February 26, 2011 archive

An Invite to the Oscar Party

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I need a break from reality, at least for a few hours. The chance to sit in front of the big tube with a drink and a bowl of popcorn or other finger food and watch the glitz and glamor as the Stars walk down the red carpet and make fools of themselves bumbling the lines of acceptance speeches.

Tomorrow night at The Stars Hollow Gazette, I will be hosting a live blog of the 83rd Academy Awards starting at 7:00 PM EST when the march of celebrities in to the Kodak Theater. (yeah, I know I said I needed a break from reality but who said a blog was reality?). I haven’t seen any of these movies. If it weren’t for all the hype about a few of them, I couldn’t even tell you the plot. The hosts this year will be Anne Hathaway, the youngest host in the history of the Oscars, and James Franco, a Best Actor nominee for his tour de force in 127 Hours.

Some folks make this show like the Super Bowl with special drinks and food. Some go for simple, while some just go all out for exotic drinks and fancy food. The fanciest I get is an extra olive in my martini and maybe some fresh grated Parmesan cheese on my popcorn. So for chuckles here are some of the more exotic drinks in honor of some of the nominees and a few recipes for nibbles to munch as you watch.

The Natalie Portman

This is quite ambitious but looked so pretty in the glass. My experience with some of these types of drinks is, Look, Don’t Drink.

Named for the best actress nominee (for “Black Swan”) and created by Eamon Rockey of  Compose.

Beforehand, chill red wine that’s been sweetened  slightly with sugar (about a tablespoon per half cup of wine) and steeped with  lemon peels.

Next, combine one and a half ounces of Brooklyn gin,  three-quarters of an ounce of lemon juice, a half-ounce of triple sec, a  quarter ounce of gum syrup and an egg white.

Shake and strain into a cocktail  glass.  Using a funnel, pour the red wine into the bottom of the  glass so it forms a deep layer of color.

Mist the top of the cocktail with  absinthe (if you don’t have a spare mister, drizzle a few  drops of absinthe) and garnish with a few dashes of Angostura bitters.


The James Franco is another ambitious cocktail that requires a lot of pre-prep. However, It was amusing that the drink is kept shilled with a chunk of frozen rock.

The  Helena Bonham Carter goes for the simple. It starts out with a chilled glass that has been rinsed with absinthe, then the absinthe is discarded. I know where it can be “discraded”. Never waste absinthe.

Here some really tasty recipes for appetizers that are fairly simple, can be made ahead and some only take about 20 minutes to prepare.

These would not last 5 minutes in my house

Cheese Straws With Pimentón

These eggs required hot smoked paprika which I found inmy local Stop ‘n Shop

Smoky Red Devil Eggs

Make this dip a day ahead

Greek Goddess Dip

For something warm and spicy, this is great. Worth the extra time but can be madea head and reheated under the broiler

Queso Fundido With Chorizo, Jalapeño and Cilantro

Another one that wouldn’t last in my house. If you like shumai, double this

Shrimp and Cilantro Shu Mai

This would be a great brunch recipe, too

Toasts With Egg and Bacon

An Asian twist on Swedish meatballs

Scallion Meatballs With Soy-Ginger Glaze

Injustice at Every Turn — Part VIII: Police and Incarceration

Scarlet Letter

Injustice at Every Turn (pdf) is a 122-page report of data gathered in 2008 by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality concerning quality of life issues for transgender people living in this country.

Most people interact with police officers during the ordinary course of their lives. Transgender and gender non-conforming people may have higher levels of interaction with police. They are more likely to interact with police because they are more likely to be victims of violent crime, because they are more likely to be on the street due to homelessness and/or being unwelcome at home, because their circumstances often force them to work in the underground economy, and even because many face harassment and arrest simply because they are out in public while being transgender. Some transgender women report that police profile them as sex workers and arrest them for solicitation without cause; this is referred to as “Walking While Transgender.”

Previous “turns” have covered the basic data about who transpeople living in America are in Who we are — by the numbers, Part I: Education, Part II: Employment, Part III: Health Care, Part IV: Family, Part V: Housing. Part VI: Public Accommodation and Part VII: Identity Documents.  This is the last in the series.

from firefly-dreaming 26.2.11

Regular Daily Features:

  • Late Night Karaoke has The Cure, mishima DJs
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Essays Featured Saturday, February 26th:

join the conversation! come firefly-dreaming with me….

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

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Talking Union

Reporting the Revolution: 26.02.2011

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

class=”BrightcoveExperience”>This is The Guardian Live Blog from Libya.

Al Jazeera English also has a Live Blog stream that is up dated regularly.

Protests and violence continued across the region on Friday. The International community is considering its options and in a rare move the UN Human Rights Commission took sanctions against one of its own members, Libya. Meeting in Geneva, the commission voted unanimously recommending suspension of Libya from the Geneva-based body and decided to conduct an independent probe into violations by the Qadhafi regime, which has launched a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.  

The United States closed down the embassy in Tripoli as the last of its diplomatic personnel were airlifted to safety. President Barack Obama signed an executive order freezing the assets of Gaddafi, his family and top officials, as well as the Libyan government, the country’s central bank and sovereign wealth funds.

Thousands demanded reform in Jordan and in Bahrain more changes. Virtually isolated in Tripoli, the military still loyal to Gaddafi opened fire on unarmed protesters.

As Libya uprising reaches Tripoli Gaddafi vows to ‘open up the arsenals’

Gaddafi gives a defiant speech to cheering supporters, as witnesses report indiscriminate firing on demonstrators

Libya’s uprising reached the heart of Tripoli on Friday as anti-regime demonstrators defied a security clampdown to demand Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow amid hopes that key military units in the west of the country would defect.

Gunmen in cars reportedly opened fire on protesters as they streamed out of mosques after Friday prayers. Witnesses described shooting in streets near Green Square in the heart of the city.

Information remained patchy, confused and sometimes contradictory, but up to seven people were reported shot dead in Janzour, Fashlum, Bin Ashour, Zawiyat al-Dahmani and other urban areas. “Security forces fired indiscriminately on the demonstrators,” said one resident.

Later, Gaddafi appeared in Green Square to give another angry and defiant speech to crowds of supporters waving banners and cheering him – a message that he is alive and in control – as he pledged to “open up the arsenals”.

Gaddafi vows to crush protesters

Libyan leader speaks to supporters in the capital’s Green Square, saying he will arm people against protesters.

Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has appeared in Tripoli’s Green Square, to address a crowd of his supporters in the capital.

The speech, which also referred to Libya’s war of independence with Italy, appeared to be aimed at rallying what remains of his support base, with specific reference to the country’s youth.

“We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm the people,” Gaddafi said, in footage that was aired on Libyan state television on Friday.

“I am in the middle of the people.. we will fight … we will defeat them if they want … we will defeat any foreign aggression.

“Dance … sing and get ready … this is the spirit … this is much better than the lies of the Arab propaganda,” he said.

Libya: International response gathers pace after Gaddafi counterattacks

No-fly zone or sanctions among options being considered as world bids to force Libyan leader to end the violence

International efforts to respond to the Libyan crisis are gathering pace under US leadership after a still defiant Muammar Gaddafi launched counterattacks to defend Tripoli against the popular uprising now consolidating its hold on the liberated east of the country.

The White House said Barack Obama planned to call David Cameron and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to discuss possible actions, including a no-fly zone or sanctions to force the Libyan leader to end the violence. Switzerland said it had frozen Gaddafi’s assets.

Gaddafi, in power for 42 years, has used aircraft, tanks and foreign mercenaries in eight days of violence that has killed hundreds in the bloodiest of the uprisings to shake the Arab world. Up to 2,000 people may have died, it was claimed by a senior French human rights official.

Friday protests grip Middle East

Opposing political camps rally in Yemen while protesters vent anger after prayers in Jordan, Iraq and Bahrain.

Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president, have held rival rallies in the capital, Sanaa.

Protesters outside Sanaa University repeated slogans demanding that the country’s longtime president step down immediately, chanting: “The people demand the downfall of the regime.”

About 4km away, loyalists shouted support for the president, who they described as holding the fractured and impoverished tribal country together. “The creator of unity is in our hearts. We will not abandon him,” they chanted.

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Sanaa, said that while the situation is calm in the capital, due to the huge presence of police and military, there have been reports of protesters being killed in the south of the country.

“The situation in Aden [in the south] is very tense, two people have been killed and at least 24 pro-democracy protesters were injured in clashes with security forces [today],” he said.

“Security forces have been asked by the ministry of the interior to block the main square to put an end to the escalations there, as it is the stronghold of the secessionist movement who want to break away from the north.

“There have been huge rallies in the province of Sadah, the stronghold of the Houthi fighters. They have said they are joining the protesters and that their fight will be similar to the fight of thousands of protesters who are asking for an end to the political regime.”

Yemen has been swept up in protests inspired by the recent successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The demonstrators are demanding that Saleh, in power for 32 years, step down.

Deaths in Iraq pro-reform rallies

At least 12 protesters killed by security forces, amid nationwide “day of rage” against corruption and poor services.

Thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets across the country to protest against corruption and a lack of basic services in an organised nationwide “day of rage”, inspired by uprisings around the Arab world.

In two northern Iraqi cities, security forces trying to push back crowds opened fire on Friday, killing at least 12 demonstrators.

In Baghdad, the capital, demonstrators knocked down blast walls, threw rocks and scuffled with club-wielding troops.

Hundreds of people carrying Iraqi flags and banners streamed into Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, which was under heavy security.

Military vehicles and security forces lined the streets around the square and nearby Jumhuriya bridge was blocked off.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said there was a violent standoff between the protesters and the riot police on the bridge that leads to the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Ahmed Rushdi, head of the House of Iraq Expertise Foundation, tried to join the protests in Baghdad but was prevented from doing so by the army.

“This is not a political protest, but a protest by the people of Iraq. We want social reform, jobs for young people and direct supervision because there is lots of corruption,” Rushdi told Al Jazeera.

“If [prime minister Nouri] al-Maliki does not listen, we will continue this protest. He told everyone that we are Saddamists, but that is not right. We are normal Iraqi people.”

Eight years after the US-led invasion which ousted Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, development in the country remains slow and there are shortages of food, water, electricity and jobs.

Protesters confirmed that they were protesting for a better life and better basic services.

“We are free young men and we are not belonging to a certain ideological movement but we ask for our simple legitimate demands that include the right of education and the right of decent life,” Malik Abdon, a protester, said.

Two Birds, One Stone: Solidarity Saturday In The Dream Antilles

Today is Solidarity Saturday.  Your bloguero and thousands of others will brave the cold and head to Albany, New York,  and other cities across America for demonstrations in support of Wisconsin’s beleaguered public workers and their unions.  So the first  bird (in this case a phoenix, for America’s labor unions) is this: join me in Albany, New York today at high noon or in the zillions of other places where at the same time  progressives will apply shoe leather to pavement, lift every voice, link arms and stand up for public employees.  You can find the demonstration nearest you by following this link.  As Mother Jones said, “Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living.”  Your bloguero notes in passing the additional salubrious effect of exposure to cold winter air in battling cabin fever and inevitable Seasonal Affective Grumpiness (SAG).

The phoenix was your first bird.  The second bird (in this case almost a complete turkey):  the Dream Antilles Weekly Digest.  Your bloguero notes that this week was not the finest  at The Dream Antilles, but also, thank goodness, not its worst .   It was a  week dominated by concerns about events in  Wisconsin and never ending Winter.  Here’s what there was:

The week began much as it ends with Solidarity With Wisconsin’s Workers, complete with Pete Seeger and historical video, a recollection of the importance of unions public and private and a call to stand in solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin.

Haiku for a blustery, winter night with high wind and low, low, low prices temperatures.

Cuba’s Celebration Of Books: Can We Have One? notes the  delights of the Havana International Book Fair and wonders whether an event like that, focusing on the reader, wouldn’t be wonderful for New York City.  The Dream Antilles began as a Lit Blog.  Sometimes it actually finds its way back to its original topic.

In response to a New York Times piece prematurely hinting at  the demise of blogs and utterly clueless about the evolution of the Internet, your bloguero felt compelled to post I’m Nor Goin Nowhere, complete with Bob Dylan video and an analysis of why people migrate from platform to platform as the Internet evolves.

Your bloguero confesses it.  Your bloguero always aspired to be a philanthropist.  Alas, that has not happened yet, though, of course, hope for such things springs eternal.  Buying some pizza for the demonstrators was as close as your bloguero came this week to being a philanthropist.  Ian’s Pizza answers your bloguero’s telephone call.  The Governor answers the call of “Koch.”  Please contrast and compare.  The story of feeding the demonstrators and a call for others to buy pizza for those in Madison is in Feed The Wisconsin Demonstrators Pizza.  The success of this movement is noted in today’s New York Times

Annoyed that none of the major Democratic powers had visited the striking demonstrators in Madison, your bloguero issued an invitation to the President, Obama: Please Go To Wisconsin.  As I look out the frozen window here in preparation for today’s demo, I note in passing that Our Nation’s President has not responded to this clarion call for action.  Question for later: how not surprised is your bloguero?

Haiku about yet another approaching, forecasted snowstorm.  Yes, it did arrive.  Yes, there is more snow.  Columbia County, New York has had a snow cover for months.  Climate change has made this winter in your bloguero’s humble opinion the worst in decades.  More to come, he fears.

And you end up where you began, today is Solidarity Saturday.  Be There.  I hope we can all push back from the monitor and keyboard, pull on the appropriate clothing, and get out there.  After all, what else is there to do?

Your bloguero notes in passing that this Digest is a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance and is supposed to be posted early Sunday morning. Well, things happen.  The best laid plans of mice, etc.  Or as your bloguero’s great grandmother, an organizer of the ILGWU used to say, “Mann tracht; Gott lacht.” See you next week if the creek don’t rise on Sunday early.

Six In The Morning

Rebels lay siege to Gaddafi stronghold

Desperate dictator tells faithful: ‘We can crush any enemy’

By Donald Macintyre, Terri Judd and Catrina Stewart in Benghazi  Saturday, 26 February 2011

The beleaguered  Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi defiantly appealed to his hardcore supporters to “defend the nation” against an uprising which was last night closing in on Tripoli after thousands of protesters braved gunfire to try to march through the capital.

Standing on the ramparts of a fort overlooking the city’s Green Square, Colonel Gaddafi pumped his fist and told 1,000 pro-regime demonstrators: “We can crush any enemy. We can crush it with the people’s will. The people are armed and when necessary, we will open arsenals to arm all the Libyan people and all Libyan tribes.”

OpenThread: Changes

It’s Spring! Well, not quite and from the weather forecast here in the Northeast, not for few more weeks. Thoughts are starting to turn to gardening and seed catalogs, spring cleaning and, oh yes, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. I get the urge to change things, do something innovative, different. Like redecorating, new curtains, a fresh coat of paint, nothing drastic, just refreshing. OK. Have I buttered you up?

A friend sent me a picture the other day reminding me that it is the Chinese Year of the Rabbit and the campaign to Save the Tiger.


I got laughing at that picture and thought it would be kind of cute at the bottom of the page instead of the tiger that’s there now. Then I did some more thinking, (I get into trouble when I think too much), that image could be changed every now and then, perhaps with images, like the “eyes” in the banner that were created by OPOL. Since this is a community and your input is important here, I decided to ask your opinion and if anyone had any other ideas about changes they would like to see or resurrected.

What’s your choice for bottom page home link image?

Late Night Karaoke

Wisconsin Schools Get Sold Out

Random Japan



Toto’s warm water-spraying Washlet toilet seats celebrated 30 years of keeping things clean down under, living up to their slogan, “Buttocks, too, want to be washed.”

Locals in Miyazaki rolled out the welcome wagon for the Yomiuri Giants as they opened “spring” camp, lavishing 20 kilos of kumquat, 20kg of mikan, 10 boxes of strawberries and 100 broiled eels on the Central League powerhouse.

But the Giants gave as good as they got, donating some ¥3 million to support local relief efforts as Miyazaki battles bird flu and a spewing volcano.

Meanwhile, the Softbank Hawks also got a welcome gift at their camp when 10kg of tuna and 10kg of shrimp were dropped off by the Miyazaki Fish Federation.

16-year-old ballet dancers Shizuru Kato and Yuko Horisawa finished fifth and seventh, respectively, at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne competition, each earning year-long scholarships to some of the top dance schools in the world.

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