Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's a topsy turvy world out there...

“We used to fight about who gets to keep the house,” said Gary Nickelson, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “Now we fight about who gets stuck with the dead cow.”

Happy New Year!

Yeah, we're an hour early. So what, big deal.

We do wonder just who the heck this Ryan Seacrest guy is.

And who are the Pussycat Dolls? ("Ha ha ha ha")...

At least we know who Katy Perry is. (We love being hot and then cold! - and who wouldn't want a love bipolar!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Did you know?

Did you know that, according to its manufacturer, Jack Daniels is not a bourbon? Rather it is a Tennessee Whiskey, filtered through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal, before aging.

A technicality, really.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Eartha's gone.

Friday Cat Blogging will not be the same.

From the Reuters Obit:

Eartha Kitt, who rose from the Southern cotton fields to captivate audiences around the world with sultry performances as a singer, dancer and actress, died on Thursday at the age of 81.


Slinky, sensuous and cat-like, Kitt described herself as a "sex kitten" and used her seductive purr to charm audiences across the world.

Actor-director Orson Welles once called Kitt "the most exciting woman alive" and, along with Lena Horne, she was one of the first African-American sex symbols.


Her hit songs included "C'est Si Bon," "Let's Do It" and "Just an Old Fashioned Girl."...


Kitt was blackballed in America for speaking out against the Vietnam War in the 1960s -- most notoriously at a White House luncheon in the company of first lady Lady Bird Johnson. Kitt then began performing in Europe, where she had been popular early in her career, and eventually returned to the United States to great acclaim.

"She was never one to look back on her life," Freedman said. "She was a true individual who believed that if you had a true belief in yourself, your talent was authentic."

"My greatest challenge was to be able to survive in the business and to be able to survive according to what I was doing. Not what other people were doing," Kitt told Reuters in a 2005 television interview at the Newport, Rhode Island jazz festival.

"I just stuck to my own guns and I think that was one of the way's I have survived. The audience is not supposed to know that I'm scared, the shyest person in the world."


Kitt was born to a black-Indian mother and a white father on a plantation in South Carolina in 1927. She once described herself as "that little urchin cotton picker from the South, Eartha Mae" and often spoke of a tough childhood in the impoverished segregated South...

Oh, and Harold Pinter died...

Monday, December 22, 2008

banana carrot cake

1 1/4 c. salad oil
2 c. sugar
4 whole eggs
2 c. grated carrots
1 c. chopped nuts
2 c. mashed bananas
3 c. sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt

Mix ingredients in order given and pour into 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees until center springs back when touched (about an hour). This freezes well. Makes 2 (9 x 5 x 3 inch) loaf cakes.

2008 Holiday Potluck A Success

Despite the late arrival of RA's chili, the potluck went as planned. PM's baklava was excellent, as was the chicken tikka. Who would have thought to use tortellini in a soup? The guacamole was really good, too.

The biggest hit was MP's dessert cookies, pictured above. Too cute to eat!

SJ's Scottish Boil Cake arrived too late, alas, but it, too, was delicious. Thanks, SJ.

Audrey Hepburn

b. May 4, 1929
d. January 20, 1993

We inaugurate our presidents on January 20 - coincidence?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Must be from before "Flame"

Burger King's Marketing Geniuses have got the perfect Christmas gift for the guy whose taste in women may run to the cheesier (arr, arr) end of the spectrum. The Guardian has the story:

A tasty little present for men - Burger King body spray

By Hadley Freeman, December 17

Still can't think what to get him for Christmas? Socks don't seem to cut it any more? Fret no longer because Burger King is here to help.

The mass purveyor of grilled meat is offering, for a limited time, something even better than their usual piles of beef patties. This week, American men were given the chance to smell like their favourite meat snack with the launch of Flame, Burger King's contribution to the perfume market.

The company describes Flame as "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat".

Astonishingly, this elixir costs a mere $3.99 (£2.65). By contrast, one of its competitors, Chanel No 5, for example, costs more than $80.

Flame, a body spray for men, was launched this week online and in a selection of US stores, the list of which can be found on the perfume's website, which is named, appropriately,

What's the Federal Funds Rate?

Oh, something between zero and 0.25%. We don't worry about the exact number anymore. It's the least of our worries.

Moais in Paris

Easter Island statue to make a pilgrimage to Paris

Moai has a mission to reform the conscience of humanity, say islanders

The Independent, By John Lichfield, December 16

Paris - An unusually large tourist will visit Paris in 2010. One of the vast statues of elongated human heads and torsos from Easter Island in the Pacific has "expressed the wish" to visit the French capital to preach – silently – against Western materialism.

The statue has let it be known to the island's leaders that it wanted to make the pilgrimage, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported yesterday. Two islanders, including the governor's nephew, have made a preparatory visit and concluded that one of the statues or moais, which range up to 30ft high and 90 tons in weight, should stand in the middle of the Tuileries gardens, halfway between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde.

"Everyone on the island knows that a moai is going to Paris," Edgard Hedreveri, the Easter Island tourism director, told Le Figaro. "It is going to find a platform in Paris to spread spiritual energy which will change the conscience of humanity. It is going to transform the materialistic conscience of the world into something more humane."

The nearly 10,000-mile journey to Paris from Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean, the world's most isolated inhabited island, will be organised by an Italian foundation. The cost of the anti-materialist pilgrimage will be covered – somewhat inappropriately – by the French luxury goods company Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH). There are almost 900 Easter Island statues, carved from compressed volcanic ash between 400 AD and the early 1700s. Although other statues have been stolen or removed to museums, this will be the first time one has been sent on a spiritual journey by the island's government.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Made-Off's victims

Vic List

Also, why Charles Ponzi would be offended.

Electors officially cast their votes

The Globe reports:

Today marks another milestone on the path for the nation's first black president.

Electors meet in each state to cast their votes, which are to be counted by Congress on Jan. 6. Though they are not obligated to follow the popular vote, they almost always do. President-elect Barack Obama won 365 on Nov. 4 -- well above the 270 needed in the Electoral College.


There will also be another kind of history today -- for the first time since 1892, a state will divide its electoral votes. Obama won one of the votes in Nebraska, which joins Maine as the only states that divide theirs by congressional district. Republican John McCain won the other four in Nebraska.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Tea

In honor of today's ice storm, (and "Poinsettia Day") we'll be having something a bit more festive (not to mention more organic) than usual at today's Tea, Bloody Marys.

See you at 4:00!

Happy Friday

Only 9.5 hours until the market opens - and here's the news:

$14 billion auto bailout dies in Senate

AP, By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Ken Thomas, December 11

$14 billion auto bailout dies in Senate after talks collapse over union wage cuts

WASHINGTON -- A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts.

The collapse came after bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the United Auto Workers union agree to steep wage cuts by 2009 to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said he hoped President George W. Bush would tap the $700 billion Wall Street bailout fund for emergency aid to the automakers. General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC have said they could be weeks from collapse. Ford Motor Co. says it does not need federal help now, but its survival is far from certain.

The White House said it was evaluating its options in light of the breakdown.

UPDATE: Not to worry - we'll just throw the TARP over them - that should tide 'em over 'till the next Congress.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Augusto Pinochet holds a dear spot in our hearts here at HSI. Each year we mourn him, on this, the date of his passing.

Augusto, rest in peace.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fran Drescher For Senate

Via UPI:

NEW YORK, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- New York-born actress and activist Fran Drescher wants to take over the U.S. Senate seat Hillary Clinton soon will be vacating, Drescher's publicist said.

Drescher, who is best known for her portrayal of the title character on the sit-com "The Nanny," is also a uterine cancer survivor who has fought for better healthcare for women and was recently named a U.S. State Department public envoy on the issue.

The 51-year-old actress would like to expand that work by taking the senator's New York seat when Clinton becomes secretary of state next month, CNN reported.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Detroit 3 seeking $6-billion from Canada

As if billions from the US weren't enough:

Detroit 3 seeking $6-billion from Canada

Canadian taxpayers are being asked to provide at least $6-billion to the Detroit Three auto makers – and the two most troubled companies say they need a big chunk of the money immediately.

The total bill could soar to $7.2-billion if conditions worsen, the three auto giants told Ontario and Ottawa as they submitted requests for money to help them restructure amid the most serious crisis the auto industry has faced in generations.

RA, Deuterostome

Be it known that RA is the only deuterostome inhabiting the software lab.

That is all.

Available: CEO Position

WSJ: Christie Hefner to Leave Playboy Helm

By Mike Barris

Playboy Enterprises Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Christie Hefner is stepping down after two decades at the helm of the adult-entertainment empire created by her father.

In a press release Monday, Hugh Hefner said, "I asked Christie to step up as president when the company faced serious financial difficulties more than two decades ago. She has worked tirelessly to expand the company's franchise, and, as a result of her efforts, the company today has more consumers and fans than at any time in our history."

Ms. Hefner will stay on as CEO until Jan. 31 and remain a board member until her successor joins the company. In the meantime, six-year director Jerome Kern will be chairman.

Did you know?

Did you know that Frank Capra made "It's a wonderful life" in part to "combat a modern trend toward atheism?"

Friday, December 05, 2008

Today's Tea

Today's Tea will feature, in addition to the usual, a Symposium (or Saga, if you will) photographically covering one person's recent trip to Iceland.

Brennevin (aka svarti dauði or "black death").will be available for sampling, as will Mango Screwdrivers and a few Cape Codders.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Motivational Program

We have a new coffee available in the kitchen.
Kirkland 100% Colombian, Supremo Bean, Dark Roast, Fine Grind.
No doubt our plasma will thicken measurably.

Odetta, RIP

Odetta, Voice of Civil Rights Movement, Dies at 77

Odetta, the singer whose deep voice wove together the strongest songs of American folk music and the civil rights movement, died on Tuesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. She was 77.

The cause was heart disease, said her manager, Doug Yeager. He added that she had been hoping to sing at Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

But today, the struggle

Tomorrow, perhaps, the future: the research on fatigue
And the movements of packers; the gradual exploring of all the
Octaves of radiation;
Tomorrow the enlarging of consciousness by diet and breathing.

Tomorrow the rediscovery of romantic love;
The photographing of ravens; all the fun under
Liberty's masterful shadow;
Tomorrow the hour of the pageant-master and the musician.

Tomorrow, for the young, the poets exploding like bombs,
The walks by the lake, the winter of perfect communion.
Tomorrow the bicycle races
Through the suburbs on summer evenings.

But today, the struggle.

W.H Auden
Spain 1937