Saturday, May 23, 2009

How to Make No-Bake Cookies

Last summer, my mother and stepfather went back east for a vacation. He is originally from New Hampshire, so they went to visit his children as well as see all sorts of sights. They started here and went through Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and Ohio on their way there. In Deer Trail, Colorado, they picked up a cookbook. I was feeling like cookies one day, but I didn't want to bake them. I wanted them NOW! So I used that recipe and amended it.

You will need:
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
Directions: In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil. Boil for a minute or two. remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon onto waxed paper. Let cool. Enjoy!

I didn't add 1/2 a banana or 2 Tablespoons cocoa because we didn't have either one. And then I put a dozen onto wax paper and decided to eat it out of the pan. I didn't eat all of it, so some of it cooled in the pan. It was good warm, better after having been cooled...but if you let it cool and then eat it in cookie form, it's best of all.

Another time I added the banana but it made the cookies squishy longer, so I'm not going to do that anymore. It makes 2 and 1/2 dozen cookies if you don't eat the dough first! (It's very tasty, but if you wait for them to cool, it's so worth it, I promise!)

How to Make Tamales

You will need:
  • 7 pound pork roast with bone
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 9 cups water
  • 1/3 cup pules 1/4 cup chili powder, divided
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 package (8 oz) dried corn shucks
  • 1 package (4.4 pounds) masa harina (about 16 cups)
  • 2 pounds (4 cups) shortening or lard
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
At 8:30 p.m. bone the pork shoulder roast. Cut the pork into 3-inch pieces. Put the meat and bone 6 qt saucepan. Pour the water in. It will fill it up to the very brim. Realize that even if you didn't still have to add the garlic that you need a bigger pan. Ask your mother if she has one. She will direct you to her closet where you will need to retrieve this:
Switch the meat, bone and water to the stockpot. Then separate the heads of garlic into cloves and peel them. Put the garlic into the pot. Make sure the water covers the meat. If not, add more water. Bring the whole pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to mediium low. Cover the pot and simmer it for about 2 hours (or until meat is tender). While you're waiting, get on the computer so you'll stay awake. By the time the meat it done, it's at least 11:30 pm. You're supposed to place the meat and liquid in separate containers. So you get these out:
Then you try to strain the meat without splashing yourself with the scalding broth. It only splashes once or twice and you jump out of the way just in time. Then you "discard" the bone. You're supposed to shred the meat with either your fingers or a food processor. Then you put the shredded meat in here:
But it has never been used before, so first you wash it with hot water (no soap!) and then you dry thoroughly. Then you spray it with cooking oil. And, finally, you get to use it. So you put the shredded meat in, along with 1/3 cup chill powder, the cumin seed, and a teaspoon of salt. Stir it all up and add 3 cups of the "reserved liquid." Simmer the mixture over low heat for an hour and be sure to stir it a lot. If necessary, add more of the broth to keep the meat from sticking to the pan. Then you put the lid on the bowl of "reserved liquid" and and stick it in the refrigerator.

Transfer the flavored meat into the six quart saucepan you originally tried to use and since it doesn't have a lid, cover it with a dinner plate. Put it in the refrigerator, too. Clean the dutch oven right away. Rinse it in hot water (do NOT use soap) and dry it with a dish towel. It's still plenty seasoned, so go ahead and store it away with a dish towel folded up inside between the lid and oven as shown in the above photo so that the air can circulate. Make sure some of the towel is inside as well, to soak up any moisture, so it doesn't rust.

Then fill up the stock pot with hot water to soak until you bother cleaning it (spilling the water all over your jeans is optional). By now it's 1 am, so go to sleep since the broth and meat filling need to be left in the fridge overnight anyway.

The next day, soak the corn husks for 30 minutes to soften. Clean and separate the shucks. While that going on, mix up the dough. In a big bowl (one the size of the one shown above), combine the remaining 1/4 cup chili powder and 2 teaspoons of salt. Then get out the lard. You asked for 2 pounds, but your mother when she bought the ingredients didn't realize that and bought 4 pounds. You don't want to cut it down the middle and use half because that is inexact and you're a bit of a perfectionist. You ignore the part in the recipe where it says "4 cups" as an alternate measurement and do it the hard way. There are 139 Tablespoons in 4 lbs of lard (or so the Nutrition facts on the bucket say) and there are 16 tablespoons in a cup. So you do some math.

139 / 16 = 8.69 cups
8 x 16 = 128 tablespoons
139 - 128 = 11 tablespoons
4 lbs of lard = 8 cups +11 tablespoons
2 lbs of lard = 4 cups + 5 tablespoons +1 1/2 teaspoons

So you cut 4 cups + 5 tablespoons +1 1/2 teaspoons of lard into the masa mixture until it "resembles course corn meal." Skim the fat off of the broth (which is now jelly-like from being refrigerated). If you don't have 8 cups, then add the beef broth to make 8 cups. If you added more than nine cups of water when you were boiling the pork and then only added 3 cups of broth when you were simmering the meat in the dutch oven, you have 9 cups of broth. So be sure and measure. Add the liquid to the masa mixture and stir until you have a soft dough that will stick together.

Now it's time to assemble the tamales. Take a corn shuck and lay it out like this:
Spread about 1/4 cup of dough two-thirds of the way across the straight end and about 4 1/2 inches down, like so:
Now spread a heaping tablespoon of meat down the center of the dough:
Fold the edge closest to you over the meat, while still leaving a small bit of dough exposed:
Fold the far side all the way over until the dough edges overlap. Wrap the shuck all the way around the tamale. Fold the tail under, across the seam.
Stand the tamales in a container, or tie them shut with string. You can freeze them for later or cook them now.

To cook: Stand the tamales in a steamer basket with the open ends pointing up. Place the basket over hot water in a stockpot. Cover and steam 1-1.5 hours. Serve warm.

Supposedly it makes 5 1/2 dozen tamales, but I have yet to finish making them all. I made thirty, ate two, and still have a lot of dough and corn husks left.

Edited to Add: Don't steam the tamales. It makes them mushier and it's nasty. Cook them at a low heat for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: What's On My Mind

Thirteen Things on My Mind:

1. A storm is brewing outside

2. I need to make tamales

3. The dishwasher needs emptying

4. The weather is making the internet sporadic

5. I need to put up the new shower curtain

6. What will I post next?

7. I would like to go on a road trip through Western Colorado

8. Are the no-bake cookies cool enough to eat?

9. Will we have pizza for dinner?

10. I wonder who I'll be in five years...

11. I should not have had so much to eat

12. I love the overcast weather, but I wanted to sleep outside on the trampoline again tonight (like I did last night and the night before that).

13. Why don't I like being around people 'just to have fun'?

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Carbon Footprint

I'm on a blogging extravaganza! I just feel really chatty round about now. I also decided to do one of those carbon footprint calculators. So I did. I put in the information for a family of four since my stepfather isn't here often enough to count for anything (I did count his plane trip, though). I used this one, although this one is also good.

This is the other one that I said was also good (my family's results).

It's not too great, but it's not too shabby, either.

No More Second-Hand?

While I'm on a roll with all this lawmaking fun, let's talk about consignment and secondhand stores. There's this marvelous new law that says those NO ONE is allowed to sell any products meant for those age 12 or younger if they contains lead or phthalates. Check out these links:
P.S. If you want to back up your blog online (in case you accidentally delete your blog, or worse), try this site. And if you use Blogger and want a copy saved to the computer, then go to "Settings>Basic>Blog Tools>Export blog."

Exasperated at the Entire Nation

The thing that most bothers me about his country is how high our laziness quotient is. We're too lazy to exercise, so we're the ninth fattest nation in the world (74.1% of those over age 15 are overweight) and moving right up. We're too lazy to eat right, so every 34 seconds, somebody dies of heart disease and every 20 seconds, somebody has a heart attack (see statistics). We eat food loaded with pesticides because it's cheap and wonder why disease is so rampant. We mechanize our lives and neglect nature (pretending she is inefficient) and then wonder why we are all so emotionally messed up. We're too lazy to care what our government is doing and so they pass laws that infringe on our rights. And then we're too lazy to do anything. We're too lazy to care about our planet, so we pollute our land with landfills, chop down our forests, build factories that release all kinds of air pollutions, pour our wastes into water sources...and the list goes on.

Some people try to live in such a way that there will still be natural beauty and wilderness left in our country fifty years from now. And that is great. Keep up the good work, but this is a rant (in case you hadn't already noticed lol) and so that's all I'm going to say about you.

I'm going to end with a quote:
Your land is a spiritual responsibility: Whoever you are, whatever your faith, the land you live on is a spiritual responsibility. With privilege comes responsibility!

We all have to become political activists, fighting the sources of pollution wherever we find them! If we don't fight it will keep on happening...the moral person takes responsibility for his or her entire life, and afterlife, and the lives of those given to us as a responsibility--and the tomorrow of this great gift of a planet! This is one of those times in history when everybody has to stand up and be counted. You're either for planetary death by poison or you're or a responsible, protective stewardship that will recover and maintain healthy soil, air, and water. There's no in between. At the rate we're going, the next 10, 20, or, at the most, 50 years, will decisively tip the balance one way or the other...there can never be a letting up of this vigilence, this policing and regulation of government and industry's tendency to pollute.

There is change, good change, coming...When we're awakened and aroused to the point at which people do what's needed without legislation to force them, that's the best of all possible systems...It can happen. It has to. Industry and government have to be willing, or forced, to..avoid irreparable environmental damage.

--"The Encyclopedia of Country Living" by Carla Emery, pages 13-14 (9th edition)

HR 5122, the Insurrection Act, & other handy tidbits

Those striving for self-sufficiency generally grow food and then store it for winter use when there are limited growing opportunities (I sound like an Agriculture lecture, eek!). And Mormons have their year supply/food storage thing going on. Now, have you ever heard of "food hoarding?" "Martial Law?" "The Insurrection Act?"

Let's take it from the top. The Insurrection Act is a set of laws that serves just one purpose: preventing the President from using the military to control the people in our country as Monarchy and other such government systems do. It doesn't totally prevent him from using the military on American soil, but it is supposed to severely cripple him in that respect. On October 17, 2006, our now ex-President (is there another, official, term for that?) Bush signed into law a bill that seeks to overcome that limitation. HR 5122, Subtitle H, Section 1076 amends Section 333 of Title 10, United States Code. Section 333's original text can be found here, while a copy of the HR 5122 and, more specifically, the amendment to Section 333 can be found here (after clicking "continue on to the bill," you will be taken straight to the part you are looking for: section 1076; it's a long bill and so it might take a minute or two to load). I'll give you a few minutes to read and maybe drown a little in legal jargon.

Done? Great. Basically what the bill is doing is allowing the President to declare martial law on an area without the permission of the local authorities and to take any troops from any state to accomplish that. And there are no limits on what situations martial law is acceptable in:
"the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable ..."
And that could mean anything. This article discusses what exactly this bill is and why it's so "disturbing" (for lack of a more powerful word).

Okay, so now we know that the Prez can declare martial law on any one of us at any time for any reason. So what is martial law? (And how come if you switch the 'i' and 't' t becomes marital law?) Quite simply it's the set of laws that are put in place when the military is doing the police and court's job of enforcing the law. And instead of our judicial system, they have a military tribunal they call a "court martial." Most likely the writ of habeas corpus will be suspended. And there is generally a curfew. This "martial law" is normally only put in place during war when there isn't a government. See this page for more details.

In order to prevent the misuse of the power of military law, there is (or was) this thing, Posse Comitatus, which basically says "the military isn't allowed to be involved in enforcing domestic laws without going through lots of trouble with Congress." But then HR 5122 came along and so it isn't really in effect anymore.

So where does "food hoarding" come in? (you: food hoarding? what has that got to do with anything? you haven't said anything about it in this whole post or even... me: cool your jets, sweetie pie. I mentioned it at the beginning. you: the beginning? yeah right. you've been yammering so long I can't even remember that far. I probably wasn't even born then me: just sit down and listen. leave your complaints in the comments section okay, m'dear? you (sulkily): fine) Food hoarding is what most people call the behavior of those who store food (like homesteaders and Mormons). Most states have some kind of "anti-hoarding" law which usually says something like "you can store a week's worth of food, but if you have any more than that, then we can take it the extra and do what we please with it." This article discusses so-called food hoarding as well as Executive Orders. They say it better than I can, so please read it. Also, under martial law, they can seize your goods and belongings without permission. The ultimate edict amounts to bad BAD BAD.

Hot Belly Mama

I have a new blog to add to the mix. It goes by the name of "Hot Belly Mama" and it's about a lady who calls herself "Mount Belly Mama" at the moment. She lives in the "Pacific Northwest, USA" (read: Washington, Oregon area). She lives on eight acres with her husband, Bo, eight (or was it seven? nine?) cats, and a lot of chickens. They are expecting a new baby (their first) very soon (like next month-ish). She's interested in plenty of different "alternative lifestyles" like babywearing, cloth diapering, sustainable living...good stuff we are all into lol.

She has an interesting writing style that I enjoy. She's sometimes poetic, other times humorous, but generally an interesting mix of the two.

MBM also co-authors "The KISS Journals" which I have yet to read. ('KISS' is an acronym for "Keep it Simple Sisterhood.") It's a simple living blog all about sustainable life (gardening, getting out of debt, raising chickens, knitting, baking from scratch, getting off grid, whatever) and there are about twenty different people posting there.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood

I just caught up on a new blog. This one is called "Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood" and is written by Stephanie. She is a Christian mother of five. She and her husband live in West Virginia with four of her children: Kellen (10), Lydia (7), Nolan (5), and Vivian (3). She has a garden and menagerie of animals including chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs, cows, horses and goats.

Her blog is an interesting read as she homeschools her children and lives in 100 acres of wood. I've enjoyed the read so far and hope for more adventures to come.

She also has another blog that I have not yet read. It's called "Stop the Ride" and it's about "living a simple and frugal life in a world that isn't."

More Meaningless Chatter

I have a dilemma. I don't like spiders (except Daddy Long Legs). But I don't want to hurt spiders. And I don't want them to hurt me. And there's a huge one on the wall a few yards away. And I am squeamish. This is one of the things I hate about summer. The insect population goes crazy! Last summer there was an excess of moths. You'd drive down the road at night in the middle of July and you'd swear it was snowing. Please don't ever let there be an excess of spiders!

I have been listening to the new age station of an online radio site. I really love new age music. My favorites artists are probably Enya and Loreena McKennit. I recently bought "Ever After" on DVD. We've owned it as a family, but as one of my favorite movies (or maybe the favorite), I wanted it for my own. Funny thing. The family's is rated "PG" and mine is rated "PG-13"...why? Anyways, so as a "special feature," it has the theatrical trailer. I watched it and lets just say that they did a spectacular job. And you know what pleased me the most? The trailer is accompanied by two songs. The first is a haunting melody: "The Mummers' Dance" by Loreena McKennit. The second is more 'freeflying' and adventurous: "Fable" by Robert Miles. This is the trailer; tell me if it doesn't make you want to watch the movie (whether for the first time or the hundredth):

Our Bookmobile

I was going to plant flowers in this one spot in my garden, but instead I planted beans. :)

We don't have a library, but recently the county bookmobile started coming every other Wednesday. Not only can I check out as many books as I please, I can go on their website and request books from different libraries in our county be placed on hold and reserved for me. Today I went on and put these books on hold:
  • "I Can Lick Thirty Tigers Today and Other Stories" by Dr. Seuss
  • "Wild Mind" by Natalie Goldberg
  • "Thunder and Lightening" by Natalie Goldberg
  • "The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell
  • "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" by Richard P. Feynman
  • Three books from the "Foxfire" series
  • "Utopia" by Thomas More
I also wanted "Of Wolves and Men" by Barry Lopez and "Women and Nature" by Susan Griffin but I guess I'll have to try either interlibrary loan or else buy it since they don't have it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nothing Specific

I found the camera. I can't find the bloody cord. So it doesn't do much good.

I did finally get some things done. I planted most of my little seedlings. None of the catnip did anything. And I only have one jalapeno. The soil desperately needs improvement, but although I know of a great deal of different things that can be used for such a purpose, I can't find seem to be able to obtain them. So I have tilled my garden by hand, all the while cursing the stupid clay and reminding myself how much I loathe red dirt.

My mother and stepfather are at church and the batteries in the mouse are getting low and I have no idea where the replacement batteries or the mouse-with-a-cord is because my mother doesn't put anything in a logical place and, even worse, she never remembers where she put it. Let's just hope that the mouse lasts another hour and a half until they get back so that I can keep doing the computer thing.

I wonder what I want for breakfast.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Censored Book Fun

"Don't Read This Book" written and performed by Keith "Rockerbob" Lewis:

200 Banned (& Challenged) Books

Arranged alphabetically by title. Bold the books you have read, italicize the books you want to read. Place a checkmark (√) next to the books you own. In the comments, place a link to your 200 Banned, tell how many you've read, and/or list the titles and authors of any other books that qualify for this list (that generally means anything written for audiences under eighteen that includes one or more of the following: sex, violence, addresses serious issues, addresses the darker side or humanity, contains ideas that are not 'politically correct,' contains ideas that aren't conservative, et cetera).

The difference between banned and challenged books: Challenged is when someone tries to restrict a book. A ban means it's been removed.
“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume
195 Banned (& Challenged) Books:
  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  3. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  4. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  5. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  6. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  7. A Time To Kill by John Grisham
  8. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  9. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  10. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
  11. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
  12. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  13. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  14. Anastasia Again! by Lois Lowry
  15. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
  16. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  17. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  18. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  19. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  20. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
  21. Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael Bellesiles
  22. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  23. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  24. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  25. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  26. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  27. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
  28. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
  29. Blubber by Judy Blume
  30. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  31. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  32. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  33. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
  34. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  35. Carrie by Stephen King
  36. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  37. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  38. Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris
  39. Christine by Stephen King
  40. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
  41. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
  42. Cujo by Stephen King
  43. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  44. Cut by Patricia McCormick
  45. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  46. Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan
  47. Deal With It! by Esther Drill
  48. Deenie by Judy Blume
  49. Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds
  50. Draw Me A Star by Eric Carle
  51. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
  52. Fade by Robert Cormier
  53. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  54. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  55. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
  56. Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going
  57. Fear Street (Series) R. L. Stine
  58. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
  59. Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper
  60. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  61. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  62. Forever by Judy Blume
  63. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
  64. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  65. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  66. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  67. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  68. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  69. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
  70. Grendel by John Gardner
  71. Growltiger's Last Stand by T.S. Eliot
  72. Guess What? by Mem Fox
  73. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  74. Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
  75. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  76. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  77. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  78. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
  79. Holy Bible
  80. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  81. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  82. I Saw Esau by Iona Opte
  83. In a Dark, Dark Room by Alvin Schwartz
  84. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  85. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  86. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  87. Ironman by Chris Crutcher
  88. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  89. It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families by Robie H. Harris
  90. Jack by A.M. Homes
  91. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  92. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  93. Junie B. Jones (series) by Barbara Park
  94. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  95. Jumper by Steven Gould
  96. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  97. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
  98. King and King by Linda de Haan
  99. Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence
  100. Life is Funny by E.R. Frank
  101. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  102. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  103. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  104. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  105. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
  106. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  107. Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park
  108. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
  109. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  110. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
  111. Nathan’s Run by John Gilstrap
  112. Native Son by Richard Wright
  113. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  114. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
  115. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  116. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  117. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  118. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  119. Pinkerton, Behave! by Steven Kellog
  120. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  121. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  122. Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez
  123. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
  124. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
  125. Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  126. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
  127. Sex by Madonna
  128. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
  129. Shade’s Children by Garth Nix
  130. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  131. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  132. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
  133. So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Watkins
  134. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  135. Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence
  136. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  137. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
  138. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  139. Taming the Star by Runner S.E. Hinton
  140. That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton
  141. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  142. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by Dav Pilkey
  143. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  144. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  145. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  146. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  147. The Brimstone Journals by Ron Koertge
  148. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  149. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  150. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  151. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  152. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  153. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
  154. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
  155. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
  156. The Facts Speak for Themselves by Brock Cole
  157. The Fighting Ground by Avi
  158. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  159. The Goats by Brock Cole
  160. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  161. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  162. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  163. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  164. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  165. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  166. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  167. The Lord of the Rings (series) by JRR Tolkien
  168. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  169. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  170. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
  171. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  172. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  173. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  174. The Shining by Stephen King
  175. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
  176. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  177. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
  178. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
  179. The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss
  180. The Wish Giver by Bill Brittain
  181. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  182. Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  183. Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
  184. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  185. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  186. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  187. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
  188. Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
  189. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
  190. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  191. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
  192. When Dad Killed Mom by Julius Lester
  193. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  194. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
  195. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
  196. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
  197. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
  198. Women in Love by DH Lawrence
  199. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
  200. You Hear Me by Betsy Franco
This list is far from exhaustive. Some good books that aren't on here but qualify are "Boy Toy" by Barry Lyga, "Tender Morsels" by Margo Lanagan, "Rubyfruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown, "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" by Tom Robbins, "Push" by Sapphire, "Leaving Brooklyn" by Lynne Sharon Schwartz....

P.S. This is post number 50!!!

Banned (& Challenged) Books

I am mucho annoyed. Only annoyed? you say. Well, perhaps it is more than that. A few different things I came across as I traversed the world wide web have sparked me to add my own voice to the others on a certain subject: banned and challenged books.
“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
— On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
Each year the ALA (American Library Association) sponsors Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read. This year it's September 26th-October 3rd (2009).
Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) is asked why the week is called “Banned Books Week” instead of “Challenged Books Week,” since the majority of the books featured during the week are not banned, but “merely” challenged. There are two reasons. One, ALA does not “own” the name Banned Books Week, but is just one of several cosponsors of BBW; therefore, ALA cannot change the name without all the cosponsors agreeing to a change. Two, none want to do so, primarily because a challenge is an attempt to ban or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A successful challenge would result in materials being banned or restricted.
Want to know which books are banned/challenged? The list might surprise you ("Freaky Friday" is on there?! WT*?). I have posted it here.

The most frequently challenged authors of 2008
1. Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
2. Philip Pullman
3. Lauren Myracle <--Gemini: Amazing author! Probably placed here because of her books "TTYL," "TTFN," and "L8R, G8R"
4. Jim Pipe
5. Alvin Schwartz
6. Chris Crutcher
7. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
8. Rudolfo Anaya
9. Stephen Chbosky
10. Cecily Von Ziegesar <--Gemini: Another awesome author. Placed here because of her Gossip Girl series?

Top Ten Challenged Authors 1990-2004
1. Alvin Schwartz
2. Judy Blume <--Gemini: Yet another great author. She's probably on here because of "Forever" and maybe "Then Again, Maybe I Won't" as well as a few others.
3. Robert Cormier
4. J.K. Rowling <--Gemini: Obviously on here because of her Harry Potter books (there's nothing wrong with them!)
5. Michael Willhoite
6. Katherine Paterson
7. Stephen King <--Gemini: Three guesses why he's on here.
8. Maya Angelou <--Gemini: Author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"
9. R.L. Stine <--Gemini: I personally don't like very many of his books but that's just cuz I don't prefer the horror genre. There was one about vampires I really liked though. Fear Street or something. My sister, on the other hand, adores his books. But then again, horror is one of her favorite genres.
10. John Steinbeck <--Gemini: Authored "Of Mice and Men"

Out of 8,332 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, as compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom does not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges. Research suggests that for each challenge reported there are as many as four or five which go unreported.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Touch the Earth Farm

I haven't updated the LiveJournal or WordPress sites very recently, especially since I am having trouble with the importer on WordPress. This blog gets updated first cuz it's where I post the original. I import posts into WordPress and I copy and paste for LiveJournal (setting the date & time to match the one here).

I have just finished catching up on another blog. It's called "Touch the Earth Farm" and it's written by a lady doing the homestead thing on a 5 acre farm(ette?) in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and son. They have plenty of livestock and they run a small CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

Her blog can be found here (as well as in the sidebar) and her farm's website can be found here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More Swine Flu Goodness

Also check out this article: "Critical Alert: The Swine Flu Pandemic--Fact or Fiction?" It addresses many of the same issues as the article mentioned in my previous post on swine flu, but in a less sensational way.

And this YouTube video (it's of ads in the seventies promoting swine flu shots and it's kinda sorta really ridiculous):

A lot of people have been thinking that big-time Agribusiness is the cause of this latest swine flu (it wouldn't surprise me) and that's what this YouTube video is about:

Urban Homesteading: Garden Girl TV

A lot of times homesteading in town is overlooked or not addressed. We know it exists, but we don't talk about it enough. However, there is a site I found that is all about "urban sustainable living."

This is the teaser-like commercial thing:

The website is Garden Girl TV.

Swine Flu

Swine Flu seems to be the big new around here. And a lot of people seem to be panicked. There was a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) conference today and a nearly everyone who is involved with it has decided not to attend so that they don't get swine flu. My friend down the street? Her parents went through and deep-cleaned their house. And we were going to have a bonfire there last Thursday, but they canceled it because of the Swine Flu. So we moved it to another friends house. A lady I know and her family are thinking they don't want to go to the wedding they were planning on attending on the 29th because it's in Mexico.

And yet I am not afraid. I had heard of how it came around in the seventies when I was reading something on bird flu (some sort of expose, I think). Then when people are all "The Swine are Coming!" I thought I'd do a little research. Skepticism first, then--if it makes sense--then I thought I might try panicking (although I'm not very good at it).

First, I thought I might like to find out what this flu is. According to Wikipedia:

Swine influenza (also called swine flu, hog flu, and pig flu) refers to influenza caused by those strains of influenza virus that usually infect pigs and are called swine influenza virus (SIV).[1] Swine influenza is common in pigs in the midwestern United States (and occasionally in other states), Mexico, Canada, South America, Europe (including the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Italy), Kenya, Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and other parts of eastern Asia.[1]

Transmission of swine influenza virus from pigs to humans is not common. When it is transmitted, it does not always cause human influenza; often, the only sign of infection is the presence of antibodies, detectable only by laboratory tests. When transmission results in influenza in a human, it is called zoonotic swine flu. People who work with pigs, especially people with intense exposures, are at risk of catching swine flu. However, only about fifty such transmissions have been recorded since the mid-20th Century, when identification of influenza subtypes became possible. (Importantly, eating pork does not pose a risk of infection.) Rarely, these strains of swine flu can pass from human to human. In humans, the symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general, namely chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort.

The 2009 flu outbreak in humans that is widely known as "swine flu" is due to an apparently virulent new strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1 that was produced by reassortment from one strain of human influenza virus, one strain of avian influenza virus, and two separate strains of swine influenza. The origin of this new strain is unknown, and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reports that this strain has not been isolated in pigs.[2] It passes with apparent ease from human to human, an ability attributed to an as-yet unidentified mutation.[3] This 2009 H1N1 strain causes the normal symptoms of influenza, such as fever, coughing and headache.[4]

Read the entire entry...

Symptoms of Swine Flu in humans:
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
The thing I don't understand is how Swine Flu could actually kill someone. Aside from dehydration (which is easily remedied through either drinking plenty of fluids and/or being hooked up to an IV), which of those is actually so dangerous? I mean, in order to live, your heart, brain, lungs, etc must perform their functions. So, how are they prevented from doing their respective jobs by influenza? But whatever.

Take a look at this article. Go ahead and skip past the first section down to where it says "Swine Flu Expose" if you like. I cannot say I agree with her version of who and why, but I do believe the how. Take what you can out of the article. I don't know if it's totally true, but it's definitely something to consider. Take a look, and then tell me what you think (remember to be civil, of course).