Half Moons and Covid Tourism: What I Learned Today – Friday, September 11

Half moons! There is a bakery close to my house that makes these. They look like a black and white cookie but are more like a mini-cake with buttercream frosting. I haven’t been to the bakery at all this year (thanks covid!) and am craving one big time.  I did some googling and found this recipe which duplicates the original half moons made at Hemstrought’s Bakery (now closed) which was located in upstate New York. This recipe makes 30 cookies so I think I should cut that in half. I’m thinking about giving these a try tonight.  Why not?  It’s Friday.

France’s covid numbers are starting to shoot up. 10,000 new ones yesterday.

Trump had a rally last night.  Virtually no masks.  No social distancing. Never have I seen a person go so far out to try to kill his supporters.  We’re living in surreal times:

I don’t even know where to start with this one:

And DeSantis is reopening Florida’s bars.

Trump has more free time than the people I know who are currently unemployed.

Twitter is raging about the clip of Kansas City fans booing a moment of solidarity against racism. And yeah, it’s terrible, but wait, there are fans in the stands now?

So the stadium isn’t packed but how is this still a good idea?

A 45 mile two day hike through Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  Stunning!

Lost Architecture and RIP Diana Rigg: What I Learned Today – Thursday, September 10

Let’s try a Trump/Covid free version of this today. Even though both are currently devastating everything they touch, I’m going to try to take a break from it, even if just for my own sanity. And it’s so humid right now that I’m basically air swimming so I need some pleasant things. I’m sure you understand.

Places on the web I can get lost in for days at a time.  Reddit’s /r/Lost_Architecture:

Pictured here is the Salem train depot from Salem, MA (Yes, that Salem), which was built in 1848 and torn down in 1954.

Or the Cincinnati Public Library, torn down in 1955.  What a beautiful interior with the spiral staircase.

A homemade hummus recipe. One thing I really like about this recipe is how he prepares the garlic oil and garlic which both can then be used in other recipes as well. (Roasting garlic and infused garlic oil is just so amazing. It cuts out the sharpness in raw garlic so that you can enjoy the rest of your day/night without scaring off anybody who comes closer to you than 15 feet)

RIP Diana Rigg. She stole every scene in Game of Thrones and when people talk about the Avengers, it takes me a bit to realize they are talking about some CGI superhero shit show and not the one with Emma Peel:

Inspired by yesterday’s video, I think this will be my first venture into a new type of breakfast for my palate.  Tamago Kake Gohan. Although I may wait until I have better quality eggs then the one currently in the fridge.  Developing!!

Monkey Secrets and Dessert for Breakfast: What I Learned Today – Wednesday, September 9

I don’t eat breakfast anymore. I coincidentally started doing intermittent fasting around the beginning of the pandemic right before I started working from home. Prior to [gestures around at everything], I would usually make oatmeal at night and heat it up the next day when I got to the office and add a little dried fruit. Or if I needed a little extra oomph, I would visit the deli downstairs for an egg and english muffin sandwich. (I miss those little everyday things that we took for granted doing before all hell broke loose, like running into a deli without any cares besides what to order)

I start my days now between 7-8am, put on a pot of coffee, go to my desk and start looking at the news for the blog. I have to pull up a chair for Lola who likes to be by my side in the morning (I give her a few treats now and then. She is a fairly affectionate cat but bribery doesn’t hurt.) I do add a little cream to my coffee but no sugar (the addition of cream is controversial in IF circles. I really don’t care.) And that’s all I have until noon when I either make oatmeal with fruit or a soft boiled egg with an english muffin. So I guess I still have breakfast food, just at a time which most people would call lunch.

Johnny Harris (whose YouTube videos I am really enjoying lately) has made a couple videos about breakfasts.  In the first one, he take a look at why American breakfasts are almost indistinguishable from desserts:

In the second video, he starts making breakfasts from other parts of the world.

I always love taking something that you are so used to doing, and looking at it from a different angle.  I may give this a try.

England has banned gatherings of 6 of more people because guess what?  Yep. Covid is rising again. 3,000 new cases on Sunday. So like a slow day for Florida.

Researchers find that people who wear face masks become less sick if they do contract coronavirus.  So just wear the damn mask.

A lot of people have been saying that Bill Barr is using the Justice Dept as Trump’s personal legal staff.  Not sure why anybody would actually think something so cra…

Monkeys have secrets.  Amazing secrets. You better listen.

I’m posting this now but the day is young.  Subscribe to the newsletter for any updates that may occur as all hell potentially breaks loose on an otherwise normal day:

An Upside down Backward Van and Gender Reveal Infernos: What I Learned Today – Tuesday, September 8

I’m a bit stretched for time today so this is going to be a little shorter than usual.

No, I will not be buying or reading Michael Cohen’s book (I don’t feel sympathy for these assholes who have carried Trump’s water and helped him crime only to see the light after Trump shivs them on 5th Avenue and leaves their corpse to rot out in the open) but I am quite chuffed that this will capture a few news cycles where Trump will spend hours rage tweeting:

How are things going with Brexit?  Not so great:

I was wondering how Disney has been doing with their reopening. Opening a mega resort and theme park in the middle of a state hit hard during a pandemic seemed like a bad idea. But we haven’t heard many stories linked to Disney. And now we may know why.  It looks like there is a huge coverup being done by Disney.  This story from The Daily Beast is quite the read.

Meanwhile Florida and Texas are considering opening up their bars and nightclubs again. Seriously, if they were the mayor from Jaws, this would be like him watching the shark attack first hand, covering his mouth and saying, “My god! This is spectacular.  Can we import more great whites? With lasers?”

So if you stage a gender reveal party that starts a wildfire that burns down 7,000 acres in California. A boy I’m guessing?

Also, this isn’t the first time this has happened:

It appears that Postmaster Louis DeJoy may have done some criming before he became postmaster:

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy allegedly ascended to the heights of federal government employment by way of what is known as a straw donor scheme. Legal experts say the alleged facts are evidence of a crime that should be easy to prosecute.

The allegations are tidily summed up in the headline of a Sunday afternoon story by the Washington Post: “Louis DeJoy’s rise as GOP fundraiser was powered by contributions from coworkers who were later reimbursed, former employees say.”

The House Oversight Committee has questions.

This driving upside down car would have been brilliant as is, but that they also drive it backwards is just the cherry on top.


Lobster Rolls and Chinese Tea Pots: What I Learned Today – Friday, September 4

Labor Day weekend! I probably will try to avoid as much news as possible until Monday evening so I doubt I’ll be posting anything until then. I am still social distancing which means it will be a muted long weekend. I did take the opportunity the other day to take a small drive to the Cape Cod canal. There’s a restaurant there that does curbside takeout which is perfect in these times. (I really don’t understand why more restaurants aren’t doing curbside. It seems like a good way to get extra business from covid-induced agoraphobes like me who would rather not go inside to get takeout.) So what does one get at curbside takeout restaurant on the canal?  I’m glad you asked. Lobster rolls of course. And not the lobster rolls with mayonnaise and chunks of random celery. Lobster just needs a hot dog roll and butter damn it. Fries, chips or coleslaw are all perfectly good accompaniments.

Yeah, the presentation isn’t much to look at but I was also eating hunched over in the car judging people’s lack of social distancing from afar.

Have a great weekend everybody. Stay safe! Lola would say hi but she’s currently occupied:

Well, this isn’t good:

We are currently at 191,060 deaths now with about 1,000 new deaths a day. Given how fast this virus spreads and how people are pushing for schools to open 2,000 more deaths a day doesn’t sound that far stretched.

This story from The Atlantic on Trump calling dead soldiers “losers” has been confirmed by the AP and multiple sources now. Considering past remarks he has made, especially about McCain not being a hero because he was captured, this certainly sounds like something he would say. And then there is this:

On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

I had to read this several times before realizing Robert Kelly was John Kelly’s son and Trump actually said this to John Kelly while standing over his son’s grave.  I’m not surprised by Trump’s comment. Everybody should know by now that Trump only sees the world as transactional, and selflessness is a concept that he cannot comprehend. But Kelly deciding soon after that, why yes, he would be fine with being this monster’s chief of staff, just makes me realize how I much I have underestimated these people’s desire for power at all cost. Will any of this make a difference in how Trump’s supporters perceive him?  HA!

The Three Color Rule in film. This video fascinated me. I just never thought about it before.

Octavia Butler made the NY Times best seller list.  She died in 2006:

If you have never read a book by Butler, I recommend Kindred. She was an amazing author.

If you only have time to watch one making of a chinese teapot video today, this is the one:

Time to learn more about Chinese Teapots. Posted on r/tea from r/Damnthatsinteresting

It’s Never Too Chocolatey and Watermelon Keyboards: What I Learned Today – Thursday, September 3

Chocolate. I’ve never quite met a chocolate dessert that has made me ever utter the sentence, “it’s a bit too rich for my taste.” I love all types be it milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and even white chocolate which is a lying form of chocolate since it is debatable that it is chocolate at all. I refuse to discriminate against the cocoa bean. I remember more than once, when I actually had a metabolism, taking a chocolate fudge pop tart, smearing it with nutella and then washing it down with the darkest of chocolate milk and still trying to work out a way of making it a little extra chocolatey.

But one thing I was never been a huge fan of was hot chocolate. I grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts where the choices for hot chocolate were between swiss miss powder and heating up some milk and nestle quik.  If you were really feeling luxurioux you could drop in a few spoons of hershey syrup (it used to come in a can!)

As I got older I started traveling more and got outside of the New England bubble. One day I found myself in Paris sitting inside Angelina ordering their hot chocolate, L’Africain.

Whoa. This was not the tepid powdered chocolate water swill I was used to having. This was a revelation. It was like the best chocolate bar you have ever tasted in your life in liquid form. It was thick and creamy and every single tastebud that I owned went into chocolate overload. I might be remembering this wrong, but even my esophagus grew tastebuds if only to prolong the experience.

Upon returning home, I scoffed at the pitiful envelope of carnation “cocoa” that I had in the cupboard, and immediately went on the web in search of a recipe for le chocolat chaud d’Angelina. I found several variations that I tinkered with ever so slightly. This is the one I use that makes about two servings (I guess if you want to share it with somebody else, you could double the recipe):

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (or half and half if that’s what you have in the fridge)
A tablespoon of powdered sugar.

Whisk together in a sauce pan until it starts to bubble.  Add in 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate (the best quality you can find, or if you must, whatever chocolate chips you have around. But strive for something better than nestle. You deserve this!) and whisk until combined and at your preferred temperature.  Don’t let it sit though or the chocolate will burn at the bottom.  I have a cheap Ikea milk frother that I usually use to finish it which incorporates the chocolate before pouring into a mug.

I kind of kicked myself for never making hot chocolate this way before. Of course adding real chocolate will make it better.  It’s kind of weird how difficult it is to rearrange your thinking if you just stay put.  The downside to this recipe is that it is very rich and definitely not an every day thing, but on a chilly night after a long day, a little treat is always welcome.

And before we dive into today:


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760 students from the University of Kentucky have now tested positive for covid.

Covid-19 is the leading cause of death if law enforcement officers this year. I wonder what the ratio is of anti-maskers to that ugly blue thin line flag?

Under 1 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance this week.  881,000.  It’s being framed as kinda good news since it is falling, but it’s still a huge number of people who are unemployed.

Didn’t a few celebrities get jail time for exactly this?

Facebook has said they will ban political ads….. a week before the election:

Trump once tried pimping Sarah Huckabee Sanders out to Kim Jong-un.

Also, I know this isn’t the point of the story, but what’s up with Trump with Tic Tacs? He talked about taking them before in the Access Hollywood tape too.

Trump is encouraging people in North Carolina to vote twice in the upcoming election. This is illegal.  It’s called voter fraud. Trump has said the upcoming election will be rife with voter fraud. So this is an attempt at a self-fulfilling prophecy?  Great success! Bill Barr was asked about it and immediately said he wasn’t quite sure what the law said about voting multiple times.

Nerdwriter’s latest video is up and on Caravaggio. 

This is guy uses his melon to come up with a new way to play with his food:

Screeching Cockatoos and Dangerous Bags of Soup: What I Learned Today – Wednesday, September 2

Good morning everyone.  I slept in a bit today and instead of feeling refreshed I am just more sluggish and sleepy. I hate when that happens. Let’s get started.

Markey won.  Good.

We’re not going to get a peek at Trump’s taxes until after the election. I mean, at this point, I can’t see any of his supporters changing their minds because of a tax return anyway, but on the other hand, how bad must this thing be if he’s fighting this hard to shield it. Remember when he said that he would be happy to show it to the world but it’s under audit and the IRS won’t allow it to be released? I think that was a fib.

Trump went on a long rant on the dangers of soup cans and bags of soup.  No, seriously.  SERIOUSLY:

He also is lying by saying that he won the popular vote in 2016.  He lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. The thing about this is in his diseased, brittle, stroke-filled, adderall-scarred brain, he probably really believes this:

And Trump is saying the quiet part very loud again:

The guy who organized the Trump boat parade has just been arrested.  It’s criminals all the way down.

81 US Nobel Prize Laureates have signed an open letter endorsing Biden.

Matt Shirley had a map the other day of the least popular attractions of each state.  Now he has one of the most popular:

I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard, and it is indeed  lovely, but it’s a pain to get your car over on the ferry (don’t even try in summer) and is extremely expensive. But it’s a lovely day trip if you want to rent a bike or take a bus tour (or was pre-covid). And poor Rhode Island. Their best attraction is something that every single state on the coast already has by definition.

Typewriter art!  I love this so much:

Two cockatoos meet in a pet shop. That’s the video.