Out of the Forest

February 28, 2007, 6:39 pm
Filed under: music

Judi Dench, star of stage, screen, and my favorite Britcom, deserved to win an Oscar on Sunday night for her staggering portrayal of a dangerously obsessive schoolteacher in Notes on a Scandal. But, alas…

Oh well, at least her beautiful rendition of Sondheim’s Send in the Clowns is now on YouTube. The girl can’t sing, but she can sure act out a song…


February 28, 2007, 6:28 pm
Filed under: vegetarianism

On Monday night I feasted on Morningstar’s mini veggie corn dogs and haven’t stopped thinking about them since. These really are amazing little things! They taste just like the real deal!

They satisfied this boy’s craving, anyway.

February 28, 2007, 6:22 pm
Filed under: board games

After months gathering dust on the shelf, the hubby and I took down Ticket to Ride: Europe the other day, and have played several games since. I’d forgotten how fun and intense this board game can be!

A bit like Rummy with trains, your task is to connect the cities of Europe with train routes in order to gain points, and you do that by collecting sets of matching cards. It’s very simple to learn, but unexpectedly complex and intense as you try to complete your routes before your opponent, and without getting blocked by your opponent’s trains.

The original version of the game used a map of the United States instead of Europe, but I’ve read the versions are very similar otherwise. There is also an edition set in Germany as well.

Happily, it plays great with just two people, which is a plus for couples. We’ve played it with up to six before, and it was fun then too, though more challenging.

February 23, 2007, 9:55 pm
Filed under: beliefs

The controversial vaccine Gardasil, which has been recommended for young girls as a means to reduce the risk of cervical cancer by protecting them from human papillomavirus (HPV), is now being sought out by gay men, at least in the UK. HPV can cause all kinds of nastiness in men as well, and gay men are at a higher risk, according to the article.

So will young boys be next to be vaccinated? From the article:

Roger Peabody of the Terrence Higgins Trust said if the trials were successful, there would be a good case for vaccinating young boys, not only to stop the spread of HPV to women, but to protect men against HPV-related disease.

Dr Szarewski agreed, saying: “It is bad enough suggesting to people that their 12-year-old daughter might need a vaccine against a sexually transmitted infection.

“I would be interested to see the response of suggesting to parents that they should vaccinate their boys at 12 in case they become gay.”

Heaven forbid.

February 23, 2007, 9:44 pm
Filed under: old movies

While snowed in last week, I had the pleasure to see Douglas Sirk’s 1956 film Written on the Wind. And what a wonderful piece of trash-art it is!

This is “Dallas” with style, complete with oil tycoons, troubled marriages, alcoholism, machismo, and sex (both expressed and repressed). Sirk seeps his film in lurid colors, and the sets and backgrounds, with a few exceptions, are obviously fake. It all serves to emphasize the hollow pretense of these characters’ lives, as does the artificially heightened melodrama throughout. These people, I ended up thinking, are rather ridiculous. And I think that is the point.

I like how the film’s style is so brazen. But Sirk is never one for subtlety. If I were to tell you that the film features a character, the seductress played by Dorothy Malone, who at one point in the film lovingly caresses a model oil derrick in her daddy’s office, would you understand what I mean?

These days I can’t see a film starring Rock Hudson without thinking of his closeted life as a gay man. And the film is interesting when viewed in that light. There is the suggestion of a homosexual relationship in this movie which I think is intentional. It is difficult to be sure, given that subtlety is not typically one of Sirk’s techniques, but I suppose that with that subject, in 1956, he may have felt the need…

February 21, 2007, 6:23 pm
Filed under: vegetarianism

To address the concerns of some of its consumers, Smithfield Foods is making some changes in how it treats its pigs:

Smithfield Foods, the nation’s largest pork company and a mainstay on the North Carolina agribusiness scene, will phase out its use of the cages in which breeding sows are confined after they are artificially inseminated and before they give birth. The confinement is now so close in the 2-foot by 7-foot cages that the pigs cannot turn around.

This would seem to be at least a little more humane. Nice to see a company actually listen on this issue. But there is a long way to go, given the barbaric nature of today’s factory farms. These are some of the world’s most intelligent animals, folks. I think they deserve something better.

February 20, 2007, 4:59 pm
Filed under: vegetarianism

I’ve been a peanut butter addict all my life, and since becoming “vegetarian”, its been a good, if fatty, source of protein. So it was with considerable chagrin that I was forced to pitch a new jar of peanut butter last week, as it was the part of the salmonella-laced batch. Too bad I didn’t know you could get a refund.

Last night I went to the store to get more, only to find the peanut butter section completely ransacked. All the Peter Pan products had been removed, of course, but it appeared other brands had been too. Only a few lowly jars of Jiff and Skippy remained. I bought creamy Skippy and went home.