The Rug Gallery: Hotbed of Liberalism

My Cat . the Porn Star
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This is what I live with... every day. Even our other cat, The Boo, thinks he's weird.

My Cat the Pr0n Star
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Yes, he's fixed. No I don't know why he does this. He's just a pervert.


Informative Structural Analysis Video
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The Cure - End of the World & Lovesong Live 2008 in Houston
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This is from the self-titled CD from 2004.


Holy guacamole, isn't anyone on my f-list a Cure fan??!!

ETA: the 2nd half has a nice version of Lovesong too.

"Out of This World" Live
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Recorded June 9, 2008 at the Toyota Center.
lyricsCollapse )

New song by The Cure: "A Boy I Never Knew
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Husband recorded this in Houston during The Cure's 4Tour.



(This won't be available for awhile yet. It just finished processing at 11:06 central time.)

ETA: It's available for viewing.

R a pe in the Congo: Blog in Solidarity
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For millenia, r a pe has been used as a weapon of terror against women. The women of the Congo are the latest mass victims: hundreds of thousands of women have been raped by looting soldiers in a bloody civil war that has raged since the 1980s.
Melissa MacEwan of Shakespeare's Sister has more. See if you can get through this powerful and disturbing post. I'm sure having trouble finishing it.

Donate to CARE to support the women of Congo.

The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo won the Sundance Festival award for best documentary. It is being shown on HBO.

ETA: This post has been getting spam due to the four-letter word that begins with R. That's what happens in a r a pe culture.

It's raining, it's pouring...
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...And I hope my tomato plants don't get pummeled to pulp.

"Oh-crud-what-did-I-put-in-this-lemme-write-it down-real-quick" Chicken
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I had to write this down tonight so I wouldn't forget. My big problem w/ cooking is repeatable results, which is why I'm so fond of my Ras el Hanout spice mixes.

2 tsp cumin
~1 tsp coriander seed
~1/4 tsp black pepper
~1/2 to 1 tsp allspice
1 Tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
~1/2 to 1 tsp ground ginger
~ 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes (optional)

~4 lb chicken thighs and legs, skin and excess fat removed. Note: If desired, you can leave the skin on some of the thighs and brown them, but this is a pain in the ass and requires scraping skin off the bottom of your Dutch oven. I gave up after 4 pieces. ("Bored now.") I also used a free-range chicken so it wasn't nearly as fatty as using a battery-raised chicken.

2 onions, halved and sliced thin
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
~2-3 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 C red wine. Or so.
~2 C broth, or to cover
1 large sweet potato, halved lengthwise and cut into large pieces
(I would have added carrots but I ran out of room in the pot)
Grated zest from one nicely scrubbed lemon (Yea, Microplane!)
(ETA) 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Toast cumin, coriander seed, allspice and pepper in dry skillet; pour into heat-safe container. When cool enough, grind spices in your spice grinder (a coffee grinder used only for spices), then combine with paprika, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.

Have red wine, broth or other liquid ready to deglaze pan. If you don't have liquids ready, you might be doomed. Just saying.

In a heavy Dutch oven, saute onion in olive oil on med or med-high heat until they brown and soften. Watch that they don't burn on the bottom. I used a ton of onions this time, and didn't bother to caramelize them a whole lot because I was tired of standing.

Shove onion to the side of the pot.

Add minced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add dry spices and stir for about 30 sec. Add tomato paste. Watch the hell out of it!!!!

Deglaze with wine and stir the hell out of it. Add additional broth if necessary.

After you deglaze and scrape up yummy stuff from the bottom of the pan, place chicken pieces in, making sure that every piece is level and will able to be submerged in the broth. Add Sweet potato pieces. Add more broth if needed. In this batch, the sweet potato was not submerged at first, but sank down as the chicken cooked.

At this point, you have two cooking options: 1. Simmer for ~1 hour on the stovetop, which requires some watching to make sure it doesn't either a)boil or b) just sit there and not do anything. Recommended when it's too damn hot to turn your oven on.

2. Bring the liquid to a boil on the stovetop, then turn off and cover the pot with a piece of foil. Place the lid on the pot and try to seal the edges with the foil. Then bake in a 300 deg. F oven for about an hour.

I got tired of checking the progress using Option 1, so I switched to Option 2 after about 30 min.

Remove from oven/stovetop, remove lid and let cool a bit. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and maybe some chopped cilantro if you have any. Fresh pita bread is nice too.

The result: YUM!

Kitchen stuff you should have
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Someone's comment on a friend's blog started me to thinking about the kitchen equipment I would recommend to novice cooks. Sure, I have a potato masher, a Bundt cake pan and an oyster knife--but what do I use every day, or every week? Here's my list. Note that it's better to buy one or two nice pieces at a time and build up your cooking arsenal gradually, instead of getting a 187-piece set that's either crap or freakishly expensive. And for Pete's sake check out Ebay or the local restaurant supply warehouse. You don't need a designer chef's knife for crying out loud.

Forschner (Victorinox) chef's knives: You gotta have a good knife. A crappy knife is worse than no knife at all. Forschner is one of the two Swiss companies that makes Swiss Army knives. This feels good in your hand and you can get one for under $25. And you can stick it in the dishwasher. If you can get only one thing from this list, it would be this.

If you get a decent knife or knife set, it's also a good idea to have a sharpening steel to straighten out the blade before each use. I've got a diamond-coated one that sharpens AND straightens the blade. (Thanks, FIL!)

Heavy-ass Dutch Oven: And I do mean heavy, for even cooking and temperature retention. Enameled or cast-iron--I have both. You can use a Dutch oven for soups and stews, pot roasts, even breads. The Lodge company has info on caring for cast-ron cookware. No brillo padz, plz!!

2-qt saucepan w/ tight-fitting lid: if you like to make rice. Like all pots and pans, it should be heavy, esp. on the bottom, and not feel light or flimsy.

Plastic cutting boards: Get them at Target, at restaurant supply houses (super cheap), IKEA... I have several. Some people have color coded ones-one for meats, one for veggies, etc.

Non-stick skillet: If you like omelets. NOTE: Don't turn the heat up past med-high, otherwise you'll ruin the coating. Don't get a thin, cheap one. It should be heavy. I have one for omelets and another with a lid for other, non-omelet stuff.

Silicone spatula: Sick of accidentally melting plastic or nylon spatulas? Silicone ones are non-stick and heat resistant to 500 deg. F. Get 'em about anywhere.

Also:

  • A ton of cheap kitchen towels and dishcloths. You can find them at IKEA or Tuesday Morning or wherever. I get white or unbleached ones so I can use hot water w/o worrying about fading.

  • Measuring spoons and cups

  • Pyrex casserole dishes for heating stuff up in the microwave, or storing the stew you made in your Dutch oven.


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