Archive | December, 2010

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious

28 Dec

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man… I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence — as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.

Albert Einstein


The Question

27 Dec

To be, or not to be– that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep
No more – and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to – ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy Orison
Be all my sins remembered.

Santa and Reindeer mugged

26 Dec

CSI on the job

EMS and CSI had just arrived. No more photos. I was told to clear off – nothing to look at here.

Shadows of the recent past

20 Dec

Below are a series of foot prints in a drying lake bed near where I live. I think I can identify most of them, except the species of bird. I would love to read what other people think. If I happen to get someone who really knows what they are doing, please speak up.

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Have you ever been in love?

20 Dec

Thought I would give it a shot.  Sat down to write. – It was there for a fleeting moment – I swear.

But now, it is gone, and I only have a nebulous clue. Something about being run over by a tank and how the experience is so very different for the driver versus the person under the tank. It’s a jumble, thoughts unclear. A minute ago I didn’t even recall that, now I am just staring at the page.

I recently came across this quote in another context – but it seems fitting for the moment

Have you ever been in love?

Horrible isn’t it?

It makes you so vulnerable.  It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you.

They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain.

I hate love.

Neil Gaiman

Breakfast Disasters

18 Dec


Don’t you just hate it when cooking eggs and egg-shell falls in?

Almond Butter Hummus

18 Dec

This is based on Nigella Lawson’s peanut butter hummus recipe as presented on NPR Dec 13, 2010. The major change is using almond butter instead of peanut butter. I will add a few comments  and changes but other than that, this is verbatim.

This makes enough for a party of 10

Note: While I already had most of the ingredient, the other were found at Whole Foods*.

2 x 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 garlic clove, peeled
3-5 tablespoons regular olive oil
1/3 cup creamy almond butter**
3 tablespoons lemon juice, or more as needed
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoons table salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 – 1/3 cup Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons almonds, finely chopped, to serve (optional)This is for decoration. I believe I will use sliced almonds instead.
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, to serve (optional) – Again decoration. Why smoked paprika? It has a nice color that will stand out, unlike regular paprika. This was the most difficult item to find.

breadsticks, mini pitas, crackers, tortilla chips, to serve (optional) – Since this is a dip, use what ever you use. Maybe you have a regional cracker. In Texas, Frito Pie is well-known, but I don’t think I will use Fritos; now Cheetos might work. 🙂


Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put the garlic clove, chickpeas, 3 tablespoons oil, peanut butter, lemon juice, salt, and cumin into a food processor and blitz to a knobbly puree.
Add 1/4 cup of the Greek yogurt and process again; if the hummus is still very thick, add another 1–2  tablespoons of yogurt and the same of oil. (This will often depend on the chickpeas, as different sorts make the hummus thicker or not.)
Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt if you feel it needs it.
(Other spices: 3 others I am considering adding are nutmeg, pumpkin and ginger.)

On serving, mix the chopped almonds with the paprika and sprinkle on top if you wish, and put an array of bits and pieces to eat with or dip in, as you see fit.

If you alter this, and it turns out well, please share it by posting a comment on what you did. Also if it turned out horrible, send that and save some one else from going down that path.

* I am not promoting Whole Foods. It just happen to be convenient at the time and had all the ingredients.  May save you some driving time.


I think one may want to add more almond butter than called for. Peanut butter is a bit stronger and the batch I made didn’t have enough almond for me. I took a small portion and added  about 3 ml of almond extract, some garlic spice and a bit more olive oil because it was thick. Also I warmed it up, since it had been in the refrigerator, in the microwave so it was about room temperature. This  appeared to have brought out the aroma and improved the texture.

If  you make it and alter the recipe, please post a comment on what you did.

Alternate Almond Butter Hummus (I guess great minds think alike) and 2nd reference

**Note: Both of these alternate recipes have a much higher ratio of almond butter to chickpeas, almost 2 to 3 times more. Adding the almond extract afterward seem to fix my batch.