Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette

Costumes executed by Adrian
This production was the last project of legendary producer Irving Thalberg, who was Norma Shearer's husband. He died during the production of this movie.

End of the year photo dump

Have fun!

The age-old problem of what to wear.

And yet we won anyway! Not that there's anything wrong with him...

However, there is something quite wrong with him. A lace parasol with formal wear?

Pizza Hut sure does like Moms!

Can someone explain this to me?

Nothing says classy like a naked, pregnant, tattooed, bleach-tipped, earring-wearing, subtle ass-grab in front of a mystical matte-painting, through a soft focus lens.


Uh, Miss? You dropped something...

This guy has some serious issues.

Air bags inflated!

Your Vulcan plakk tow panties are showing Doll. And.. I never saw anyone on the Enterprise wearing a waste basket on their head.

Forgot our lithium this morning did we?

Wi-Fi bandito

Close out the old year with a Disco Marathon!

I've got the headphones on and a lot of "end of the year" cleaning and organizing, and nothing say motivation like classic Disco music. So here goes. The playlist:

Disco Classics from Frenchys_House_Party on 8tracks Radio.

Afternoon Tea

The best afternoon tea in NYC is at The Pierre. Settle in after an afternoon at The Metropolitan Museum or shopping at Fred and have yourself a nice "cuppa". To whit:

A comfy seat, some Fortnum and Mason...
A lovely assortment of sandwiches, don't you think?
Scones, biscuits, jam, lemon curd and clotted cream for our next course...
And a few sweets, just in case.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Glenn Close as Norma Desmond

Baubles, cont.

This is the Dresden Diamond, the largest green diamond in the world (41 carats). In 1768, the diamond was incorporated into an extremely valuable hat ornament, surrounded by two large and 411 medium-sized and small diamonds. Today, the diamond is shown in the "New Green Vault" at Dresden Castle.

Right-Wing biblical illiterates would be shocked by Jesus' teachings

From RawStory.com (my highlights):

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly defended the Republican Party’s spending cuts for SNAP by effectively declaring Jesus would not support food stamps for the poor because most them are drug addicts. If his insensitive remark is inconsistent with Scripture, which it is, then the question becomes why do talking heads on the right get away with proclaiming what Jesus would or wouldn’t support?

The answer is simple: Conservatives have not read the Bible.

The Right has successfully rebranded the brown-skinned liberal Jew, who gave away free healthcare and was pro-redistributing wealth, into a white-skinned, trickledown, union-busting conservative, for the very fact that an overwhelming number of Americans are astonishingly illiterate when it comes to understanding the Bible. On hot-button social issues, from same-sex marriage to abortion, biblical passages are invoked without any real understanding of the context or true meaning. It’s surprising how little Christians know of what is still the most popular book to ever grace the American continent.

More than 95 percent of U.S. households own at least one copy of the Bible. So how much do Americans know of the book that one-third of the country believes to be literally true? Apparently, very little, according to data from the Barna Research group. Surveys show that 60 percent can’t name more than five of the Ten Commandments; 12 percent of adults think Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife; and nearly 50 percent of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple. A Gallup poll shows 50 percent of Americans can’t name the first book of the Bible, while roughly 82 percent believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a biblical verse.

So, if Americans get an F in the basic fundamentals of the Bible, what hope do they have in knowing what Jesus would say about labor unions, taxes on the rich, universal healthcare, and food stamps? It becomes easy to spread a lie when no one knows what the truth is.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Today's Baking Project

Nothing says "Go Pats" like a nice Strawberry Pie. 

Enjoy the view... Drawing Rooms

The Green Drawing Room, Windsor Castle

Drawing Room of Baron Steiglitz's, Premazzi Palace, St Petersburg, Russia

Another Drawing Room in The Baron's palace
The Blue Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace

The White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace

Drawing Room, Catherine Palace, St Petersburg

Another Drawing Room at The Catherine Palace

Drawing Room at The Winter Palace, St Ptersburg
The Crimson Drawing Room, Windsor Castle

Drawing Room, Goodwood House, Chichester

The White Drawing Room, The Winter Palace, St Petersburg

Contemporary Drawing Room at Syon House, Middlesex

Drawing Room, Mayblum Palace of the Counts Stroganov, St Petersburg

Blue Drawing Room, Mariinsky Palace, St Petersburg

Friday, December 27, 2013

Hoppin' John for New Year's Day

I'm thinking I'll make Hoppin' John again on New Years' Day for Mr. B. It's a traditional Southern dish made from black eyed peas, ham, bacon and rice. It's a delicious dish and supposedly is a bringer of luck to "thems that eats it". The recipe I used follows.

Get your "mise en place" ready. 

Brown the bacon and remove to paper towels. Reserve for later.
Brown the ham and remove to a plate. Reserve for later.
Saute the onions, celery and peppers until beginning to brown. Add garlic and thyme and cook just until fragrant.
Add the broth, peas, rice, bay leaves and ham to the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook until the rice is done.
Remove the ham and cut into bite sized cubes. Fluff the rice.
Add bacon, ham and scallions to the mixture and serve immediately.
Serve with collard greens and cornbread for a nice New Year's luncheon.

Hoppin' John (Adapted from a recipe by America's Test Kitchen)

6 pieces of bacon chopped
1 (1- to 1 1/2-pound) boneless ham , cut into 3/4-inch-thick planks

onion, chopped fine   

celery ribs , chopped fine 

1/4 cup each chopped fine, red and green bell pepper  
garlic cloves , minced  

1/2  teaspoon dried thyme   

cups low-sodium chicken broth 

(16-ounce) bags frozen black-eyed peas   

bay leaves   

1 1/2  cups long-grain rice   

scallions , sliced thin  

1. BROWN PORK Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot and brown ham, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate with bacon.

2. COOK VEGETABLES Add onion, peppers and celery to pot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, peas, bay leaves, and browned ham and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until beans are just tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer ham to cutting board and cut into ½-inch pieces.

3. SIMMER RICE Place rice in fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl. Rinse under running water until water runs clear, about 1 minute. Drain rice well and stir into pot. Place square of aluminum foil directly on surface of simmering liquid. Simmer covered until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring and repositioning foil twice during cooking. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork. Stir in scallions, bacon, and ham. Serve.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Don't forget to watch The Queen's Speech tomorrow!

It's always a treat to see the old girl saying something that her government hasn't written for her. I do enjoy watching it.

In preparation, here's a bit of her sense of humor that we saw last year. At the end, If you look closely, you can just see her thinking to herself "Now let's see anyone top THAT!" Suh-nap!

Sunday, December 22, 2013