Posts from October 2008

What Malls Got to Do with It? Diwali 2008

In Days of Darkness During Diwali (Reuters, October 27) Aditya Kalra looks at how people's financial perceptions of the future affected their preparations for the holidays.

The comments on the piece might be more interesting than the piece itself, discussing the lack of perspective shown by most as well as the creeping commercialization of Diwali.

On a lighter note in Diya jale! the Times of India Reports on what Celebrities are are up to, Tanushree Dutta (Miss India 2004) let us know that "there will be Laxmi puja at home".


Word has it that goddess Laxmi (above) who stands for wealth will visit only clean homes whose residents are hard workers.

Last piece I guess for Diwali 2008

Related: October 28, Diwali 2008, School Tips (BBC) and Bollywood New Flicks (Golmaal Returns)

Craving Vegetarian TV? Scan Veggie Vision

Be reassured, I am not going crazy and seeing the advent of the 'organic' TV here.

As niche audiences get smaller and smaller, here comes Veggie Vision, an Internet TV Channel.

On Word of Mouth, Adharanand Finn wonders Who will watch the vegetarian channel?

He also asks "what is the point of vegetarian telly, exactly?"

Mr. Finn offers this high point of Veggie Vision "a nice interview with Benjamin Zephaniah in which he tells the story of how he once beat a boy up at school for calling him a vegan – he was vegan but he didn't know the word and thought it was a racist insult of some sort.He also talks about how as a child he saw animals as friends who didn't judge him for his skin color".

It might prove that being a vegetarian does not prevent you from showing anger.

Interestingly enough, Veggie Vision the internet TV Channel has a twin.

The other Veggie Vision is a very advanced scanner designed by Jon Connell and his team of the Exploratory Vision Group at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center "that can recognize the 150 or so different fruits and vegetables found in the produce section of a well-stocked supermarket" from kiwano to tamarillo according to Green Machine by Bruce Schechter (for IBM).

If you are interested in a cross between a cucumber and a kiwi which is the description I found via How to eat a Kiwano, treat yourself to this fruit from the Kalahari desert.

As for Tamarillo, it is a native of Peru and other Andean neighbors.

Its original name is Tree Tomato according to Wikipedia.

A culinary escapade for Green Day #50

Related: Post Punk Recipes: Now Playing: Vegan Soup

Pacherenc and Madiran, Obscure if not Cult Wines from Southwest France

It is always fun to take the road less traveled.
This applies to wine as well.

Jordan Mackay did just that in his Juice column Entering French Basque Country Some obscure appellations to seek out (Chow, October 15).

We get an education on Madiran as well as Pacherenc du Vic Bilh which we learn "adjacent to Madiran and produces white wines that must be 60 percent composed of the varieties Courbu and Petit Manseng. They’re usually semisweet or sweet, but Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Sec, or dry, can be very refreshing, with strong and alluring aromas of white flowers, vegetation, pears, and citrus rind."

AF Touch Cuisine adds that in local language Béarnais "Pacherenc means "stakes in row" and from the language of Oc, Vic-Bilh is equivalent to" old country".

Besides Courbu and Petit Manseng, two other varietals can be found in the area, Arrufiac and Large Manseng.

Petit Manseng is actually Now found in Georgia (the state, not the country) at Tiger Mountain Vineyards.

Wine for thought

Related: Jewel in the Crown of Southwest France? Domaine du Moulie Madiran

October 28, Diwali 2008, School Tips (BBC) and Bollywood New Flicks (Golmaal Returns)

As Diwali 2008 is about to start (October 28), the BBC shares Some Diwali Basics with us as well as ways for British schools to get kids to know about it.

Basic Diwali facts I picked from the article:

"The word Diwali means "rows of lighted lamps" and the celebration is often referred to as the Festival of Lights because of the common practice of lighting small oil lamps (called diyas) and placing them around the home, in courtyards and in gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls.
During this time, homes are thoroughly cleaned, windows are opened and diyas are lit as a greeting to Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. In urban areas candles or electric lights are often substituted for diyas. During Diwali, gifts are exchanged and festive meals are prepared. The celebration means as much to Hindus as Christmas does to Christians. Because there are many regions in India, there are many different versions of the Diwali festival."

As I mentioned in 2007, the holiday season usually sees the release of a number of movies hoping to break through.
No big hype this year according to Diwali 2008: Four movie releases (Business of Cinema).
Amongst the 4 movies released on October 24 and October 29, Roadside Romeo is an animated movie which they feel "has limited appeal and is releasing only in multiplexes."
In a different niche Fashion sees Priyanka Chopra in a serious drama in a city setting and aims for the more urban crowd, they feel.
The other 2 releases are Heroes and Golmaal Returns (picture below), they describe the first as as a patriotic flick and the second as a comic caper with a dance soundtrack to match.



In the US, many locales have already held festivities over the week-end.

Related: Is 'Om Shanti Om' the Hot Diwali Film Release?

From a Few Pounds to a Few Ounces: Time to Leave the Laptop Behind?

Nick Wingfield (Wall Street Journal, October 27) asks if for many of us now is the Time to Leave the Laptop Behind thanks to the smaller, better, lighter Blackberries, I Phones and more recently the G1.

Since I switched from my very old Nokia to a Blackberry Curve earlier this year, I get my e-mail on the go of course.
I would not say that I read many news websites on it due to its lack of real estate (small screen).

I can write short stories as they happen and post it to this blog.
I can take pictures without carrying a digital camera.
I can Twitter.
It might not give me the same flexibility that a laptop or a desktop offers.
It does fit in my pocket and will not strain my back though.
Using a tool like a smart phone with some limitations might me a blessing in disguise.
It might even teach us one virtue: how to be concise?

Take Two, A Day with 2 Monday Work Etiquette, this one #61

Earlier, Take One: Furious Networking...Me and My 10.000 Friends

Furious Networking...Me and My 10.000 Friends

To be honest, I don't Facebook that much and spend only slightly more time on LinkedIn.

Even though I was in Austin (Texas) for South by Southwest 2007 when Twitter hit the big time, I did not get on board until recently.
My Twittering is parsimonious rather than compulsive.
I see Twitter only as a tool.

The 140 characters limit brings some discipline unless you want to share with everyone how many times you used the bathroom, the movies you did not watched, the meals you did not have and how overwhelmed you feel.
Time to turn down the noise and get real maybe?

Out of curiosity (or boredom?) I happened to check the 'followers' of someone I 'follow' and found hundreds in both groups.
It led me to the question of how many people one can possibly really follow or is it like faking pleasure.
Calling it 'furious networking' might not be the best words I could use.
Frenetic maybe describes it better.
Do you give up sleep, eating, pleasurable moments, work and idle time to be popular?
Is it sustainable?
Is it all about feeding the beast?

Are you aiming for 10.000 Friends on My Space like the German band Katalin?

Thinking out loud for Monday Work Etiquette #60

Last Week: From 5 Ways the Downturn Helps to 14 Tips to Survive a Layoff

National Talk Like a Pirate, 'OH (ohio)' by Lambchop Lands on my Music List

Say it softly and many of us will listen?
It could be a way to describe 'OH (ohio)' by Lambchop.

As 'National Talk Like a Pirate' turned into 'A Hold of You', I thought to myself, hey these guys (from Nashville) bear some resemblance with Martin Stephenson and the Daintees circa 'Boat to Bolivia'.



No election connection as far as I can tell, maybe Oh (ohio) 'au naturel' cover and the confessional tone of Kurt Wagner (pictured above) will catch a few listeners in its net.

Last Music Bit: Japan's Gainsbourg Fever Live in Paris: Jon the Dog, Kenzo Saeki (October 24)

Jewel in the Crown of Southwest France? Domaine du Moulie Madiran

Jewel in the Crown of Southwest France Appellations is what Wine Online Ireland calls the Domaine du Moulie Madiran 2003. I bought the 2004 Vintage?
Where is Madiran you might ask?
Nearby Armagnac in the Gers.
The grape is Tannat which has now become popular in Uruguay.
It is also planted in Alto Adige (Italian Tirol).

Red wines from this Area are Madiran while whites are Pacherenc .

According to Epicurious "the local dialect uses the word pacherenc for "posts in a row." This refers to the modern method of planting vineyards in regular rows, using a post to support each vine. Vic Blih is the name for the local hills in this area, which are part the Pyrenees foothills, along the Adour River south of ARMAGNAC. This APPELLATION produces only white wines and shares the same geographic area as the MADIRAN AC, which produces only red wines. The grapes used for these white wines are Arrufiat (or Ruffiac), Gros Manseng, and Petit Manseng, with some SAUVIGNON BLANC and SÉMILLON. These wines are similiar to those from the JURANCON AC (SPICY and FLORAL) and should be drunk young."

Getting back to the Reds Vins Madiran (French only site) offers a few selections from the area.

The Domaine du Moulie, Madiran displays heavy tannins and rich fruit.

Around $12

Related: The perfect wine for Leap Year Day? Col de Rey IGT 2003 (Alto Adige)

Welcome to the 'Culinary Olympics'...Sugar Coated Lizard maybe?

No cheese lifting or fish throwing here, this is a serious competition.

This year marked the 22nd edition of the Culinary Olympics .

The event took place from October 19 to October 22 in Erfurt, Germany (near Frankfurt).

Some 1600 cooks from 50 nations participated.

If I got my facts straight, the Norwegian Team won with this 3 course menu:

Appetizer: Lightly Smoked and Baked Norwegian Fjord Trout Served with Jerusalem Artichoke, Sago Compote and Oyster, Green vegetables "Arctic" Caviar Sauce, Apples and Chives

Main course: Medley of "Svanay" Lamb, "Mushroom Flavoured" Lamb Roulade made of Breast and Loin Fillet Lamb Leg with Horseradish, Dill and Mustard, Potato Creation "Erfurt 2008", Porcini Mushrooms and Pickled Onions, Buttered Seasonal Vegetables, Aniseed Scented Lamb Jus

Dessert: Black Currant & Caramel Autumn Dessert, Caramel Mousse, Compote and Jelly of Forest Berries, Warm Black Currant "Souffle Pudding", Crispy Feuilletine, "Marbled" Yoghurt and Black Currant Ice Cream.

Most unusual was the Sugar Coated Lizard courtesy of the United Arab Emirates which you can see on Rachel Dixon piece for Nibbles.

South Korea

I chose this creation from South Korea (courtesy of Culinary Olympics site) as my illustration.

Il Forno has details on the previous edition (2004) in Platters, Platters, Everywhere.

Recent Food Bite: Chicago's Great Neighborhood Restaurants Awards Dinner, November 3rd

$150,000 to Spend, Titanic Watch or 3/4 of Seat on Virgin Galactic

Continuing on my quest to see what money can and cannot buy, more precisely $150,000, I kept checking on what options one might have.

Watches could be one of them?

For example the Titanic-DNA– rusted steel T-oxy Concept which runs around $150,000 from what I could gather.

It is offered by Raymond Jerome which introduces it as "a completely rusted high-watchmaking timepiece designed using non-stabilised rusted steel from the Titanic. Don’t wear it! The T-oxy Concept can only be admired under its glass dome filled with argon. Release it and oxygen will carry on its destructive work where it left off. Warning: extremely corrosive model, non-guaranteed".

Another choice with a sense of exclusivity would be booking a seat on a Virgin Galactic flight.
Unfortunately, $150,000 gets you only 3/4 of the way.
Consider your $150,000 as a large down payment.

Feel free to offer your suggestions!

Related: $150,000 to Spend, Start with 'Seven Sins' in the Caribbeans