounding us with harsh winds at usually-calm sections of the ride, and raining on us intermittently with cold rain throughout the day. One Charming Prince says this is the nastiest weather he's seen for the event in all of his years of volunteering. It certainly made parts of the ride I had always enjoyed newly unpleasant: just staying upright for large stretches of road was difficult, as gusty winds made riding unsteady. Fighting the wind while westbound was a huge ordeal - if you stopped pedaling hard, you'd simply tip over. And the wind was strong enough that it was hard to even coast downhill - on one long slope, I couldn't work up past 10 mph without pedaling!! I should have been doing 24 mph effortlessly.

Then again, spirits were high: when the rain started coming down hard as I left the lunch stop, cowgirl-like whoops went up, and I joined in. (After I got my rainpants back on.)

So it was tough. Near the end of the ride, it also got lonely: the wind had spread us out so far, that at times I couldn't see another cyclist in either direction. I was afraid I'd return to the starting point alone, but luckily had a small pack of women catch up with me right before reaching the gates. It's fun to enter the gates to whoops and hollers!

As always, I'm glad I did it. It is a fun ride, and it brings me a lot of joy.

Between biking to BART, biking to and from BART to the starting point, and a misguided effort to follow a pair of women who had actually left the course, forcing me to double back, I biked 73 miles yesterday. That may be my longest ride yet; it's certainly my longest ride since I bought an odometer.

[I bought the "cycling computer" March 22nd of last year; I've biked 567 miles on my road bike since then. This tells you that I haven't been biking as much as I used to: most of my mileage traditionally came from biking to work 3 times per week, or around 48 miles each week. I biked on my mountain bike (without an odometer) a few times last year, but still. Taking a break from work for about half of last year, plus wet weather, has thrown off my good habits and fitness levels. I hope to resume my good old habits soon.]

[Souvenir photo of me in the 30th Anniversary jersey and sparkly arm warmers (which Steven bought for me at the wonderful drag queen store in the Haight) purchased from the folks at]

posted by Arlene (Beth)6:54 PM

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Unlike Mom Used To Make, Part VI: My Mom!!

A serious misconception about this series, shared by one potential contributor, is a fear that the people writing here don’t eat exactly what their parents made for them when they were kids because their parents were either terrible cooks or bad people, and that this entire series is somehow anti-parent.

The easiest way to refute this, is to publish the BIG list, which is the list of items my mother ate as a child, showing that she has also made her own food traditions, rather than directly mimicking her own childhood experiences. I am happy to provide a report from my extensive telephone interview with my mother on this subject.


I would like to provide some quick background about my mother’s childhood, to set the scene. My mother grew up in relatively rural 1940s Connecticut, and spoke Polish exclusively until she was 4. While her father was away in W.W.II, she and my grandmother lived on my great-grandmother’s farm, where they ate farm-fresh foods greatgrandma grew, and, in the case of animal foods, raised and slaughtered right there. The family was relatively food-independent from the supermarket lifestyle known today; and my entrepreneurial great-grandma sold her surplus to others from a stand. They purchased a few food items, such as grain for bread or exotic spaghetti sauce that came in jars.


-berries (as a dessert)
-sweet peppers

My mom was surprised to remember that young tomato and pepper plants came from Gus Lober’s nursery. She notes that lots of things could be grown in Connecticut, and that cold frames (box-greenhouses used to start seeds) were used to get a head start on spring.

=Animals & Animal Products Therefrom=
-bees (yes, greatgrandma was a beekeeper) - honey
-chickens for eggs and meat (after seeing a beheaded chickens running, my mother refused to eat chicken for a long time)
-cows for milk and butter (yes, they churned their own butter!)
-pigs for meat. My greatgrandparents had their own smokehouse, and made their own kielbasa. The sights and smells of buckets of pig entrails has kept my mother away from most pork to this day - although, ironically, the only pork she eats now is kielbasa.

=Items they caught or gathered=
-dandelions (before they bloom, gather, wash, and cook with water, olive oil, and vinegar)
-eels (see alarming preparation notes in dinner section)

=Items they home-canned: =
-gooseberries (jam/jelly)
-grapes (jam/jelly)
-green tomatoes (pickled, with onions),
-quince (!) (jam/jelly)
-strawberries (jam/jelly)

=Items they bought:=
-“Ragu” spaghetti sauce
-canned pineapple
-cider (rare)
-dates & figs
-ice cream (from the ice cream shop - rare)
-lox & bagels (Greatgrandma was a seamstress with wealthy Jewish clients, and was introduced to Jewish foods through them)
-olive oil
-pickled herring & matzos
-pumpernickel bread (which Mom says the kids wouldn’t eat)
-rye bread

=dinner dishes=
-baked ham with pineapple and brown sugar
-barley soup with meat
-beet soup
-bread with butter or honey (“It’s not a meal without bread and butter”)
-chicken soup with homemade noodles
-clams (when the water was clean enough for clamming)
-cold cuts/sandwiches (Sunday meal, when you weren’t supposed to cook)
-creamed mushrooms
-creamed onions
-eels (eel lore: they would catch an eel, nail its head to a board, skin it, dip it in egg batter, and fry it but it would wiggle while being cooked. When it stopped wiggling, you knew it was done.) (Omigod, I’m going to have nightmares.)
-fish (from fishing), often fried
-fried sweet peppers and onions
-green beans
-hot dogs with potato salad or cole slaw
-kielbasa and other sausages
-meatloaf with baked or mashed potatoes
-pickles (homemade)(of course!)
-pierogies with homemade chili sauce. The dough was cut using a special tool, similar to a ravioli cutter. (How is it that’ I’ve never seen a pierogie cutter?) These were filled with cheese or meat, and eaten with sour cream. I don’t know where the chilies came from.
-pork chops with gravy and “peezewee” (piezewe? a type of potato dumpling)
-red cabbage sauerkraut
-roasted chicken
-salad (even in winter): homegrown lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes
-spaghetti with Ragu (purchased) sauce

=baked goods=
-bread with citrated fruit
-Easter specialty breads with walnuts, cinnamon, and yeast

[My mother notes that the oven leaned, and so all cakes baked in it were lopsided. This caused some embarrassment at school fundraisers, where they sometimes bought back their own, delicious-yet-leaning cakes.]

-beer (homemade)
-coffee (purchased)
-liquor (various bootleg sorts, made by families since Prohibition)
-rye & ginger ale (equivalent of whiskey & soda?)
-tea (purchased leaves)
-wine (homemade)


My mother is now a devoted advocate of packaged food, as my 2004 inventory of her pantry and refrigerators demonstrated. She still eats a variety of healthy foods, and makes soups from scratch, but when I visit prefers fast-food sandwiches and pizza to cooking, and store-bought desserts over making them by hand.

She’s not taking a rebellious stand against against her mother’s cooking, or her grandmother’s cooking: rather, she’s just semi-retired from cooking, after decades of doing that for her OWN nuclear family. And the family dinners she made in my childhood (from my own list, right below Steven’s), differs dramatically from the list you see here. That’s not rebellion or rejection: it’s just doing your own thing at different times with different available foods.

Quite a list, isn’t it? You know what happens next, of course. I’m sending this list to my grandmother and asking what SHE had as a kid!

In the meantime, I need to harass my local friends again for their lists...
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:56 PM

Google searches are fascinating. My mother ate a dish in childhood she called "peezewee," and my search for peezewee generated this result. Though it is not initially in English, be sure to read the entire quote from peezewee - Google Search:
Results 1 - 1 of about 2 for peezewee. (0.58 seconds)? Voor u is het madam. 09 09 2004 / 00h33. @ iemand die wel kan uitpakken maar te bescheten is om te ondertekenen from Lieselot, Komaan peezewee, let's get it on! ...
While I'm sure it's not as funny when properly translated, this appears to be from the website of a Dutch band.
posted by Arlene (Beth)8:50 PM

Monday, March 20, 2006

Under Construction: I'm finally posting the skeleton of my books page. I realize that I've always written about books gradually, as I read them, gushing about them as I go, and that it will take time for me to evaluate everything on my shelves. So I'm going to try to chip away at it, a bit at a time, cleaning up the layout as I go.

It is rudimentary, but now it's up and available for me to stare at whenever I have a moment. I hope to post to it at least once a month.


I've updated my personal photo galleries page to reflect that all of the recent photos I want to share are at my Lomohome.

And now, it's time for bed.
posted by Arlene (Beth)10:24 PM

An item for the list of artists I like: I just came across a link to this photo gallery of these amazing, larger-than-life sculptures, and am impressed all over again. Ron Mueck. (
posted by Arlene (Beth)8:31 PM

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Various photo updates: fisheye view of SF Main Library interiorI'm trying to hide the fact that I'm playing with Lomography devices more than I'm getting allegedly "serious" work done. But playing with Lomo toys keeps me thinking about photography during serious moments; having a toy camera on hand at all times makes me mischievously creative.

Lately, I've been taking fisheye images with a Lomo fisheye lens, mounting it to my digital camera with an adaptor that Lomo included. It works pretty well! It is especially fun for photographing large-scale architecture in experimental ways.

So, while I haven't posted "normal" photos up here in a while, I have updated my Lomohome, which now contains 11 galleries.

[What's that? Oh, yes. The lens produces fisheye angles and distortion, but does not produce an image that is larger than the CCD in my camera in all dimensions (so that the edges would be out of sight), nor does it produce an image small enough to produce a perfectly round image on the CCD (by taking up less than the full screen). There are fisheye lenses which produce round images, and this one might make a round image on the right sort of 120 mm film camera.]
posted by Arlene (Beth)7:59 PM


Losing my mind at Rainbow Grocery

I spend a lot of time bothering other people about what they eat. (Largely in vain, I should add.) It's been a while since I went into detail about my own habits. So I'm going to list what we purchased today, at Rainbow Grocery (, a local cooperative grocery store which emphasizes organic and vegetarian foods. They have GREAT stuff - really high quality, extremely fresh, fabulous selection, minimal packaging for many items - it's quite wonderful.

Today, we shopped hungry. That was dangerous and good at the same time. Most of the items below are organic - even the packaged things - but it looks silly to have the word appear so many times. I'm posting these in the order they appear on the receipt.

-California sliced sourdough bread
-Condado Tempranillo and Verdejo (Spanish wines, a red and a white)
-mixed, imported, Italian olives
-marinated green olives
-buckwheat soba
-assorted milk chocolate chips
-white chocolate chips
-dried mangoes
-jelly beans ("Jolly" beans)
-cocoa powder
-rotelli pasta (aka rotelle, aka spirals)
-polenta (corn meal)
-sea salt
-dried yellow split peas
-New York flatbread crackers, "everything" (thin crackers with garlic chips and seeds - like the best part of an "everything" bagel)
-Italian Montasio cheese (smelly but really fabulous)
-Pecorino Ginepro cheese (cheese made with juniper and balsamic vinegar - I haven't tried it before)
-pepper jack cheese
-cherry ginger brew (2 bottles)
-a white chocolate bar with vanilla bits in it
-palak paneer (precooked Indian food, pouch)
-baigan bharta (precooked Indian food, pouch)
-Kashmir spinach (precooked Indian food, pouch)
-rahmen, various kinds I haven't tried before, several sounding suspiciously low-fat and healthy
-Martinelli's sparkling apple cherry cider
-refried beans with green chilies (several cans)
-pretzels (2 kinds)
-red corn chips
-tamari (soy sauce)
-peanut butter
-marinara sauce
-Silk (soymilk)
-gala apples
-navel oranges
-loose spinach (this is an unusually short list of green veggies for us, but it's time to harvest our garden chard)
-yogurt, local, various flavors
-tamales, 8, two different fillings (pumpkin + cheddar; green chili + cheese)
-miso paste.

I'll buy additional fresh veggies over the course of the week, so that they're used within a couple of days of being purchased.

So the implied meals are: tamales with refried beans; nachos (refried beans and pepper jack cheese over chips, with other toppings we already have), miso soup, pasta with marinara sauce, cheese + olives + flatbread + wine (what I had as soon as I got home), bread with cheese and spreads I make at home, garlicky spinach stir fry over soba, rahmen with home-grown chard, yellow split pea dal (Indian soup, the Indian precooked entrees with rice, breakfasts of yogurt + cereal + soymilk + fruit, polenta with marinara sauce and melted cheese... You get the idea.
posted by Arlene (Beth)7:29 PM

Friday, March 10, 2006

white hail piles up in San Francisco on my street, March 10, 2006

And to think I was impressed by a little snow atop Mt. Tam this morning.

This evening, just after we ordered dinner, it began to hail.

It began to hail HARD.

It began to hail hard enough to make me suspect that the windows might break.white hail piles up in San Francisco on my street, March 10, 2006

So of course I went outside, into our front door enclosure, and was immediately pummeled by quarter inch lumps of hail.

I did what anyone else would do in my situation: I called my father, to make him LISTEN to the hail. Then I grabbed my camera and began to film the hail.white hail piles up in San Francisco on my street, March 10, 2006

I doubt you need to see a video of hail hitting my window. You've probably seen hail before. But perhaps you haven't seen photos of San Francisco - not the bay area mountains, not hills NEAR San Francisco, but actual streets IN San Francisco - covered in chunks of powdery white stuff since, say, the mid 1970s. That's how long it's been for me.

white hail piles up in San Francisco on my street, March 10, 2006So here are some still images.

These images were taken under adverse lighting conditions, enough so that you might suspect that I am not a professional photographer. It's not my fault, really: I didn't have time to bring in a lighting crew. :-p

white hail piles up in San Francisco on my street, March 10, 2006I should mention that all of this hail arrived in a very short time span: perhaps 15 minutes for the entire hail portion of the storm.

It was preceded by thunder and lightning; it was followed by a light rain; and then the storm was gone. Just plain gone.
white hail piles up in San Francisco on my street, March 10, 2006
[Yes, as a matter of fact, Steven DID hit me with a snowball. While I was filming. It served me right. And he didn't pack it too hard.]

One of my cymbidiums was damaged by the hail; I'll wait until tomorrow to have a closer, daylit look.

P.S. No, it's not melting very quickly. Yes, it's very cold out: around 40 last time I checked. Yes, my neighbors are trying to drive in it, and the sickly sounds their tires make as they skid uncontrollably down the hill are quite unpleasant. Yes, my friends in Northern Europe will make fun of me if they see how excited I was over a bit of hail.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:41 PM


Jitra Thai Delivers IN HAILSTORMS!

I have to give a special shout-out to the delivery folks from Jitra Thai, our local neighborhood Thai place. We had put our dinner order in right before the storm started up; the storm arrived; and then it was immediately apparent that it wasn't safe to drive up our street. We weren't sure what to do: should we call and cancel? We couldn't go get it, but they wouldn't be able to reach us.

The next thing I know, Steven is out on the front steps, saying, "I didn't think you would make it!!" And sure enough, the delivery guy had tried to drive up our street unsuccessfully - it's something like a 20% grade, and the hail made it impassable. So he parked at the bottom of the hill and walked up to deliver our food to us. THAT is dedication. Also: the food was all still piping hot.

So here's some praise for Jitra Thai: neither lightning, nor hail, nor 20% grades covered with hail will stop the nice people there from delivering delicious, hot Thai food to your San Francisco door.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:23 PM

There was a light dusting of snow in San Francisco this morning! The snow level could drop down to 500 feet tonight! It's just amazing. We could see the slightest bit of snow atop Mount Tamalpais this morning. And on the walk to the shuttle stop, the streets were cold, slick, and frosty-looking.

And to think I've been hoping for perfectly mild bicycling weather.

Instead, it's been perfect weather for taking a shuttle bus to work, sitting indoors, and eating delicious, juicy oranges and drinking hot tea.


It is a wet spring, and all of the Bay Area microclimates seem to have gotten drenched. For the past two weeks I've been working at Sierra Point in South San Francisco, watching the wading birds seeking lunch in the bay shallows, and marveling that sheltered trees here are only beginning to set blossoms. (The cherry and plum blossoms are long gone from my neighborhood, having already set abundant leaves. My neighborhood is just 6 miles west.) San Bruno Mountain, towering over us, is a bright and festive green, to the likely annoyance of the native deer, who blend in so well with the three-season brown-gold grasses.

My garden is lush with oxalis and herbs. The parsley is thriving, the thyme is carpeting large areas, the mild oreganos are reaching their leafy stems upward, and the rosemary is plotting its dominance while coming back from a harsh trimming. The cold has discouraged me from trying to plant lettuces, which I feared would be washed away by the rain before they had a chance to really set roots. The red and yellow chard is lovely in the sunlight, but seems a bit tough: I'm not sure what would make its leaves more tender if not this wet weather.

The small greenhouse (akin to a short, double-wide phone booth) is being surrounded by a princess flower tree to the south and a very happy [gray plant with purple flowers] to the east; with the house on the west and fence on the south, I suspect it won't be as accommodating for cherry-sized yellow pear tomatoes this year as it's been in the past. It gets dappled sunlight until afternoon, which Steven thinks will be enough for the leggy plants. I'm not as certain.

Fall would have been the best time to plant cilantro seeds, which reseeded themselves in past years, but last summer they were chomped away in their youth by little garden critters. We didn't get to enjoy ANY home-grown cilantro last year. Somehow, after growing my own and eating it moments after clipping it, store-bought cilantro doesn't taste anywhere near fresh enough.


I biked to work on Monday, despite being able to exhale large clouds of steam into the cold air. The roads were all wet; portions of Tunnel Avenue were flooded; the cold air hurt my lungs. Oh, and it rained all through the afternoon, which I luckily foresaw just early enough to run outside and put a plastic bag over my bike seat. By 5:30 the rain had stopped, the wind had died down, and the pavements had dried off a bit. Despite morning regrets, I had a lovely evening ride home, and felt pleased with myself for squeezing a 15.6 mile ride in while I could. I was a bit mud-spattered when I got home, but the exercise had done me so much good.
posted by Arlene (Beth)7:12 PM

stylish red and white futuristic interior of Kwanjai Thai restaurantI have been eating warming food from warmer climates. Kwanjai Thai, at 3242 Scott Street (between Chestnut & Lombard) in the Marina is a retro-futuristic, red and white restaurant with DELICIOUS dishes, served on stylish plates. We went for lunch, and the servings were generous and attractively presented.

As an added bonus, the food has a WONDERFUL spice level, which can be adjusted to suit your tastes. I ordered Tofu With Spicy Basil to be spicy, and the waitress asked if I wanted it to be Thai Spicy or American Spicy. OF COURSE I asked for Thai spicy. (Just to ensure that I was qualified to handle Thai spicy, she asked if anyone in our group had been to Thailand: I had, and so that put her mind at ease.)

Thai spicy doesn't just mean hot. Instead, my very fresh dish, with potent fresh basil leaves, fried tofu, sliced fresh chilies, and a wonderfully flavorful sauce, had a subtle, deep, pleasant heat. I had expected my first bite to burn, and when it didn't, I thought that something had gone wrong. But by the time I was enjoying my second bite, a deep, warm heat spread throughout my mouth. It was DELICIOUS - hot, but not in a way that kept me from enjoying the dish's other flavors.

my dining party at of Kwanjai Thai restaurantSteven had Peanut Tofu, in which fresh tofu was covered in a smooth, rich, spicy peanut sauce. It had more depth than most other peanut sauces I tried, and was really quite delightful on tofu. The restaurant also catered to fans of NON-SPICY food: my friend P asked for a very mild dish, a crab fried rice, and enjoyed its flavorful mildness even while being amusingly distracted by the presence of crab claws as a decorative garnish.


P's reaction to the presence of the claws reminds me of something that happened when I was playing hostess recently. A houseguest from Germany adored San Francisco's Chinatown, and so we took him on a tour of both the touristy part, and then the bustling, authentic part of the commercial district. He was enthralled by the "real" part: its vibrancy, the wild stores full of unfamiliar items, and the bakeries. (He had a fondness for those deep fried, sesame-covered balls filled with red bean paste.)

As we were on our way to show him Union Square, just so he could check that off his list from friends, we passed a butcher shop. It was the sort of shop that had roasted animals of various sorts hanging from neck hooks in the window, and a dismembered turtle looking quite unrecognizable in the front window, quite bloody, which had to be identified to me by a passerby. Our guest ventured inside, just to see what unusual sights he might see, and as we walked away, a truck began to unload its wares for the shop. The truck was filled with live, small, red-brown chickens in short crates. A workman was taking chickens out of the crates and putting them into cardboard produce boxes. He'd grab one from the crowded cage, and force it into a box. The chickens who had already been boxed were sticking their heads out of the opening in the lids, and out of the airholes - the workman would reach over to mash them back in, and they would all duck (no pun intended).

Our houseguest looked mortified. He turned to me and said, "That is disgusting!" He was clearly concerned with the treatment of the chickens. Yet... he is an omnivore, and likes to eat both chicken and fish dishes.

I thought about it for a minute, and said, "I don't eat animals, and I haven't eaten them for 20 years. But I think that people who do, should really know the animals they eat." I meant that if you're going to eat chicken, you should not only be familiar with chickens, but also the way they go from being a live bird to being a dish on your plate.

He got it right away. We'd just eaten lunch, and he hadn't really given thought to where his food had come from. It could have come from the same truck.


I don't think this is what the Cibo Matto song "Know Your Chicken" is about. But the last time I read an interview with Cibo Matto (before they broke up the band), they said that they are both vegetarian, but people often send them foods that aren't. So maybe they were suggesting something.


Which reminds me: Wikipedia, my favorite encyclopedia and web reference source, has a list of songs about food and beverages, which is quite stellar.


Spicy food is so warming during cold weather: it's a wonder that the spiciest dishes seem to come from the warmest climates. Though chili peppers do love hot weather, it's a wonder that demand for them didn't spread into places where people need to be warmed from the inside most.
posted by Arlene (Beth)7:08 PM

Mee Mee bakery makes WONDERFUL fortune cookies. Have I mentioned this before? They do. Their little storefront, crowded to the front windows by enormous industrial baking equipment, always has a nice collection of fresh fortune cookies and little buttery-looking cookies. And the fortune cookies are just right: sugary and crisp, without any eggy-undertones that would distract me.

I regret that I haven't been near Grant Street to have an excuse to drop by and resupply myself.
posted by Arlene (Beth)7:04 PM

More on toast mosaics. It is just like me to be pleased with myself for having posted links to images of the world's largest and second largest toast mosaics in this blog. Not only have I posted the links, but I have intentionally brought the toast mosaics up in casual conversation, just to I could show them to people.

Because I'm a freak. You knew that already.

What I failed to mention, in my excitement over the Funabashi toast mosaic, is that artistic uses of toast are not JUST about breaking records. No. There are thoughtful toast works of other sorts that crop up now and then, and they are quite respectable, even though they are not striving to beat some record. They're not just about size or volume: they're about QUALITY.

Of course I have examples.

The First International Art Biennial in Buenos Aires ( in 2000 & 2001 included a project called "The Toaster," and the making of and final work are on display on this page. It's a very fine looking toaster, don't you think?

New Zealand artist Maurice Bennet's Toast Works are quite fun to behold: an entire gallery of his work on and with toast. He's even made COSTUMES out of toast. Yes. He has. Go look. (Of course, I got to him through a link that also shows Deborah Sperber's thread spool mosaics, which aren't edible, but which are also quite remarkable.)

And no one every said that the patterns on the toast had to be plain. Knautia has posted 'Following the way of the toaster', which is a small scale display of toast art where each piece is a separate work.

The World Wide Web is an amazing tool for sharing knowledge.
posted by Arlene (Beth)7:00 PM

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Food safety and democracy: both for sale. House votes to dump state food safety laws (, 3/9/06) reports on the sad passage of laws that forbid states from having food safety rules. Quotes:
Corporations and trade groups that joined the National Uniformity for Food Coalition, which backed the bill, have contributed more than $3 million to members in the 2005-06 election cycle and $31 million since 1998, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The article goes on to tell you who did the fundraising, and who is their donor for the White House, and on and on.

FOOD SAFETY. Seriously, is nothing sacred?
posted by Arlene (Beth)7:21 AM

And you think the bird flu has PEOPLE freaked out. SFGate: Day In Pictures: "Poultry slam" (, 3/8/06). If men in moonsuits chased you, imagine how YOU'D feel. The caption notes that 100,000 domestic birds were killed in the Romanian town where the photo was taken.
posted by Arlene (Beth)7:19 AM

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Good girl. Sit. Sit. Good! Keyword! Keyword! Good girl!sea anemone I finished my latest stock agency submission today... and found a bug in the new software that is supposed to make it all easier by telling you where you missed something, but it won't let you actually LOOK at the results. Lucky me. But I worked around it.

And now I'm too tired to catch up on mail or blog or PLAY on the computer. But I'm sure I'll be less tired of staring at this screen soon. Suuuuure I will.

As a consolation prize to anyone who is waiting with anticipation for my mom's version of 'unlike mom used to make,' I am attaching a completely unrelated photograph of a sea anemone. It makes ME feel better, even if it doesn't make YOU feel better. Sorry.
posted by Arlene (Beth)10:31 PM

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I laughed so hard I cried.. McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Reviews of New Food ( has food reviews with comments like: "[brand of chocolate bar] has a wonderfully smooth texture and glides down your throat like a child down a well. "

They are amazingly entertaining. Do not attempt to eat or drink while reading these, for your own safety and that of your keyboard.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:33 PM

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