"When your day seems topsy turvey
And as stormy as can be
There's nothing quite as tranquil
As a nice hot cup of tea

While you savor this ambrosia
Your problems fade away
Its warmth will bring you comfort
And brighten up your day

So take a private moment
There's a calmness as you'll see
All because you briefly stopped
To sip a cup of tea."

- Anonymous

March 17, 2008

pots of mold

Cue cheesy Irish music.

This just in... time for St. Patrick's Day: "Changing Shades of Green," a report published by the Irish American Climate Project in which Kevin Sweeney, director of the project argues, "The lush greens could turn to brown and the soft rains that people talk about as a blessing -- 'May the rains fall soft upon your field' -- those soft rains could turn harsh."

In short, less rain means less potatoes and brown grass. Emerald Isle "will look and feel and be different. And that's the subtlety we want to explain here. We don't want to project that this is a catastrophe. What it is, is it's heartbreaking."


March 7, 2008

pay your rent and eat it too... or something like that

We've all seen the signs, "$1 Value Meal." Great! What a bargain! Ok, so not really. Tom Philpott of Grist breaks it down for you here: "people are gaining weight and getting sick because unhealthy food is cheaper than healthy food -- thanks in large part to federal policies."

Sweetness and Power If the USDA's food pyramid recommends two to five cups of fruits and vegetables per day, its budget -- mandated by Congress through the Farm Bill -- encourages different behavior altogether. Will the real food pyramid please stand up?

Cheap corn, underwritten by the subsidy program, has changed the diet of every American. It has allowed a few corporations -- including Archer Daniels Midland, the world's largest grain processor -- to create a booming market for high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS now accounts for nearly half of the caloric sweeteners added to processed food, and is the sole caloric sweetener for mass-market soft drinks.

According to Drewnowski and his student Pablo Monsivais, cheap and abundant additives such as HFCS allow manufacturers to sweeten food liberally without adding much to their production costs. For people on a tight budget, these additives can also make cheap food the most efficient way to get calories.

Ok, I'll stop there, I don't want to bog you down with all this information. However, I do encourage you to read the article. Stop playing Solitaire and do something productive at work today.

Now, on the reason for this post... Pay Rent and Eat Too? This was an article published yesterday by, yet again, Tom Philpott. The sparknotes version: it discusses the rising food prices and who will pay the cost.

With food on the brain, here's your weekly dose (by the way, I know a good whale stew recipe if your interested):

How about Brunch? Do you need a drink to wash this down? I do.

Champagne Eye-Opener

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup papaya juice
2 ounces Grand Marnier liqueur
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 (750-ml) bottle good quality Brut sparkling wine or Champagne
8 strawberry halves, garnish

In a blender or food processor, puree the strawberries. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a tall pitcher, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract the juice. Add the papaya juice, Grand Marnier, and sugar, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate until well chilled. Add the sparkling wine to the pitcher and stir gently to mix. Pour into tall Champagne glasses and garnish each glass with a strawberry half. Serve immediately.

March 6, 2008

a whale of a time

On Monday a Norwegian pro-whaling lobby argued that eating whale could save the planet. They cite that "harpooning the giant mammals is less damaging to the climate than farming livestock." But Greenpeace says, "The survival of a species is more important than lower greenhouse-gas emissions from eating it." The study shows "greenhouse gas emissions caused by one meal of beef are the equivalent of eight meals of whale meat."

You can read more of this debate on Reuters.

March 3, 2008

For Viewers Like You

It all began with a question on February 17, 2008: Is PBS Still Necessary? The New York Times published this article in light of the Bush administration’s proposition for “taking a hefty whack out of the federal subsidy for public broadcasting.” Sparking much controversy and leading to many conversations within the past week, the author, Charles McGrath argues, “The audience for public TV has been shrinking, while on the other side of the ledger, the audience for public radio has been growing.” He attributes the dwindling number of PBS viewers to the countless cable channels on which to view niche programming. He states that “there are not only countless more channels to choose from, but many offer the kind of stuff that in the past you could see only on public TV, and in at least some instances they do it better.” NPR on the other hand, “attracts fewer political enemies and cost much less.”

He concludes his article with this final statement: “At its best public television adds a little grace note to our lives, but public radio fills a void.” With a stab at NewsHour’s Jim Lehrer and a comment about the mustiness of the programming, McGrath opened the flood-gates for angry PBS viewers to put in their two cents.

Their tones, mostly defensive and in support of PBS funding, they argue that PBS provides “a gem that encourages not only free thinking and creative views, but education and objectivity.” Some argue that PBS’ programming is far from redundant because “not everyone has cable.” On the contrary, those who want to see budget cuts, argue the market should decide.

By analyzing the New York Time’s article and its massively generated responses, one can see that the positive comments vastly outweigh the negative. So, what I am about to say next might shock you. While I’m not going to dispute that PBS’ programming is high in quality, I am going to dispute the need for government funding. I, like Laurence Jarvik who writes in his book, Behind the Screen, feel that we should allow the market to decide. The government should not be in the position of using other people’s money to try to change people’s values.

“The best possible future would be for PBS to recognize that freedom of expression is strenghtened, not weakened, by the dynamics of the marketplace. A nonprofit, nonmarket system ruled by bureaucratic whim in response to political pressures reduces the range of possible programming available to viewers. If one truly values freedom, especially freedom of speech, one must honestly recognize that a free marketplace of ideas cannot possibly exist in an intellectual and administrative environment hostile to the very concept of the free market itself.”

February 29, 2008

to-do's and to-don'ts

It's almost time for yoga and most of the world is still asleep. Everything's so still, so quiet. With a fresh pot of coffee, I watch the sun rise. The air is cool, but it doesn't quite feel like February. As I sit here typing I realize this is the only time that I allow myself to slow down. My calendar is full of to-do's and I don't take the time to reflect.

I've been sick for a week now, and I've really only wanted to eat dry cereal. It's a default; back to a child-like tendency.

Cheerio® Bars

Prep Time:15 min
Start to Finish:45 min
Makes:15 bars

1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups miniature marshmallows or 1 bag (10 oz) regular marshmallows
6 cups Cheerios® cereal
1 cup salted peanuts (optional)

1. Spray 9-inch square pan with cooking spray; spray back of large spoon with cooking spray.
2. In 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows; cook until melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gently stir in cereals and peanuts.
3. Press in pan with back of sprayed spoon. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. For bars, cut into 3 rows by 5 rows; wrap individually in plastic wrap.

Tips from the kitchen
Try Honey Nut Cheerios®, Frosted Cheerios® or Corn Chex® cereal.

For more Recipes check out cheerios.com.

February 26, 2008

Someone pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Corporate Greed
Corporate Power
Corporate Control

All lead to one thing. Ralph Nader. He's Back! Yes. Ralph Nader announced on "Meet the Press" that he will be joining the presidential race. So what does this mean? Is he merely a pawn in this political game? Is he solely responsible for Gore's loss in 2000?

The Arizona Republic, oh wait, did you want me to answer these rhetorical questions? Anyway, it reports "Nader is aiming to be the "None of the Above" candidate at a time when the nation is long beyond protest votes."

Alright so here it is... the point. Ralph is old (he turns 74 tomorrow)and he's not only trying to save face, but seeks to run on a platform with little relevance. I say if you want an alternative candidate vote Libertarian, vote Ron Paul (yes, I know he's running on the Republican ticket). He's "Nader 2.0" but with a stronger platform.

February 22, 2008

Twinkies, Letterman, and the Food Network

If you're like me, college life doesn't exactly leave you much time to eat. Between work and class I really don't have time to do anything else but sleep. Anyway, with a my Criminology exam this morning I thought for Friday's menu we would have "brain food." By the way, don't let Twinkies do this to you:

The Twinkie Defense

and now for your Brain Food...


Sweet Popcorn Treats

for more snacks check out the Food Network's Website.

Speaking of the Food Network, everyone knows Martha Stewart's latest purchase but perhaps you didn't know the two of them were on Letterman's top 10. Click here to watch.

Have a great Friday!

February 18, 2008

bee mine

So it still lingers in the air. Call it love, call it whatever. But as the Valentine's Day hangover is wearing off, I find an article about another sweet thing. Ice Cream. Now, I don't particularly like ice cream. Actually I hate it. Anyway, Haagen-Dazs, which is owned by the less than environmentally conscious Nestle, is starting to realize what many "environmentalist have argued for some time now."

Here's what Grist had to say about it:

Haagen-Dazs is warning that a creature as small
as a honeybee could become a big problem for the premium ice cream maker's

At issue is the disappearing bee colonies in
the United States, a situation that continue to mystify scientists and frighten

That's because, according to Haagen-Dazs,
one-third of the U.S. food supply - including a variety of fruits, vegetables
and even nuts - depends on pollination from bees.

Haagen-Dazs, which is owned by Nestle, said
bees are actually responsible for 40% of its 60 flavors - such as strawberry,
toasted pecan and banana split.

So my opinion? I am glad companies are finally bringing to light these issues. A report such as this one, allows consumers to be, not only aware of what goes into their food, but what goes into the process of making it as well. We make blind consumption decisions, and are ill-informed of the consequences of something as simple as buying ice cream. This information probably won't save the world, but it is a step in the right direction of smarter consumption.

For more information visit these websites:

And if that wasn't enough, view Google News Search or Google Blog Search.

February 15, 2008

breakfast in bed

5:00 am My dream is interrupted by the alarm. I hit the snooze. Yoga just wasn't happening.

It's the day after Valentine's and I like to imagine everyone, everywhere is enjoying breakfast in bed. The smell of fresh squeezed oranges. "Lingers of moments, aftertaste of thoughts." I'm going back to sleep.

Godiva Chocolate & Roasted Pecan Pancakes

Your Favorite Pancake Mix
Roasted Pecans
Godiva dark chocolate chips
Ice Cream optional
Your Sweetheart's favorite syrup or melted chocolate (I'll have mine without)

Prepare your favorite pancake mix, then add roasted chopped pecans and godiva dark chocolate chips. Serve with favorite syrup and enjoy a quick and sinful breakfast!

February 14, 2008

Roses are red, Violets are blue...

Go Green, do it on bamboo.

How-to "green" your sex life this Valentine's Day:

1. Soften your sheets. "Luxuriate on silky-soft organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp linens, grown and manufactured without pesticides and other nasty toxics."

2. Shower together. It will save water and time.

3. Trade in your toys.

4. Turn on... new lighting. Try candles or no light at all.

5. Family Planning. Enough said.

6. Green Flowers.

7. Send an E-card.

8. Fair Trade Gifts.

For more details check out this website.

February 11, 2008

sprint or jog?

Curled up on the sofa I hadn't moved at all weekend. Ok, I lied. I went to my cardio class. But, for the most part, I was on a deserted island, or so I pretended. I accepted very few phone calls and used very little technology. It was perfect. Occasionally I have to pretend I'm alone in a cabin with the nearest city miles away. It's the next best thing to a real vacation. Anyway, back in reality today, I realized I wasn't doing near enough to help the environment. And then it occurred to me that in order to improve the environment, I have to further improve my health.

So, it's February 11th and everyone's already preparing for spring break. There's nothing more annoying than those who want to sprint to that finish line. Health-improvement shouldn't be a two-week journey and neither should environmentalism. Try starting a food diary or a waste diary. A lifestyle change can result in subconscious improvements over time.

February 8, 2008


I love when my roommate leaves town. It's not that I don't like her, I just like to relax and have the house to myself. So, for Friday's menu, something easy:

Easy Mushroom Rice
The mushrooms are optional

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (4 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Combine rice, onion soup, beef broth, mushrooms and butter in an 8x8 inch casserole dish.
Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 60 minutes.

February 6, 2008

junk mail

It's the end of the day and you have yet to decide what you want to change. You aren't ready to take on the challenges of a drastically different lifestyle, but the guilt weighs in, you know something needs to happen.

5 Steps to a Greener You:

1. Stop the Junk Mail, Opt Out!

2. Paper You Can Plant.

3. Save the Turtles, Eliminate The Choking Hazards.

4. Compost it

5. Turn off Lights - yeah it's that simple.

alcohol or chocolate?

I don't partake in Lent, and I don't particularly like to discuss religion. However, I can't help but wonder, "What will you give up today?" Maybe, instead of caffeine you will make a conscious effort to improve the environment. Maybe today you'll say, "it's the little things that count;" and you'll change a light bulb or ride your bike. Maybe you'll dare to try no impact living. Maybe, just maybe, you can have your cake and eat it to.

February 5, 2008

it had to be you

Today is filled with sweet music. At my second job, my boss asked me to put this music video to an HD tape. I was thinking, "PBS is showing music videos? This will be interesting." Anyway, after watching this video I was... words can't even describe and it gets better... The story behind this film is amazing and inspiring and... Not only was it made right here in town, but it is set to air on MTV soon! It was made entirely by "stop motion animation" and having done quite a bit of editing myself, I can certainly appreciate the time and effort put into this project. That being said, I will let it speak for itself...

Video Pitch

I will keep you posted on its schedule air date.

Bryan/College Station Eagle Article

Motion City Soundtrack: It Had to Be You

banana pancakes

Writer's block. Wait, I'm writing about writer's block? Well, that's a whole new blog. Anyway, censoring and editing myself has led to less than inspired posts for the last couple of days. I don't think I've been able to truly communicate the environment and pop culture's relationship. "Going green" maybe be like buying Ugg boots, but I want to believe it is more than an image. I want to trust that celebrities adopt this policy because they genuinely feel it has profound effects.

Even as I sit here sipping my tea, my cup reads "----bucks is committed to reducing our environmental impact through increased use of post-conumer recycled materials. Help us help the planet." The media perpetuates "their" image, but it also helps bring to light those who seriously want to change their lifestyles. It's a catch-22. Can you really judge an issue like environmentalism? If people are going green, because they want to convey this persona, the envrionment still wins. I'm not writing to compare and contrast. Is the media helpful or hurtful? Why do people adopt an environmentalist mentality? You can make that decision for yourself.

So now the real reason for today's post:

Jack Johnson.

What does he have to do with the environment? His album Sleep Through the Static, released today, was "recorded in Hawaii and Los Angeles using analog tape machines powered by solar energy."

February 3, 2008


Ok, so I read this days ago, but I've been so busy that I am just now getting to post it.

Right in time for kickoff...

To Dip or Not to Dip?

This article explains the danger with the french onion dip. The tagline, "On Sunday, millions of Americans will be plopped in front of big-screen TVs watching the Super Bowl — and, yes — stuffing their faces with chips, dip and anything else they can get their hands on." Clemson University attempted to answer the question, "is double dipping really that bad?" The Times reported that "the students found on average, three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from the eater’s mouth to the remaining dip."

Anyway, the moral of the story: If you wouldn't kiss everyone in the room, don't eat the dip.

February 1, 2008

Beginning, Middle, End

[Next on "Friday's Menu"...]

Start the month with a full menu and a full stomach...

I’m a Taurus. So now it’s out there. I don’t read horoscopes, don't need a Virgo and wouldn't be inclined to run from a Leo. But, I do believe in the general classifications and personality traits of the different signs. So, for this Friday, a "diet by sign:"

Atkins Crab Cakes

For added flavor, try these tender crab cakes with a sauce made from mayo spiced with a dash of Old Bay seasoning.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 pound lump crab meat, picked over to remove any shells
1 cup fresh PageLink(Atkins Bread Crumbs), divided
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
2 lemons, cut into wedges for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook bell pepper and green onions until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Add crab, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, parsley and Old Bay. Mix with a fork until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

To assemble crab cakes: Sprinkle the inside of a 1/3 cup solid measuring cup with a thin layer of breadcrumbs. Fill measure with crab mixture and sprinkle a layer of breadcrumbs on top. Pack lightly using hands or another measuring cup. Invert crab cake onto a plastic-wrap lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining breadcrumbs and crab mixture to make 8 crab cakes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

To cook: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer four crab cakes to skillet using a wide metal spatula. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, until golden brown and crisp.

Broiled Lobster with Garlic Oil

I love love love lobster! Hopefully you do too...

2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup mild extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon melted butter
4 live lobsters (2 pounds each)
Coarse (kosher) salt

Set broiler rack at least 6 from the flame, and heat the broiler. Mix together garlic, olive oil and melted butter, and keep warm. Using a large, sharp chefs knife or a Chinese cleaver, hold the lobsters down firmly to a cutting board, and split them in half from head to end. Gently crack the claws by striking them with a meat mallet, small hammer or the spine of the knife. Scoop out the viscera behind the mouth parts, and remove the green roe sacs. Transfer, cut side up, to broiling pans. Brush the lobsters liberally with the butter mixture, and season with a small pinch of coarse salt. Broil four minutes; baste with butter mixture, then finish broiling 3 minutes more. Serve one lobster per person.

Panna Cotta

The name of this dessert means "cooked cream" in Italian, and the recipe is simplicity itself. Vanilla bean imparts the most flavor, but extract is fine in a pinch. Just add 1 teaspoon along with the gelatin.

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
8 packets sugar substitute
1 vanilla bean

Lightly oil 6 6-ounce custard cups. In small bowl sprinkle gelatin over 3 tablespoons cold water, let sit 5 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan combine heavy cream, 1/2 cup water, sugar substitute and scrapped out vanilla bean seeds. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, add gelatin mixture; stir until melted. Pour mixture into prepared cups. Cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Turn out onto serving plates.


January 30, 2008

E 0(h)

Today the first AVMs (Anytime Vending Machines) were activated in Los Angeles.

They're dispensing what? Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot to mention, marijuana. But, these "machines can only be used by people who have been prescribed the drug for health reasons." "Phew!" You're thinking, "They haven't legalized drugs. We're still safe." Well, before I get into that, here is "USA Today's" description on how the machines work:

• Customers bring their prescriptions for approval at the AVMs, housed in enclosed room guarded 24/7.
• They are fingerprinted and photographed.
• They receive a pre-paid credit carded loaded with their individual profiles.
• They choose their dosage (3.5 grams or 7 grams) and one of five strains of marijuana.
• The marijuana is in capsule form and dispensed in vacuum-sealed packages.
• They can buy no more than 1 ounce a week.

The article then goes on to describe the downfall of civilization. The "anticipated future vending: Viagra, Vicodin, Propecia and anti-depressants." Oh what are we to do?

Honestly though, marijuana? How do I put it?

Well, first off, this will require you to abandon the negative connotations of the word "drug" and open your mind. We're talking about a plant. It's natural. It reeks of the environment.

I am so tired of hearing about the recent steps taken in this so-called "hot button issue." The "war on drugs" is just another way for the federal government to infringe upon our liberties and privacy.

There really shouldn't be issue with these machines. They have been put in place for their "convenient access, lower prices, safety, and anonymity." It looks to me like the feds have taken big steps to protect us. The security is "brilliant" making me wonder how convenient are these machines - really?

We should be careful with what we put in guarded vending machines... I wish I could remember the term... Hasty generalization? Post hoc ergo propter hoc? Cum hoc? False analogy?

Oh well, a point to be made, as the credits roll, is that we really should stop fighting [these] wars..."

January 29, 2008

what is real?

The veils of color, seemingly affected by air, light, and atmospheric effects, created transparent forms hovering over shallow spaces. These forms shimmered with light emanating from layers of brown, black, and gray below the surface. The paint transformed itself into an almost recognizable image. It did not represent anything nature but sought to “outdo” nature.

Art is never silent. Most every piece of art has an inner element that grabs the attention of the viewer, calling out to him or her with, at times, such a distinct force that it cannot be ignored. Such works of art speak out, demand attention, and require contemplation, which subsequently leads to, even for only a moment, the attempt on the viewer's behalf to understand the inner meaning of the examined work of art . The viewer may discover through this search that the inner meaning is frequently an expression of the artist's life and the events which surround it.

Art is way a to temporarily escape reality. It allows for the improvement of social relationships through the greater understanding of the human experience. Even in the quiet times, we have different forces pulling us in different directions; and different parts of our lives would like to become the focus all at the same time. By escaping reality, we are able to reflect the underlying nature of the things in our personal unconscious.

As I sit in class tonight, ipod playing, paintbrush in hand, I realize that even the tools I use fail to be environmentally friendly. It didn't use to be that way for artists. Their media was the dirt, the earth. They embodied all that was natural.

I want to get back to that way of creating; to use the materials I pass up everyday. I want to take the soot from my fireplace and create a masterpiece - I will post the picture when I finish.

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