orichalcum: (Maleficent)
posted by [personal profile] orichalcum at 12:00pm on 17/04/2009
Or, another chapter in Why Epicurious Commenters Are Fools.

So, I was looking up a Quiche Lorraine recipe on Epicurious, because my dad's visiting tomorrow and I wanted to make something simple I could largely make in advance.

This is a recipe that has overwhelmingly favorable reviews and looks extremely easy. Except for the person who gave it two forks (out of four), because the texture seemed wrong. She mentions that she used sour cream instead of heavy cream or creme fraiche, and wonders if that could have made the difference.

You think???

In other food news, Mac has apparently memorized the food layout of the local Trader Joe's, even though he only goes there about once a month or less. Since it was a brief trip today, he was out of the cart, and he kept dragging my hand over to the granola aisle, to find his favorite granola, and then picking out the correct type of milk, and then crossing the store to go to the health bar aisle. Toddler memory is kind of impressive. Plus, I always get impressed by people with good spatial memories, as mine is not so good; I guess he'll be reading the maps for family trips in a few years. :)
Mood:: 'irritated' irritated
orichalcum: (teaching)
posted by [personal profile] orichalcum at 03:54pm on 16/04/2009
So, I was looking at info for the lecture I'm giving on the fall of the Roman Republic next week, where the lecturer wanted to emphasize that the top ten political families in the last 100 years or so of the Roman Republic held more than half the consulships (the top office).

I was curious and decided to check modern American figures.


From the 2006 election:
Modern U.S. Comparison:
2006 election: 12% of major candidates and 18% of winners came from “political families,” where political families are defined as those that have 2 or more members related by blood or marriage within 2 generations who have been candidates for congressional, gubernatorial, or large-city mayoral offices.

Breaking down by office,
32% of Senators, 17% of Reps, 19% of Governors who won in 2006 came from political families.

Makes Obama look like even more of an outlier...
Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
orichalcum: (teaching)
posted by [personal profile] orichalcum at 02:01pm on 16/04/2009
First of all, a brief PSA: To all of you who think you might have been infected by Mac's cold in the last few weeks, you'll have to look for another vector. We took him to the doctor this morning, because at this point he's had a runny nose and a cough for six weeks straight and we were getting a bit worried, and she confirmed that he has no cold or flu at all. It's allergies, probably pollen allergies, running in the family tradition. So now he starts on a round of antihistamines, and we vacuum like mad, and we'll see how that goes.

He's also growing very slowly, if at all, now - down to the 75th percentile for both height and weight, although the doctor didn't seem worried at all. But it's odd, because I could have sworn he grew in the last six months, but apparently not so much.

My week was made much happier when I arrived home to an unexpected package the other day from one of my students two years ago, who I wrote a law school recommendation for. She's gotten into at least four law schools, some with full scholarships, and sent me some chocolates and Greek goat cheese and roasted pepper tapenade from Greece as a thank you. :) It was awesome.

Work remains very busy, but I got to tell some of my favorite Roman historical anecdotes this week - Vedius Pollio and the man-eating lampreys, Appius Claudius Pulcher and the sacred chickens, and The Triumph of the Candleabra Polisher. If you're curious about any or haven't heard me tell them 50 gazillion times before you can ask in comments.

Mac managed to impress his pediatrician today; when she gave him an ambulance sticker for having been remarkably patient during the whole exam, he said, "This is an ambulance! It goes to the hospital to help people!" Of course, then he confused her by asking if he could go back to the "alligator" and push its buttons to go down.
Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
orichalcum: (dog)
posted by [personal profile] orichalcum at 08:18pm on 13/04/2009
For this Monday, two actual toddler-dog interactions worth sharing. At dinner, Mac got bored with his spaghetti, and Eowyn had wandered over to his high chair. He took his fork and started carefully unspinning the pasta wound around it into Eowyn's mouth, which she opened quite readily. It was tremendously hard to stop laughing and discourage this behavior, a horrible idea though it was. But it looked so cute. We took away the fork, and then Eowyn carefully licked every one of Mac's fingers clean of tomato sauce while I was clearing his plate.

A little while later, Mac had asked us to cuddle in bed with him. We had just collapsed into bed when Eowyn came in, wanting attention, and grabbed a sock of CP's (an old bad habit she's revived at the D-Ws) and ran off with it. We called after her to no avail. Mac stands up, "Eowyn shouldn't have a sock! I will go chase her!"
"No," I say, "it's okay, Mac, Mommy will get it in a minute," since I really didn't want to move. CP and I look at each other, each reluctant to get up.
Before we can stop him, Mac jumps off the bed and runs off into the living room. We look at each other and think about our old hard-wired rule that the dog and baby can never be alone together, and all the ways this situation could go badly. I start to pull myself up, just as Mac comes running back into the bedroom, triumphantly waving the sock. "I got Daddy's sock! Eowyn was eating it!"

I guess it's good they've developed such a trusting relationship?

And in another instance of Mac's refusal to accept others' reality:
As we're driving past a P.F. Chang's, Mac points and says, "Look at the dinosaur statue, Mommy!"
I look at the stone horse and say, "That's a horsie statue, Mac!"
"No, it's a dinosaur!"
CP chimes in, "Mommy is right; it's a horse. Look at the head, Mac."
(After a few more iterations of dinosaur/horse)
Mac: "I'm not sure it's a horsie. I think maybe it's a dinosaur," with a tone of great sufferance.
"I think we'll agree to disagree, Mac," CP offers.
Mood:: 'amused' amused
orichalcum: (ye pubbe)
posted by [personal profile] orichalcum at 04:21pm on 13/04/2009
Supreme Court Justices who complain about their workload.

If you happen to be a Supreme Court Justice, first of all, you only have formal court sessions three days a week, two weeks a month, 8 months or less a year. Now, yes, there's a lot of writing to be done in those off times - in which you are aided by multiple extremely talented, able assistants, who will work as long hours as you tell them to do as much of the work for you as you want.

Look, I'm an academic. And, yes, sometimes I'll whine in a stressful week. But I'm well aware of the lifestyle perks of my job, and how it compares to a conventional job where you work 9-6 every day or the many, many industries where you're expected to work 60-80 hours a week, let alone, say, medical residents and legal associates. I have it easy - and I like it that way. But I try not to whine about how difficult my overall schedule is, because I'm well aware of how good I have it.

If you can't deal with the workload of a practically part-time job that thousands of lawyers and judges in the U.S. would give their eyeteeth for, there's a simple solution to this problem. Resign.
Mood:: 'tired' tired
orichalcum: (Default)
One of the people who was attending Seder for one of the first times was commenting on the oddness of the question about reclining/sitting at table. "For a more modern version," he suggested, "you should ask, 'why do we eat so much more on this night than on other nights?'"
I responded, "It's a Jewish holiday. That really wouldn't narrow it down."

I think I need to fast now...or, at least, since we've got a busy couple of weeks coming up, eat reasonable amounts of very simple food. CP, looking at the kitchen Friday night, asked plaintively, "You aren't planning on doing any more big cooking for a few weeks now, right?" After dinner with my dad next week, I think we're probably good. And the next holiday is Mother's Day, which is Not My Problem, definitionally, in terms of food.
Mood:: 'amused' amused
orichalcum: (Pre-Rafe)
posted by [personal profile] orichalcum at 03:16pm on 10/04/2009
Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] digitalemur !

May you enjoy the warmth and comfort of your new home and the coming of spring.

orichalcum: (food)
posted by [personal profile] orichalcum at 03:14pm on 10/04/2009
So, I attended a particularly delicious Seder this year, which was made even better for me than usual Seders by deemphasizing the Meat and Starch traditional parts of the main course in favor of [livejournal.com profile] eilonwey's arctic char baked in parchment with goat cheese and leeks, which I want the recipe for, and a dish called Jansen's Temptation ), which is essentially a version of scalloped potatoes with Swedish anchovies, which give the creamy potatoes a lovely sharp zing.

I made my family's traditional Passover flourless chocolate cake (with accessories from a Godiva recipe) )

I also made two kinds of charoset, Sephardic charoset balls ) and a more traditional Ashkenazi apple, honey, and walnut charoset. The apple charoset was good although undistinguished; I think it was hurt by chopping the apples in the food processor rather than by hand (which saves a lot of time, although [livejournal.com profile] ladybird97 notes the potentially therapeutic value of attacking fruit with a knife) and also by too much caution with spices; next time I'll add some nutmeg and more allspice, I think.

Now I have a new "problem." I was just at the grocery store and faced with the choice of buying either 1 lb of strawberries for $3 or 4 lbs for $4.50. So, of course, I bought 4 lbs of strawberries. I will use some to make the strawberry-orange variation on charoset and others for a strawberry butter of some sort, but I invite you to share your strawberry recipes (ones with flour are fine), as we've got quite a lot of them!
Mood:: 'tired' tired
orichalcum: (teacher)
posted by [personal profile] orichalcum at 10:34am on 09/04/2009
So, the Catholic Church in England (and America) is trying to preserve and restore dignity to the service. One recent change is to discourage priests from saying "Good Morning" to their congregations. When asked why, a spokesman answered: ""It is a debate that has been going on in the Church for a long time – are we doing a cabaret or are we actually celebrating the Eucharist? The fear is that if some guidance is not given and general decisions are not put down, the interpretation of the liturgy leads to unsuitable things, like strobe lights and girls in hotpants."

Now, I deeply respect the right of the church hierarchy to modify their liturgy and guidelines as they see fit. But I do love the mental image of the direct line from "Good morning" to "girls in hotpants."

On a more depressing note, the only professional academic prediction I've ever made in print has come true. When I was writing my article about HBO's Rome series a few years ago, I analyzed the new appearance of incest as a sexually racy theme in television and mass media from 2004-7, with actual incest occurring for the first time and not being universally condemned. I suggested that it would not be long before incest became an insult or slander that was acceptable to use against modern political enemies, at least in non-official contexts.

Well, today, the blogosphere has gone there, sadly, and is in the midst of a tawdry debate about whether Bristol Palin's ex, Levi Johnson, has "overly close" relations with his sister. We'll see how long it takes before it hits the tabloids and so forth. But I do think that HBO and the networks have succeeded in desensitizing some portion of the American public to the idea of incest as absolutely unacceptable; what will they come up with next?
Mood:: 'tired' tired
orichalcum: (teacher)
Because [livejournal.com profile] meepodeekin asked, and because, unlike _every other Roman history professor_ I've met or worked with, I would like to figure out a way to explain this coherently and concisely, here's my working explanation of how Roman elections worked. Suggestions for improvement in clarity are welcome; I have yet to find a good diagram.

Roman elections and silly math: )
Mood:: 'excited' excited


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