Towse: views from the hill

August 24, 2008

Follow up on "The Omnivore’s Hundred" list

Filed under: food,web2.0 — Towse @ 12:18 am

Follow up on The Omnivore’s Hundred list post.

K asked,
Where on the list are: head cheese, Rocky Mtn.Oysters, Finnan haddi?

I’ve eaten head cheese and Finnan haddie.

Mom used to make Finnan haddie when we were young. Not one of my faves at the time. Didn’t like her Swedish meatballs either. Maybe I would now.

She used to make Grandma Towse’s goulash — which is not really goulash by any stretch of the imagination — and humored me by letting me have the macaroni and the ground beef and the tomatoes separate on my plate. She then tossed the ingredients together for the goulash for the rest of the family. For some reason, I liked the ingredients fine apart but I thought that goulash was awful.

Note: this is the singular instance I can recall of Mom making anything special for anyone not much liking what she was making for dinner. I think it was because I wasn’t asking her to go much out of her way — just give me the separate ingredients before you mix them all together.

Had Kobe beef as part of a Dissident Chef dinner over at Crush Pad last night.

Earlier this week, after his nibs had seen my list, he said I’d already eaten both Kobe beef and horse.

“Really?” I said. “Horse?”

“Yes,” he answered. “Well, =I= had it in France and I don’t think I’ve been there without you.”

Maybe so. I have a mind like a sieve.

I meet your head cheese, Rocky Mtn.Oysters, Finnan haddie and raise you:

  • tongue (beef tongue is soul food for his nibs)
  • pork or lamb kidney (kidneys of any sort. I like them. his nibs doesn’t.)
  • tarasun (Buryat ‘vodka’ distilled from soured milk)
  • fiddle-leaf ferns
  • yak (We passed on a chance to eat yak eyeballs.)
  • Retsina
  • chicken feet
  • scrapple
  • tripe or menudo

and I’ll stop there.

August 22, 2008

Comcast mail and Usenet connections have been refused since yesterday p.m. What changed?

Filed under: app,webstuff — Towse @ 10:21 pm

Those of you spot the tweets over >>> there will notice that I was having problems with e-mail and Usenet connectivity since yesterday.

What changed?

After much poking and what not, here’s what needed changing. I’m putting it here so I can find it again should the situation pop up.

Error msgs indicated that comcast mail connection refused as was Wassup with that?

Being as I send mail to my personal accounts both to and to a gmail account as backup, I could still read my e-mails.

As an aside … turns out =still= that about 10% of mail sent to lands in some sys$null in comcastland. The mail that is picked up from the gmail account is more complete. I check the bin every once in a bit in case someone sent e-mail directly to the account. Usually the only source of mail sent directly to the account is comcast itself.

I use the gmail account when I’m “wandering”. …
When I’m “home,” Tbird grabs the gmail account POP mail and puts it in my local folder.

SOLN: (hours later): for whatever reason thunderbird.exe was no longer on McAfee’s goodguy list. Add thunderbird.exe to the goodguy list maintained by McAfee’s firewall.

That cleared some of the problems, but next up: timed out.

SOLN: the word from gmail. Simply put: Use port 995. Have SSL set.

So what happened ‘twixt then and now? I’m not sure. I suspect the problems with the McAfee firewall are connected with an update they pushed yesterday. I have no idea where the port/SSL problems with gmail came from. Maybe I fiddled things around while I was trying to make things work earlier today and forgot to set things back where they were. Happens.

Update: Outgoing mail wasn’t going out this morning. (You can tell how much e-mail =I= send.) Had to set the port for to 587. blocks the default port: 25.

Fish Tale Has DNA Hook – Students Find Bad Labels

Filed under: food,news,technology — Towse @ 9:25 pm

Fish Tale Has DNA Hook – Students Find Bad Labels –

Two teenagers, recently graduated from high school, decided to check whether the fish in restaurants and at the fishmongers is really what it’s labeled as.

Upshot? They found 25% of the fish with DNA they could identify had been mislabeled.

(The mislabeling usually meant the fish was identified by the seller as a more expensive fish than it really was. Shock.)

The teenagers shipped the fish off to someone at FISHBOL who did the DNA analysis using a newish technique that is simpler and cheaper than a full-bore analysis.

Bad enough that your wild-caught salmon might not be wild-caught. It might not even be salmon!

How to Smell Like a Used Bookstore

Filed under: books,life — Towse @ 9:03 pm

How to Smell Like a Used Bookstore from Dwight Garner’s PAPER CUTS blog about books for the NYT.

Review is of Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. Garner quotes from a perfume review in the book.

DZING! (L’Artisan Parfumeur) ***** vanilla cardboard

Olivia Giacobetti is here at her imaginative, humorous best, and Dzing! is a masterpiece. Dzing! smells of paper, and you can spend a good while trying to figure out whether it is packing cardboard, kraft wrapping paper, envelopes while you lick the glue, old books, or something else. I have no idea whether this was the objective, but I have few clues as to why it happened. Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good-quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us. L’Artisan Parfumeur is, for reasons unknown, planning to discontinue this marvel, so stock up.

Sounds nice to me.

My American Prayer and musical stops along the way

Filed under: music,politics,web2.0 — Towse @ 7:11 pm

My American Prayer is a Web site to promote the pro-Obama Dave-Stewart-and-Seth-Dalton-directed video (with a cast of thousands, including Joan Baez, Whoopi Goldberg, and Barry Manilow) called My American Prayer.

Wandering away from there I found there’s also the new “Yes We Can” video (a musical video with no connection to’s classic) out from Maria Muldaur and Bonnie Raitt. Recorded at Studio D Recording in Sausalito.

Count down to November.

Joan Baez, Whoopi Goldberg, and Barry Manilow?!?!! Yipes!

August 20, 2008

"We become what we think about." Earl Nightingale

Filed under: life,lifehacks,people — Towse @ 3:42 am

I grew up listening to short, inspirational spots on KCBS narrated by Earl Nightingale.

What a voice that man had.

Through some weird click to click to link to click, I stumbled across a free audio of Earl Nightingale’s classic The Strangest Secret today over at the Mark Victor Hansen site with added commentary by MVH, but … well, I stopped the audio to write down a thought and backtrack and had to start ALL OVER AGAIN!.

and again…
and again…

Yeeks. Can’t deal with that.

Go over to YouTube and find Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret, unfiltered and uncommented.

part 2
part 3

“We become what we think about.” — Earl Nightingale
“A man is what he thinks about all day long.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you want Mark Victor Hansen (he of CHICKEN SOUP fame) and his commentary and Earl Nightingale’s classic, here ’tis.

August 19, 2008

Beautiful soup, so rich and so green, bubbling in the soup tureen

Filed under: food,web2.0 — Towse @ 8:25 pm

via Paula — foodie stuff, which originated over at Andrew Wheeler’s Very Good Taste.

I so seldom do these things … but this appealed. I’d never have seen it but for Paula. Thanks, Paula!

The Omnivore’s Hundred

Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea (no … yak butter tea though)
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (not that I remember. …)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp (not that I remember. …)
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes – I don’t recommend Maui pineapple wine.
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream – My sister made THE BEST coffee ice cream for the family BBQ on Sunday. Yum.
21. Heirloom tomatoes The Dissident Chef prepared a 10-11 course dinner a week or so ago that had tomatoes in every course. Loads of heirloom tomatoes.
22. Fresh wild berries – used to pick them at my grandparents’ farm
23. Foie gras — Paula says, “cruelty!!” but I say, “Yum.” PETA and other folks are really aiming to get rid of all meat animals including chickens, who have a much worse life than the geese, but they start with foie gras. Because most people don’t eat it, they don’t care if it’s banned. If they’d started with the Sunday roast chicken, they’d’ve been stomped out of business.
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (Raw? No.)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (I haven’t had that many cigars in my lifetime, let alone big fat ones.)
37. Clotted cream tea — Clotted cream. Ym. With scones to spread it on and jam and tea? Dbl-ym.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects — Grilled grasshoppers in Yunnan, iirc. I used to put chocolate covered insects in my dad’s stocking back when I played Santa.
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu – I don’t play Russian roulette either.
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – don’t like the oversized soda
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini – I’ve had so few martinis in my lifetime. Never a dirty one.
58. Beer above 8% ABV – La Trappe Quadrupel (Koningshoeven) is 10%ABV and my beer of choice at La Trappe restaurant on Columbus Ave, North Beach, SF.
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads – his nibs wooed me with home-cooked sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (not that I remember. …)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian – saw some yesterday in Chinatown. $1.09/lb. Some day …
66. Frogs’ legs – when I was very young I used to go to the pond with my grandfather to catch the frogs for frogs’ legs.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain – comfort food from the days in Brazil
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu – I believe this was the firewater we picked up in a market in remote Yunnan
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini – how could you stop at Harry’s Bar in Venice and not indulge?
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict – I judge hotel restaurants by how good their Eggs Benedict are at breakfast. (Eggs Benedict at breakfast, Reuben sandwich at lunch. If a hotel restaurant can provide both of those flawlessly, I’m there.)
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant – cheating really. We went to a Penfold’s event at the French Laundry and the tasting menu was what we got. We usually opt for the tasting menu at Manresa (two-Michelin-stars).
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse (not that I remember. …) I’ve had cuy, though.
90. Criollo chocolate (don’t know)
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake — tastes like chicken!

John Cleese — available 24/7

Filed under: culture,people,web2.0 — Towse @ 2:41 pm

John Cleese’s Cleeseblog

John Cleese on Twitter

John Cleese on friendfeed

John Cleese ning

John Cleese podcasts

… A taste of Cleese. [via laughingsquid]

August 18, 2008

Opening Summer 2008 | press club

Filed under: wine — Tags: — Towse @ 11:30 pm

Opening Summer 2008 | press club

Waiting. (Waiting. Waiting.) for Press Club to clear up whatever ABC issues they’re having and open … and not just because Sophie will be pouring Mount Eden Vineyards’ wines.

The wineries involved in this new and different wine bar opening (SOON!) on Yerba Buena Lane are Hanna Vineyards, Mount Eden Vineyards, Fritz Winery, Chateau Montelena Winery, Miner Family Vineyards, Pahlmeyer, Saintsbury, Landmark Vineyards.

Should be fun. Support your local winemakers. – Videos Covering Today’s Top Social, Political, and Tech Issues

Filed under: culture,media,politics,video,web2.0,writing — Towse @ 8:09 pm – Videos Covering Today's Top Social, Political, and Tech Issues is advertising for unpaid interns on CraigsList.

Toddled off to see what’s up with that. I’d seen a stack of lit over at the Commonwealth Club offices on Saturday.

Long Now talks. Aspen Institute talks. Commonwealth Club talks. …

Here’s a Roger Rosenblatt interview with Amy Tan at the Chautauqua Institution on July 10, 2008. The interview is broken out in sections. If you only want to hear Tan speak on “Writer’s Memory” you can click straight to the spot.

E.L. Doctorow on the Problematic Nature of Writing Novels

The indexing is superb. You can select one of the broad subject ranges and then one of the sub-sections. You can search for subjects. You can find all videos from the Hoover Institution.

Brilliant stuff.

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