Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I kind of failed him this week...

"Man’s inability to live God’s words makes the Avatar’s teaching a mockery. Instead of practicing the compassion he taught, man has waged wars in his name. Instead of living the humility, purity, and truth of his words, man has given way to hatred, greed, and violence. Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form, I observe silence. "

-Meher Baba


Monday, December 28, 2009

Incredible Sophia Loren website

Oh this is delicious! The Sophia Loren Archives

As is my new list of her greatest film roles.

Too many of Sophia Loren's films are not available on dvd or even vhs so this site gives you stills and film set details. Not to be missed!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Buone Feste Natalizie! The Spumoni has been sliced! Best Spumoni Ice cream recipe with an alternate vegan and organic version

This an Italian Christmas Eve tradition in our home. Spumoni originated in Southern Italy and consisted of pistachio, dark chocolate and rum laced cherry ice creams. Nuts and fruits pieces were usually folded into either another layer(s) made of whip cream or into the cherry ice cream. The less exotic Neapolitan ice cream was created by Italian Americans when we could not find the ice creams of our people as readily available in the new world. The layering order of spumoni has an exact science and I've found the pistachio-cherry-rum-whip cream-dark chocolate sequence to be the best.

My extremely delicious recipe costs only about 15 quid or $25.00 and serves 8 to 12.



1.75 quarts of Pistachio Ice cream
(should be green, Thrifty's is great if you are in the US. Read below if you don't want artificial dyes))

1.75 quarts of Black Cherry or Cherry Ice cream

2 pints of Häagen-Dazs Rum Raisin (I remove about half of the raisins)

2 pints of Häagen-Dazs Dark Chocolate
(you must use dark chocolate ice cream or the spumoni will taste chalky and sugary)

1 pint of unsweetened heavy cream freshly whipped
half a cup of maraschino cherries halfed
half a cup of pistachios
half of finely chopped nuts (no peanuts)

Chill a 3 Qt. Oblong glass Baking Dish in the freezer for at least an hour. Thaw the pistachio ice cream. If you are working with vegan or organic ice cream watch carefully so the ice cream does not melt.

Layer the pistachio at the bottom pressing the two half cups of nuts into the ice cream. Freeze for at least an hour. Repeat with the cherry ice cream, pressing the maraschino cherries into the cherry ice cream. Freeze for at least an hour.Repeat with the Rum ice cream. Next spread a very generous layer of whipped cream as the fourth flavour. Freeze for two hours. Finally top the Spumoni with the dark chocolate ice cream which should spread like ganache. Freeze for at least four hours, ideally eight. This should be sliced like cake and removed from the pan with a wet spatula. It is lovely on it's own or with unsweetened or lightly sweetened whip cream

For vegans and/or organic ice cream lovers: This dessert has to have green pistachio ice cream and pink cherry to complete the effect as this desert is very beautiful to the eye as well as the palate. There are various natural food colourings and favourings now available:

For those who only eat organic and no favourings/dyes ever, you can take organic pistachio ice cream and blend in two to four tablespoons of fresh avocado and/or pistachio butter for a natural green food colouring. Be sure to blend in extra pistachio nuts, ideally crushed as well as whole. You will have to work fast because the ice cream cannot melt. You will barely taste the avocado. If organic rum ice cream is hard to find then generously flavour organic vanilla ice cream with rum yourself, the two flavours blend masterfully. Most organic ice cream brands usually feature dark chocolate and cherry ice cream so finding that should be easy. Use regular cherries instead of the post nuclear style maraschinos. A few crushed cherries or strawberries will make the ice cream pinker.

Vegan Spumoni fans will need to double the freezing times. You should ideally use Pangea vegan heavy cream or any preferred vegan whip cream and coconut bliss ice creams by Larry and Luna in flavours: Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Island (add RUM!) and Cherry Amaretto for the ice cream.
For Pistachio, either flavour/colour a vanilla vegan ice cream with pistachio flavouring, avocado and pistachios nuts or make your own:

Vegan Pistachio Ice Cream

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shelled pistachio nuts
2 tablespoons corn syrup (could use another liquid sweetner?)
1 cup Silk Creamer
1/2 cup sugar (could use Sucanat)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Pangea vegan heavy cream

Place 1/2 cup pistachio nuts in blender with the corn syrup. Blend until smooth.
Dissolve sugar in the creamer. Add to blender and blend until smooth. Stir in almond extract, vanilla extract, salt and vegan heavy cream. Refrigerate until cold.
Stir the chilled cream, then freeze in your ice cream maker as directed. When the ice cream is almost frozen, add the 2 tbsp of pistachio nuts and allow the machine to mix them in.

(Above recipe from Courtney

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sofia Coppola's Advert for Dior Cherie

How I love her work, like watercolours on film. And of course I love BARDOT!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Amanda's Vegetarian Borscht Recipe (can easily be made vegan)

Very inexpensive and easy, yet very rich! I've been perfecting this soup for awhile and it can be made by even the most culinary challenged. I'm very firm believer in Eastern European cooking having haunted Old Kraków in West Portal, and Russian Renaissance in the Richmond (both in San Francisco) when it was still open for buisness.

Any Eastern European foodie will tell you that the beet is omnipotent! In Kraków, Poland, the borscht I had I was clear, very flavourful and usually comes with perogie. I've never been to Moscow but I've heard that it's full of meat, while our Little Georgia Cafe in Haggerston, E2, London tends to cook a carrot heavy version substituting yoghurt for sour cream as the accompanier. This version I like best simply because it's so flavourful and beetcentric. This soup is supremely healthy as well even if it is not crammed full of vegetables which would only detract from the beets.

Rather than use vegetable stock which can be time consuming to make and/or full of salt if you buy it prefab, the stock for this soup is comprised of split pea soup and marinara sauce. I know it sounds odd but you taste neither peas nor tomato sauce just yummy rich beets and that great borscht flavour. The peas make the broth rich, the tomato sauce gives it depth.


2 cups or one can/carton of vegetarian split pea soup with minimal spices.
Andersens split pea without bacon is great. If you are in the UK than Tesco's Pea and Mint Soup works too)

3/4 cup of marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoons of tarragon, oregano, nutmeg, pepper
2 tablespoons parsley flakes or a handful of fresh chopped parsley
Half a golden onion chopped
1 cup of chopped baby cut carrots
6 cloves of pressed garlic (can be omitted for equally delicious soup)
3 to 4 medium size beets grated (I prefer to grate them right into the stock as it's cooking)
2 tablespoons butter (omit if vegan)
1/4 cup olive oil
6 to 8 cups of water
Sour cream and of Greek style yoghurt as a topping
salt optional

Directions: In a 2-3/4 soup pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat, then add and sauté the onion, garlic, carrots and spices and herbs in the melted butter and olive oil. Add the pea soup, tomato sauce and stir in three cups of water until heated (it will look very un-borscht like but don't worry!)

Gradually add in or grate the beets over medium heat. Three beets works fine, an extra beet will not only make the soup thicker but allow you to add water if you are running short spooning out leftovers the next day. Add additional water. I like about a cup and 1/2 of water for each beet but you should fine tune the consistency to your liking. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Tastes fantastic with sour cream, Greek yoghurt is fabulous as well. Serves four. This soup keeps fabulously for three days after its made.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Camille Paglia has a point

I enjoy her writing but tend to disagree with her on many things. Here she makes a very important point about Hate crimes legislation:

"There are a thousand elusive complications to any clash in public spaces like schools, bars or the street. For example, there was a horrifying recent incident in Philadelphia, where a melee in a bar among drunken white guys ended up with the beating and kicking to death of one of them outside the Phillies' baseball stadium. Nothing but stupidity and deranged egotism was at fault in this atrocity. But if any one of the participants happened to have been gay or black, the p.c. vultures would have swooped in and turned the entire thing into a breast-beating cause célèbre -- even if homophobia or racism played no role whatever in the events.

Hate crimes legislation, in my view, simply cushions people in their own subgroups and gives them a damaging sense of false entitlement. The world will always be a very dangerous place where anyone can cross paths with a psychopath. The human mind is home territory for Edgar Allan Poe's "imp of the perverse." Here's another example from the Philadelphia police blotter: Last year, five African-American youths, just for the fun of it, sucker-punched a passing white man in the Center City subway concourse in the middle of the day. A manager at Starbuck's who was on his way to work, he died from an asthmatic attack triggered by the assault. Surely he had been targeted because of his race. Why, then, was it not denounced as a hate crime? Why did those amoral marauders get a free pass in the hate crimes sweepstakes? The historical injustices suffered by enslaved Africans should not give infinite latitude to depraved individuals.

I say the law should be blind to race, gender and sexual orientation, just as it claims to be blind to wealth and power. There should be no specially protected groups of any kind, except for children, the severely disabled and the elderly, whose physical frailty demands society's care."

_camille paglia


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Really good song writing by men is...

usually about things or women that cause anger, sexual frustration or pleasure , sadness or drama. Yes there are plaintive and lonesome love songs and ballads written by The Beatles (And I love Her, Michelle etc) and great soul singers (Ain't No Woman Like The One I Got, Three Times A Lady, Bernadette) but most of the hard rockin bands I listen to don't write loving tunes that praise loving women who are kind and good and the majority of Hip Hop artists don't as well; they praise bitchy mean women.

You could call "Wild Horses" a great ballad , which it is, but it ultimately signifies the END of a relationship. In fact "let's do some living after we die" kind of says it all. Roseanna by Toto (I'm not a huge fan of Toto just like a "few songs" ;) is sung from the perspective of a guy who was dumped ("not quite year since she went away...") and what about "You Were Always on My Mind?" It reminds me of Tiger Woods!

I find myself trying to write love songs now and I just can't do it. Everything I write is sounding like Park Life!

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Monday, December 07, 2009

A song about today's America

Friday, December 04, 2009

Hate Crimes Against White People

Please join us for fresh ideas regarding tolerance on the new European-American Anti-Racism blog:

Many white racists claim that hate crime legalization works in a similar fashion to affirmative action; only to safeguard the rights of non-whites. In turn many people of color and anti-racists feel that a perceived umbrella effect of white privilege makes abject discrimination of whites next to impossible or at least nothing that could rival their shared expereinces. Great discomfort immediately floods the proceeding should one want to raise this topic. The inexcusable history of white supremacy, police brutality, lynching, Jim Crow and unfair employment practices aganist African Americans and other POC casts a shadow that clearly makes it off limits to some. This sadly puts many of us committed to a fair dialogue on race, humanity and crime in a no-win situation that needs little introduction.

On a few of the mainstream comments threads that follow the often unreported victims of minority on white crime, opinions read like this:

"...cross burning, racist slurs against blacks by white terrorists, slavery and the Jim Crow effects. This assault will not change my negative views on most whites regarding to cowardice expressed by their distorted views."

"Well gee, if you guys and gals are so angry over hate crime incidents, now you know how black people feel and have felt for decades - or centuries."

Attorney General Holder when appointed proclaimed: "we are a nation of cowards on race."

This is one specific example of cowardice. The above two statements by the bloggers are very racist and pointless yet many anti-racist whites would be risking an argument (or worse) if they were to disagree-in fact they are expected to agree without equivocation in most anti-racism and liberal circles. This creates regression in societal thinking. It says one has to negate and belittle the pain (even death) caused by violent crime because someone else's historical pain "matters more."

Two violent black criminals who brutally murdered eight police officers this past year are clear examples of heinous crimes committed against whites that fall within the parameters of what constitutes a hate crime.

Recently, there was a deadly shooting near Seattle, in the town of Lakevile, Washington.  Four white police officers,  Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and Officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42 were all murdered in cold blood by an African American parolee with a horrendous criminal record named Maurice Clemmons. It is clear to anyone who follows the media that had this been a white parolee shooting four African American police officers in cold blood it would have been reported as a hate crime immediately.

The fact that Clemmons does not, as of yet, have any obvious ties to black extremist groups makes the issue less cut and dried than say the shooter who murdered Stephen Tyrone Johns, a six-year veteran of the National Holocaust museum's security staff.  Johns' killer, James W. von Brunn, an 88-year-old white supremacist from Maryland had a Neo-Nazi website that clearly showed a motive. Clemmons had a clear motive though too, he hated society and he was very conniving. When one looks closely at who Clemmons was, the only matter of conjecture regarding white police officers is that his murders were not planned sooner.

Born, raised and incarcerated in Arkansas as a teenager only to emerge as a Frankenstein monster of the American penal system eleven years later, Clemmons lied his way out of prison twice, once with the now infamous assistance and culpability of Mike Huckabee. He went on to commit child rape and in May of 2009,  assaulted two police deputies. Clemmons was placed under arrest  where he told jail workers, "I'll kill all you bitches." Clemmons was charged with two felony assault charges and two felony malicious mischief charges, and released from jail the next day after posting a $40,000 bail bond without seeing a judge. Out on bail he committed the mass murders of the police officers and was subsequently seen and shot dead later that same week. Among those arrested in collusion were Darcus Allen, his alleged getaway driver, and Clemmons' sister, who bandaged his wounds and provided transportation. The murders were clearly planned.

26 year old Lovelle Mixon was a serial rapist who had an extensive criminal history. On March 20, 2009, the day prior to the police shootings that killed Sgt. Mike Dunakin, Officer John Hege, Sgt. Ervan Romans and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, Oakland police learned that Mixon was linked by DNA to the February 5, 2009 rape of a 12-year-old girl who was dragged off the street at gunpoint in the East Oakland neighborhood where Mixon's sister lived. On May 4, 2009 a state laboratory confirmed this link and also said Mixon had robbed and raped two young women on the morning of March 21, 2009, the same day he murdered four police officers who had pursued him on a parole violation. If Mixon had been arrested for his parole violation, he would have faced at most six months in prison; if convicted of rape, he faced life sentences. Mixon waited in ambush.

Sadly, the inane and grotesquely exploitative racist Oakland based organization Uhuru House distributed  flyers in the neighborhood where Mixon was shot dead, inviting people to a rally where they might "uphold the resistance" of "Brother Lovelle Mixon" while others intent on making Oakland look hopeless called his death "genocide." Thankfully, the many sensible community activists of Oakland spoke out aganist their lack of humanity but they were of course ignored by the media and many white journalists who, once again, used the Afrocentric ramblings of a few outdated idiots to unfairly define mainstream Black America.

The answer to both situations never repeating themselves is to study how killers like these are born and raised and to wipe out all poverty. Our President needs to bring the troops home NOW and start focusing on the United States. In the mean time, there can be no excuses for not calling the murders of these eight police officers Hate Crimes. The blatant unfairness of not doing so actually creates more fear by giving many whites the clear impression that if their children are murdered or attacked because of their race, then its guarantee that assailant will face less jail time and fewer charges simply because they, the victim were/are white. Crime is not Affirmative Action  (a concept I fully support despite the obvious drawbacks) a murder destroys the sanity of every family it crushes and in the same way as it mocks the safety of our society that many of us value greatly.

By calling a hate crime what it is, you validate communities and individuals who feel they are at lost as to how to protect themselves for simply being. This important racial distinction in criminal justice was set up to protect victims not racists on sidelines competing in persecution Olympics. It is an unpopular concept to many in anti-racism circles but yes, white people can be victims of violent racism too. To negate it and not include it in the wider anti-racist debate is to practice the ultimate in hypocrisy and blame based assumptions while opening the door to yet more racial extremism. The operative stereotype being that "whites have always been on top so they do not need as much protection as people of color."

I doubt that even Al Sharpton would have the guts to tell that to the families of the eight slain officers this holiday season.

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