27 December 2006

Top 10 Health Stories of 2006

It's the end of the year and that means time for lists. I'll try to come up with something sarcastic and funny in the next few days but for now here are Harvard's top 10 health stories of 2006.

(Republicans, creationists and other reality-challenged friends will find this article from FAUX News more satisfying).

26 December 2006

Tatoo Contrition May Soon Be a Thing of the Past

Science and American ingenuity. Two things that have gone great together for 230 years. First it was Benjamin Franklin and today it is the guys who did this:

Soon there may be a solution to the phenomenon of tattoo regret -- removable tattoo ink. A company founded by doctors says it will begin selling such ink early next year. The ink is applied just as with any tattoo, and will remain in place as long as desired. But if the owner later decides that the artwork has to go, it can be removed fully and safely with a single laser treatment.

I have no tatoos, but I'd get one if I could exchange all my other regrets. Otherwise I might just get the tatoo Radar O'Reilly got on that M*A*S*H episode when he thought a tatoo would impress his gal but Hawkeye and B.J. tried to talk him out of it because of the health risks. In the end he did get the tatoo... remember the "love dot?"

Scripps Unwittingly Reveals Why Mainstream Media Stinks

The latest Barron's has a profile of Cincinnati's E.W. Scripps, a "pioneer" in the newspaper industry. Unlike most other newspaper companies, Scripps is doing well. How, you ask?

The answer, interestingly enough, is the same thing I've said about newspapers... except I was being critical (emphasis added):

[CEO Kenneth] Lowe referred to Scripps alternately as an "interactive" company; a "market maker," bringing consumers and retailers together; and a "product-information" company. "Traditional media is becoming less and less a part of the company."

Lowe goes on to tout Scripps' new venture, Shopzilla.com, which is basically what it sounds like it would be. "Our goal is to make Shopzilla a verb," he says.

It's an antiquated notion that newspapers' primary function is to inform. With few exceptions, this is not the case. This is a corporate country we live in; U.S. newspapers exist primarily to provide a medium for buyers and sellers to come together. One striking way to see this is to read a foreign paper or watch or listen to a foreign news broadcast. BBC News, for example. For a real shock, read an Indian newspaper where you'll see words like "vitiate" in headlines. This is from a country where English is a third language.

I am reminded of an expirement done by some college students a few years ago: the class took a NYTimes and cut up all the ads and laid them on the floor. Then they did the same thing with the articles. The idea was to see which covered more floor. It wasn't even close.

Another example of the "modern" newspaper was provided by our own Enquirer earlier this year. The paper advertised that it was seeking an "advisory panel" of local readers but when it contacted those interested, it sent them a marketing survey.

Hmm... maybe I really AM the person of the year.

25 December 2006

Bengals Join War on Christmas

Are the Bengals a vile left-wing organization bankrolled by George Soros? Does Marvin Lewis derive game plans from spiritual conferences with Barbra Streisand? Is America-hating Cindy Sheehan a Bengals fan?

These are the questions we should be asking. After yesterday's loss to Denver, I have to wonder if the Bengals real goal this year was to ruin Xmas.

What a disaster of a game. I had to check the TV guide to make sure it said "NFL football" and not "Denver Broncos play guys who live in van down by the river". But to be honest, it wasn't this game that deflated my home team hopes; I've been deflating for a while now. The great game against the Ravens injected some new hope, but that evaporated quickly during the Colts game.

To win championships, you have to beat the best teams without your best stuff. That's how I look at it. As I watched the Colts game, I resigned myself to the fact that the Bengals just aren't capable of doing that this year. We lost too many players for too many games, and it has cost us (and I'm talking about injuries; the penchant for the cell block is a whole 'nother can of worms). This is not a Super Bowl team. Yes, it is still possible for the Bengals to squeak into the postseason, but does anyone really think of the Bengals as contenders?

It's been painful at times, but not as painful as 12 straight losing seasons. I'm very hopeful for next year. This team can take on anybody as long as they stay out of hospitals and courtrooms.

And hats off to Carson Palmer. He deserves a lot of credit for coming back from his injury the way he did. It's a testament to his commitment and drive to win. It's good to have him on our team... but please no more QB draw plays, okay? Those legs are only good for quarterbacking, not running!

15 December 2006

Will Bengals Sign Tank Johnson?

Tank Johnson might be just the guy to round out the team:

Chicago Bears' defensive tackle Tank Johnson was charged Thursday with six counts of possession of a firearm without a gun owner identification card after police found six guns at his home...

...three of the weapons seized from Johnson's house were powerful handguns: a .44 Magnum, a .50 caliber, and a .45 caliber. Two were assault-style rifles -- an AR-15 and a .223 caliber -- and one was a .308 Winchester hunting rifle...

Police who executed the search warrant also found 2¼ ounces of marijuana...

A 25-year-old woman and two toddlers also were at the home at the time of the search.

Wow. Drugs, guns and young 'uns. It's like that Twilight Zone episode where Bill Maher, Charleton Heston and Britney Spears are all at the same party.

And in other felony athlete news, former UC basketball player Jonathon Carson broke into a home, beat up a man, and then got shot several times by the man's wife.

(Seems like it was practically yesterday that I said it was good UC got rid of Bob Huggins, otherwise we'd have two local teams with rap sheets).

14 December 2006

The Time Has Come for Negative Currency

Those of you masochistic enough to watch the local news may have seen reports of copper piping being ripped out of old buildings and sold as scrap metal. Many thieves use young kids ("copper runners"?) just like drug dealers do.

The reason for this is that copper has risen in value. The penny is technically worth 1.73 cents. The nickel is worth 8.34 cents. Suddenly melting that jar of pennies seems like a good idea, eh?

Don't even think about it, says the U.S. Mint.

I believe the time has come for one of my greatest ideas: NEGATIVE CURRENCY.

The days of annoying 95 and 99 cent amounts would be over. Want a $4.99 sandwich? Plop down a fiver and a negative penny and say "keep the change!"

ka-BLAM !!

Let's be realistic, America. The penny has only one purpose, and that is to allow businesses to charge strange prices. I say we beat them at their own game by using negative currency. Eventually these coinophiles will pile up so much debt that they will have to charge round numbers or go out of business. This will free up pocket and purse space which can be used for electronic devices of the future.

And needless to say, the money saved by not making pennies can be better used in other ways. Like promoting abstinence. Or teaching creationism. These are just a couple of good ideas... my two cents, so to speak.

Sen. Johnson's Illness Will Test Republican Party

Here's the latest on Sen. Tim Johnson as of 10 a.m. this morning:

Adm. John Eisold, attending physician of the United States Capitol, said that Johnson had undergone brain surgery and was in critical condition. He said it was not known if further surgery was required.

"He underwent successful surgery to evacuate the blood and stabilize the malformation. The senator is recovering without complication in the critical care unit. ... It is premature to determine whether further surgery will be required or to assess any long term prognosis."

This page has a good description of AVMs.

I know it's too early to officially determine whether the senator will return to work or not, but I am very skeptical that he will. That means the GOP will control the Senate. What will they do?

GOP control of the Senate may not be as bad as one may assume. It will be a litmus test to see whether the GOP has learned anything from its electoral defeat. If a Republican Senate behaves the same way it has for the past 6 years, it will cost them the 2008 election. If Republicans want the White House, they need to change their tune.

The good news for Republicans is that there really isn't anyone holding their feet to the fire. The mainstream media? Whatever. The Democrats? Come on, I'm trying to be serious here.

I personally do not think a Republican Senate would be any different than before. The senators are the same and the Party is mostly the same. The GOP is a corporate and evangelical lobbying firm. That hasn't changed. It's main function is marketing and campaigning rather than governing and leading. That hasn't changed. Moreover, Republicans have made no acknowledgment of their horrific corruption and policy failures.

I expect a Republican Senate to be as pathetic and incompetent as before. The only variable is whether the Democrats have gained some cajones or not. That will determine to what extent the Senate remains reality-based.

13 December 2006

What is Art?

The poetry meme I read on Michelle's and Katie's blog got me thinking about art in general. These lines in particular:

I find poetry works more directly on my senses than other written forms. In this way it is more like visual art or music than literature to me.

The lyrical quality of it is like music and the visceral nature of it is like art... it's like art in that we experience art directly when we see it but it isn't a picture that's drawn or painted in color.

As I read this I thought back to college when I got the same assignment in the first semester of my first year and then again in the last semester of my senior year. The assignment was to define art. The first assignment was for English class and the second was for philosophy (of art) class.

My first definition was that art is any form of self-expression. But because this is such an inclusive definition, I added that this doesn't mean all art is equal or even good. Art that is the product of technical mastery and intellectual sophistication has to be regarded as superior that which is not. Duke Ellington is artistically superior to 2 Live Crew.

Four years later I settled on a more 'exclusive' definition, so to speak. I defined art as that which conveyed thought and meaning which transcended language. In other words, the art "says" something which cannot be expressed by ordinary language.

My 2nd definition excludes a lot of art, especially political art, like the exhibit I saw at a CAC show a couple of years ago. Suddenly a painting of an upside-down flag with Bush's portrait on it is not art. Why? Because I can just as easily (and probably better) express the sentiments conveyed by that painting in an essay. It does not transcend language.

Poetry is an interesting genre. It uses words, but the best poetry expresses ideas and feelings that go beyond the words on the page. I think it's fair to say that the best prose does this, too. So when Michelle writes that poetry is like music and art, I think she's right in the sense that poetry, like music and painting, can transcend language and make us feel things that would seem less meaningful if expressed by common words.

Take for example, Nikki Giovanni's poem I am Cincinnati (thanks, QCF). Is it art? I don't think so. Does her "poem" say anything that can't easily be said in an essay? No, it doesn't. A truncated essay outline is not a poem. And I'm not the only one who thinks so.

When I look at art-- or to be more precise-- experience art (what Hans-Georg Gadamer calls "play" between art and viewer) I try to let my mind run off without a leash. When I look at Rene Magritte, my mind gets a nice sojourn into the surreal. When I look at Jackson Pollock, it does not. One leads my mind to an interesting place while the other does not.

But that's just me. What is art to you?

Mike Brown Gets Call from NFL Warden-- er, Commissioner

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is trying to end the Cincinnati Bengals' continuing problems with the law.

The commissioner asked Brown if there was anything he could do but also sent the message that the Bengals had to adjust their actions...

"Obviously, when you have incidents that don't reflect well on the National Football League you have to deal with that aggressively," Goodell said Tuesday during an interview with The Associated Press. "Our players and coaches are seen at a higher level by the public."

Oy. What an embarrassment. But there is a bright side: at least we got rid of Bob Huggins so we only have one local team full of lawbreakers.

12 December 2006

Lawsuit Alleges Corporate Corruption at Cinergy

This is amazing. A former Cinergy (now owned by Duke Energy, although Duke had nothing to do with this) employee claims Cinergy paid kickbacks to industrial customers in exchange for their support for a PUCO rate hike approval in 2004.

And get this:

Although Cinergy Retail did not make any sales in 2005, it made option payments to the large customers that were the equivalent of the CG&E rate increase approved by the Public Utilities Commission in 2004.

That means large corporations didn't pay the higher rate. It means individuals, families and small businesses subsidized electric power for large corporations. That's corporate welfare.

So far there is only this lawsuit filed by the employee (who was terminated) against the company. I wonder if the state can also file suit against the company. It seems justified in this case. Either that or a class action. The Duke board is going to have a fit if that happens.

I Think I Know Why There Were Intelligence Failures

Is there anything U.S. intelligence WON'T spy on? From the WTF files:

Secret Service bugged Princess Diana's hotel phone.

Among extraordinary details due to emerge in the report by former Metropolitan police commissioner Lord Stevens is the revelation that the US security service was bugging her calls in the hours before she was killed in a car crash in Paris.

I think I know why we had intelligence failures leading up to 9/11. Our spies are too goofy.

11 December 2006

Clermont County Illustrates Fiscal Management, GOP Style

Clermont County is a mix of suburbs, exurbs and rural-urbs. And they like their Republicans. They gave Jean "as dependable an airhead as American politics has ever seen" Schmidt about 60% of the vote. All twenty county officials are Republican, as is the overwhelming majority of municipal officials.

But suburbs are having problems. To make matters worse, there are hardly enough blacks, gays, Mexicans and Democrats to blame it on.

In the suburbs, poverty increased from 7.1 percent to 9.4 percent, a jump mirrored by national trends, said Alan Benrube, a fellow and research director with Brookings' metropolitan policy program.

Liz Carter, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul, said residents shouldn't be surprised by the report's findings. "A lot of the work we do is out in the suburbs," she said. "It's exactly in those areas where a lot of people are thinking that the poor people are all downtown and far away from me."

Clermont County is one area where St. Vincent de Paul's calls for help are increasing, she said, but Ohio's continuing economic slump, coupled with higher fuel and utility costs, means lower-income families everywhere are hurting.

Wow, that must suck. Thank goodness Republican government isn't made up of hurting families:

Even though revenues are down, Clermont County commissioners on Tuesday approved a $56.3 million budget for general operations in 2007 - a 2.7 percent increase over spending for this year.

Most interesting decision: increasing funding for the court system but decreasing funding for public safety.

Bush Starts Two Wars, Loses Them Both

Hamid Karzai tearfully laments war's cruelty to children.

With his lips quivering and voice breaking, President Hamid Karzai on Sunday lamented that Afghan children are being killed by NATO and U.S. bombs and by terrorists from Pakistan -- a portrait of helplessness in the face of spiraling chaos.

In a speech that brought audience members to tears, Karzai said the cruelty imposed on his people "is too much" and that Afghanistan cannot stop "the coalition from killing our children."

Afghanistan has seen more than 100 suicide attacks this year, a record number, and close to 4,000 people have died in insurgency-related violence.

Just to recap the numbers (since they're only numbers), we lost 3,000 people on 9/11. That is less than 1% of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As I watched football yesterday, I thought to myself, "We need more sports people in politics." Because in sports, nobody is allowed to fail miserably for 6 years in a row and keep his job. Can you imagine the Lions or the Texans coach showing up to press conferences week after week saying "Absolutely we're winning"? Can you imagine a coach "staying the course" after losing game after game?


08 December 2006

Ordinary Ohioans Do Extraordinary Things

Ohio magazine has a nice article & slide show profiling some ordinary Ohioans who go the extra mile to help others. Nice read.

07 December 2006

Ohio Native is Airhead cum War Correspondent

"Lebanon native tells of war in Afghanistan"

Or at least that's what the heading says. But it's less about war, Afghanistan, or the war in Afghanistan than it is about how cool it was to hang out with military for a little while.

There was no shade, and the troops were rationed five measly bottles of water a day. Don't ever let anyone tell you the men and women in our military don't sacrifice for us.

...last week I drove around Afghanistan with a two-star Army general in a fleet of armored Ford Excursions.

From the outside, they look like your average civilian vehicle. But the windows are two inches thick, and each door has a tiny little slot just big enough for a gun barrel to fit through. Just a guess, but I imagine they cost $100,000 or so.

Just a guess? You imagine?

That's great reporting, chief. I guess it was too much to contact the oldest and largest vehicle armoring business in the world which happens to be located in Fairfield, about 15 minutes from where you grew up.

Oh, but there's more. This choked me up:

...there's also a vibrant Western community here, and the countryside is beautiful — all in all, an exciting opportunity.

There are inconveniences, to be sure. My family and friends are far away, Western food items are a rare find and an "overnight" FedEx envelope costs $120 — and takes four days to get to the states.

And that 9.5-hour time zone difference meant I had to beg a military friend to sneak me onto the NATO base in Kabul and then stay up until 5 a.m. to watch the Buckeyes beat Michigan two weekends ago... At the end of the game, we all slapped high-fives.

I can't help but contrast Staziuso's vacuous meanderings to Chris Hedges' visceral insight. Staziuso is exactly the person Hedges' book was written for:

I learned early on that war forms its own culture. The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug, one I ingested for many years. It is peddled by mythmakers-- historians, war correspondents, filmmakers, novelists, and the state-- all of whom endow it with qualities it often does possess: excitement, exoticism, power...

War makes the world understandable, a black and white tableau of them and us. It suspends thought, especially self-critical thought. All bow before the supreme effort. We are one. Most of us willingly accept war as long as we can fold it into a belief system that paints the ensuing suffering as necessary for a higher good, for human beings seek not only happiness but also meaning. And tragically war is sometimes the most powerful way in human society to achieve meaning.

06 December 2006

Volleyball More Exciting than Usual for Muslims

Doha, Qatar just hosted the Asian Games. One of the sports was women's volleyball. I remind you that this is the sport where women wear nicotine patches and call them "bikinis".

Keep in mind, this is Doha. This would be like 3CDC putting up some stipper poles on the new Fountain Square.

Beach volleyball's penchant for bikinis has touched off a bit of a cultural clash in this conservative Muslim city, which by hosting the Asian Games, a regional sports extravaganza, is trying to bolster its bid to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to the Middle East.

"We don't see this a lot in Qatar," Al-Nabit said. "I think most people think it is outrageous. But we accept it because it is important for our country. We want others to see us as a generous and hospitable people, willing to accept their ways, even if we don't agree."

Al-Nabit said he was willing to force himself to watch the skimpily clad women play, but that he certainly wouldn't want his wife watching.

He was only there himself, he said, because it was a matter of national honor.


It's the same reason I force myself to go to the Brass Ass: national honor. What do YOU do to defend our freedoms?

05 December 2006

Serena Williams: Dangerous Criminal in the Making?

ESPN reports that a pit bull bit a security guard outside Serena's home in Florida.

Serena says the dog isn't hers. It is, however, registered to her. And it was in her home. Also, there are pictures of Serena with "her tan pit bull" on her website. But it's not hers.

Whatever. The important thing is that we acknowledge further evidence of her goofiness and potential menace to society.

Smells Like Protein Spirit

Did anyone smell rotten eggs in the air yesterday? I did, in the early evening on Gest St. just west of downtown. I smelled it for just a second after briefly opening my car window, but it's hard to mistake that foul odor, especially when one is familiar with the common laboratory chemical, mercaptoethanol.

Mercaptoethanol smells awful. It comes in small vials about the size of an AAA battery. Believe me, nobody wants to take a chance on spilling large volumes of this stuff. One teardrop will stink up an entire house in about 10 minutes. It's nasty.

Turns out the energy company adds mercaptan to its gas (as a safety measure, I presume) and people around town noticed the smell when some of the natural gas was released into the atmosphere.

Is there something wrong with pumpkin spice or vanilla-honeysuckle? Maybe someday Yankee Candle will start buying energy companies and change this.

Here's a brief organic chemistry lesson you can impress your friends with. An alcohol is a compound with a hydrocarbon chain and an hydroxyl (OH) group attached to it. The name of the alcohol depends on how long the hydrocarbon chain is. The ethyl alcohol that we all know and love has 2 carbons. The rubbing alcohol I use for after shave (this is true) has 3 carbons. The methanol that Russian criminals use to make "vodka" in abandoned buildings has 1 carbon. And if you drink it you will go blind or die, so stick to the good stuff.

And you can have more than 1 hydroxyl group. If you stick an -OH group on both carbons of ethanol, for example, you'll get ethylene glycol, antifreeze. And if you replace one of those -OH groups with a sulfur group, -SH, you'll get mercaptoethanol. And believe me, you'll know it.

I just realized my post title doesn't make sense yet. Mercaptoethanol is used in labs for protein analyses. That's why Gest St. smelled like 'tein spirit.

04 December 2006

Science Solves Mystery of the Stradivari

One of the most enduring muscial mysteries is solved! Mostly, anyway:

Answering a question that has lingered for centuries, a team of scientists has proved that chemicals used to treat the wood used in Stradivarius and Guarneri violins are the reasons for the distinct sound produced by the world-famous instruments.

The conclusions... have confirmed 30 years of work into the subject by Joseph Nagyvary, professor emeritus of biochemistry at Texas A&M University, who was the first to theorize that chemicals – not necessarily the wood – created the unique sound of the two violins.

Nagyvary, a native of Hungary who learned to play the violin by using an instrument that once belonged to Albert Einstein, has wondered for years how Stradivari, who could barely read and had no scientific training, could have produced instruments with such a pristine sound.

“I started researching this in the early 1970s and from the beginning, I was convinced that the chemicals used to treat the instruments were the real key, not the wood itself,” he says.

“I was criticized and ridiculed when I made these claims, and to have undeniable scientific proof that I was correct is very satisfying, to say the least.”

Pretty cool, but not as cool as when it was still a mystery.

Uncle Tom's Freidman

So you're the little journalist who started this great war?

I do not care much for Tom Freidman. There, I said it. He's intelligent, informed and he writes well and makes nice shows for Discovery Channel but to me he mostly came off as someone who crafted articulate excuses for neocon foreign policy. A poor man's Francis Fukuyama, perhaps?

But Freidman was hardly alone, and as Greenwald's essay points out, he's just one cog in a machine fueled by gutless politicians and corporate media. This is one essay that needs to be read and spread.

The FBI Guide to Treatment of Innocent Civilians

Lockdown, strip searches, sleep deprivation, unsanitary living conditions, shackles and chains, threats, physical pain and humiliation.

“The horrific pain, torture and humiliation that this has caused myself and my family is hard to put into words,” said Mr. Mayfield, an American-born convert to Islam and a former lieutenant in the Army.

I personally was subject to lockdown, strip searches, sleep deprivation, unsanitary living conditions, shackles and chains, threats, physical pain and humiliation.”

Fingerprint examiners at the F.B.I. erroneously linked Mr. Mayfield to the terrorist bombings in Madrid through a mistaken identification of a print taken from a plastic bag…

Despite doubts from Spanish officials about the validity of the fingerprint match, American officials began an aggressive high-level investigation into Mr. Mayfield in the weeks after the bombings… Using expanded surveillance powers under the USA Patriot Act, the government wiretapped his conversations, conducted secret searches of his home and his law office and jailed him for two weeks as a material witness in the case before a judge threw out the case against him.

Given the error-laden way in which BushCo's War of Terror has been carried out, I can’t help but apply my “cockroach theory”, i.e. that one “mistake” is probably indicative of many more hiding behind the walls of secrecy and incompetence. Like, for example, this one:

The Algerian air force lieutenant spent more than 58 months behind bars even though the FBI formally concluded in November 2001 that he had no connection to terrorism.

02 December 2006

Time of War, Time of Sacrifice

Below is the menu (courtesy of Salon.com) for the holiday feast we are throwing for George and Laura Bush. I say "we" because, as far as I know, we are paying for it. Bon appetit!

The Dems could easily exploit this situtation, but they won't-- at least the beltway Dem leaders won't. That's too bad, because they could get some mileage out of this, especially on the heels of this news (la la la la la... I can't hear you! La la la la la...).

Free suggestion to Dem leaders: Organize a holiday feast to honor the troops. Serve MREs. The GOP uses ancilliary groups to do it's "dirty work" and you should do the same. Why not use Democracy for America, the group Howard Dean started? They have chapters all over the country (including Cincinnati). It could be a nationwide thing, not just in Washington. That would generate multiple local pressworthy events.

In sports we talk about "closing". It means you gotta put your opponent away and not let them get back in the game. The Repubs are down and the Dems need to seize opportunities to close the deal. I think this ridiculous holiday feast is one such opportunity. The White House has some real brass balls to put on something like this in the middle of two wars and I think it's time the Dems did a little snipping.

- - -

Display of Specialty Cheeses and Winter Fruits (Served with a Bountiful Display of Lavish Specialty Crackers and Spiced Pecans).

Colossal Shrimp Cocktail and Jonah Crab Claws (Served with Ramsey’s Cocktail Sauce and Spiced Remoulade).

Stuffed Turkey Breasts with Winter Mushrooms, Cheese and Brandied Cranberries.

Sugar Cured Virginia Ham with Hot Pepper Mustard (Served with Warm Blue Corn Muffins).

Chicken Fried Beef Tenderloin with White Onion Gravy (Served with Tiny Icebox Rolls).

Herb Roasted Lollipop Lamb Chops served with Warm Yeast Rolls.

Honey Cup Mustard Sauce.

Fresh Tamales with Tomatillo Sauce and Black Beans.

Baked White Cheddar Farfalle.

Sweet Potato Soufflé.

Asparagus Tier with Lemon-Garlic Aioli.

Golden and Crimson Beet Salad with Orange, Fennel, and Feta.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies with Peppermint Crunch.

Pecan Sandie Tree (Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes) with Layers of Cookies.

Holiday Ornamental Cookies: Barney, Miss Beazley, Christmas Trees, Snowflakes, Candy Canes.

Red Hat Box Mascarpone Cake.

White Pound Cake with Mascarpone Cream Filling, Red Marzipan Frosting and Red Ribbon Bow Decoration.

Coconut Cake.

Coconut Chiffon Cake, Coconut Pastry Cream Filling and 7 Minute Meringue Frosting.

Chocolate Roulade (Christmas Log): Soft Ganache Frosting with a Chocolate Sponge, Meringue Mushrooms, Magnolia Leaves in White Chocolate, Raspberries.

Mini Tartlettes.

Pecan Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, Orange Chiffon and Chocolate Boston Cream Pie.

Chocolate Truffles.

Homemade, Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache.

Long Stem Strawberries with Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce.

Warm Macintosh Apple Cobbler With Oatmeal Crumble.

Pumpkin Trifle.

Spiced Pumpkin Mousse with Whipped Cream and Shaved Dark Chocolate.

01 December 2006

Prediction: GOP Will Hold White House in '08

My family knows I follow politics, so whenever we get together (like for Thanksgiving) I get about a dozen people asking me whether Hillary (and now Obama) will run for President.

Just to follow through with the thought, my standard response is to explain that campaigning is all about money, and since I think Clinton and Giuliani can raise the most money, in my mind they are the front runners. Then I point to my watch and tell them Obama's 15 minutes are counting down.

I could write a long post about why the Dems won't win the White House and why they may not even hold on to Congress, but instead I'll just forward you on to the BSB straw poll which as of noon Friday had the following top vote-getters:

John Edwards, Barack Obama, Al Gore.

What... no K-Fed?

(I voted for Evan Bayh)