Saturday, September 09, 2006

Tabouleh & Couscous

So DirtyDingus is having a little confusion, methinks. No, I haven't gone off and made a tabouleh salad--I hate mint and the minced mint leaves are pretty much the "secret ingredient" in tabouleh. You might as well leave out the lemon (*ack*)

There are definitely different styles and recipes for this traditional Lebanese salad, but the image (stolen from the StockFood web site) is what I'm used to seeing when hear "tabouleh." Maybe a slightly more green level on the proportions of parsley/mint to couscous. This one is heavy on the couscous (which I love).

The one thing that perplexes me is the number of recipes showing up on a quick Google that call for Bulgar Wheat instead of couscous. They are totally different animals--well, they are both grains, not animals, but you get my drift. I've cooked with Bulgar (Cracked) Wheat and it's a longer, oval-shaped grain that puffs up like couscous and rice do, but it's chewier, crunchier and has a much stronger, nutty flavor.

Couscous, OTOH, should look like the picture at right shows. It's a round-shaped grain that cooks up softer and is, in fact, oftentimes served like this, with cooked veggies on top. This couscous photo is also stolen from the same stock photography web site (hey, if they don't want people to use their images, they shouldn't put them online ;-) and at least I'm giving multiple link-backs.)

Great, now I'm craving real hummus! Not to be found on the North American continent, btw. I just had to look at these photos, didn't I?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Potstickers....Power of Suggestion

Potstickers....Chinese (Peking) dumplings....Japanese Gyoza...perversely addictive little packages of pan-fried delight which were planted in my imagination this past weekend (Labor Day weekend) when conversations on The Bar turned to utterly silly and fanciful diversions. They talked and talked about ordering me (and RES) some potstickers but none showed up :(

So I made some for myself :) But then, if you want something done right, you are best-advised to do it yourself. And to be honest, Gyoza (the form of these tidbits which I prefer) are so very easy to make. The dough can take a while but I confess, I cheated this time. I bought the package of prepared Gyoza wrappers (150 wraps +/- for $1.99) at Schnuck's when I was there drooling over the red peppers. No, there are no chopped up red peppers here *smirk*

Even though I don't keep Kosher, I don't tend to keep pork in the house (certainly not ground up) and I definitely don't see myself buying shrimp to grind, sooooo, I just use ground beef. I've also done these with ground chicken, ground turkey, ground veal even! Though the veal was when I was in Israel and it was on sale--veal is way too expensive to waste on potstickers!

Other than making the paper-thin wraps (which I avoided having to do this time) the chopping up of nappa or bok choy takes less time than dicing onions and mushrooms and sauteeing them. Actually, waiting for all the liquid to be absorbed after you get the little suckers all pan-fried golden-brown is the most trying on my patience. I keep wanting to check and see if they're ready. Then, of course, the steam comes out and they--guess what?--stick to the pan! That's why they're called potstickers but my Wok can take it.

Yummmmmm. I ate too many of them but they were just too good!

I keep posting photos of what I'm making for "lunch" but I don't see this continuing as a habit so don't anyone out there go getting any ideas ;) I reserve the right to keep posting photos of food, though. Gotta do something to pass the time while I'm waiting for it to cook and since I'm (still) trying to quit smoking my usual "cigarette timer" isn't a good idea, nachon? Just say yes.

Still Following the Money...Still Leads to Hamas

Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz, reported today that on Friday, the offices of an Israeli Arab prisoner advocacy group the authorities said was a front for funneling money to Hamas was shut down.

In a pre-dawn raid, police and the Shin Bet security service confiscated hundreds of documents at the headquarters of the Prisoners Association in the Galilee town of Majdal Krum and throughout their West Bank branches. By using loaded adjectives and misleading names--such as "Prisoners Association"--the terrorists are able to funnel money under the guise of human rights work.

Shin Bet, however, is not widely-known for being a trusting sort of group. Therefore, when the Israeli security force dug into the matter, when they followed the money, they were not surprised to find that the money trail lead directly into the pockets of the Hamas terrorists.

The "advocacy" group's chairman, Munir Mansour, served time in Israeli prisons after he was convicted of security offenses, but was released in a prisoner exchange in 1985. He has recently called on the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to demand the release of several hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Hundreds and thousands of terrorists for one Israeli. And so the unbalanced offers continue. I just have to wonder when Israel will stop playing the game of "negotiating with terrorists."

Dai k'var!! Loh?

Israel's Virtual (and real) Fences & Walls

It never seems to end. There is a division, "Us" on one side, "Them" on the other, and yet "They" cannot stay on their side of the fence. Just as bad as any neighbor on your quiet, residential street who insists on coming over to annoy you when they smell your BBQ firing up, the "Palestinians" cannot seem top just stay on their side of the line. Ever. Anywhere. No matter where or how the line or lines are drawn. They are not interested in lines. They are only interested in killing every last Israeli until there are none left. Period.

In defense of this single-minded hatred and refusal to adopt decent and legal means of separation, Israel has spent hundreds of millions on defense systems, the latest being 'virtual fences' around Jewish civilians living near Hebron, one of the few remaining "mixed" areas in the tiny State of Israel.

The high-tech laser radars would be part of a new NIS 400 million (about USD 91.2 million) allocation by the Israeli government for security systems at settlements, such as the one at Hebron. The state-of-the-art Hebron defense system would be part of a second phase hi-tech settlement security project carried out by the IDF; NIS 300 million (about USD 68.4 million) was already spent on phase one over the past year and a half. This is an inordinate expense, but is it worth it? Probably.

The systems used until now are based on an array of advanced radar systems, created by Motorola, and operate together with thermal cameras. The radar systems are set up around the settlements to detect Palestinians attempting to infiltrate the communities for purposes of committing terrorist acts against the civilian residents.

The thermal cameras automatically home in on the intruder, whom they follow until an IDF or local security team arrives at the scene. In areas where the system has been installed, the IDF reports it has reduced its presence by 50% due to the drop in the infiltration threat.

In May 2005, Har Bracha - a Samaria community infiltrated in the past by Palestinian terrorists - became the first settlement to receive the radar security system. Since then, dozens of additional settlements have had it installed, with some communities receiving over 30 radar stations.

The Hebron Jewish community, because it is spread across several sites in the city, poses a particular security challenge, which is to be met in part by innovative use of a newly created laser-radar system. The radar-based system proposed to be installed in the Hebron area is designed to warn soldiers or security guards in the settlement of the incoming Palestinian terrorists long before they are even close to the perimeter of the settlement.

Anyone wishing to enter the area legally, may do so unharmed. The system detects clandestine or more to the point, illegal movements which are assumed to be for hostile purposes. How's that saying go? People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

The current and planned security fence effort is headed by Lt.-Col. Roni Yitah, a former Engineering Corps officer. To date the project has created highly advanced security systems in 47 settlements, mostly isolated and far away from the Green Line.
Every settlement, Yitah explained, receives a different security system - some include radar systems while others are protected by cameras and electronic fences.

"Every system is tailored to fit the specific needs of the settlement," he said. The system has to fit the topography of the settlements and work together with the Palestinian neighbors while allowing them to continue working in fields they own sometimes right alongside Jewish communities, he said.

Whether or not even virtual fences can stop the terrorists remains as yet to be seen.

Al Jazeera AirsTape of bin Laden & Planners of 9/11

Update:Thanks to LGF and Hot Air, I've found the link to what appears to be a partial clips from this video--on the CBS News web site of all places! CNN also appears to have aired the video, or parts of it, but they are not carrying a clip of it on their web site (yet). Watch the RealPlayer story on this embedded on the CBS News site now. There's a link to the RAW video, too.

On Thursday, four days before the fifth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks on US soil, a tape was made public and broadcast on the news channel Al Jazeera showing Osama bin Laden meeting with some of the men involved in planning the 9/11 attacks. Al Jazeera, a satellite broadcaster based in Qatar, did not say how it received the video, and it was not available on the Web sites normally used by militant Islamic groups, including Al Qaeda, to post messages. Al Jazeera said that the tape was 90 minutes long but that it chose to broadcast only three minutes of it.

According to the NY Times, the tape shows bin Laden meeting with a top lieutenant, Muhammad Atef, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2001, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the men accused of helping plan the 9/11 attacks, who was captured four years ago.

The Al Jazeera web site, itself, admits
Reports say the footage is the fourth in a series of videos that al-Qaeda planned to release to mark the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The previous footages were released in April and September 2002 and September 2003, each showing the planning of the attacks and the hijackers’ last testimonies, said Ben Venzke, head of IntelCenter, a private U.S. company that provides counterterrorism intelligence services for the American government.

The Arabic TV station didn’t say how it obtained the video or the audiotape and did not have a link to play the video over the internet on its web site.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Amazing Team Work with a Chinook

According to Snopes, this is not only a factual (rather than fictional shot) but this photo was taken sometime in 2003--or so we think.

It was reposted it to The Bar by dave gerecke, who described it (well, sure seems verbatim to what showed up on Snopes, so I'll paraphrase for some variety in life).

Photographid by a soldier in Afghanistan of a helo mission to extract prisoners (note at least two civvies visible). The amazing pilot is Larry Murphy, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, and employee of Keystone Helicopter Corp, flying EMS choppers in civilian life.

With this kind of a command of his bird (not to mention the powers of persuasion to get the rest of the team--on the bird and on the ground--to cooperate with this plan), we can see why Murphy was called back to active duty.

One Barfly noted, Murphy has to be in the top 10% of the top 10% to pull this off. Look long and hard at that photo, really letting it sink in what's going on and you'll begin to realize the scope of this feat. The bird is a CH-47 Chinook and as Mike Fagan pointed out:
Think for a moment just how difficult that pilot's life is. The tail rotor is partially in ground effect. The front rotor is in flight.

That thing is about one bobble from flipping over. Especially since roofs in that part of the world are *not* built to take the weight of a Chinook.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Late Lunch Getting You Down?

Haven't got some Vitameatavegamin on hand? Have some vitamin-enriched vegetables without the meat or alcohol! It's starting to become a habit with me! And I notice that I'm eating lunch or supper or whatever the heck you want to call it at 1500 or 1600 hrs but of late, I'm nearly eating vegetarian-style! I'm not a veggie, not that there's anything wrong with them at all (healthiest people around) but I do so love the smell and taste of meat fresh off the grill. Can't give that up. Wouldn't be American. Or Israeli ;)

Israelis love to BBQ nearly as much as Americans, though they do have much better produce and get into the habit of eating "salatim" - salads, which like the one pictured here (made today and am eating even as I write this!!) do NOT contain lettuce. Not even one single leafy green to be seen. Nope, that habit of eating "rabbit food" and calling it "salad" is a purely American fallacy.

This Salat is the basic Israeli salad: diced tomatoes...and cucumbers...and red peppers (on sale this week at Schnucks!) and a little minced fresh onion, all tossed together with Shemen Zai'it (that's Olive Oil for you anglophobes) and decorated with a bit of oregano (that', oregano). Oh! and the secret ingredient is a few spoonfulls of sweet corn, "fresh" out of the can. Yeah, there's one canned item in there. Oh well.

Then, because we are in America, Land of Watered Down & Flavorless Produce, it is embellished with bit of crumbled feta cheese but not the good stuff they have in Israel because Americans also don't have a clue that cheese is supposed to have a STRONG flavor, not come in pre-pressed plastic slices inside cellophane which won't even change consistency when you melt them--the cheese, not the cellophane, though maybe some Americans actually try melting their cheese slices with the cellophane wraps, who knows?

All in all, my Israeli Salat is lacking in lustre simply because the source materials are below-grade but we do what we can with what we have. Speaking of which, I've gotta get back to OST (that's the book I'm trying to get out the door for those one or two of you who might not have heard YET) and see about finishing up that synopsis which is not a summary nor an outline but does explain the story in great detail with all spoilers revealed. Argh. I hate this. Now I know why I never submit partials--easier to just send the whole damn manuscript. Either they want the book or they don't--and they should know in the first 1-3 pages. Never mind a synopsis or partial. Just read the first page or reject the damn book.

Yeah, not in a Good Humor today, am I? Need more chocolate! Either that or red meat. Or maybe....some fresh meat *grin*

Photoshopped Blogs of War

So the book is getting great reviews which can only mean one thing: Blackfive has become truly famous and therefore must suffer the ilk of Photoshoppers far and wide. After all, there's a blog, a book--there's even a poster!!

And the advertisement/poster which has caused such a stir has undergone some delicate and tricky surgeries of its own. Not that this has caused Uncle Jim to change--he still eats babies for lunch! Just look at the photo!

Indeed, here we have a demonstration not only that the Photoshopper has installed Kai's Power Goo package but that they also have a good set of filters for image outlines and masks--and they know how to use them! Reuters and the RIFs could take some lessons from these wizards.

But by far, my favorite of Uncle Jimbo's makeovers is the hippie look. Nice 'fro, dude, it really suits you.

3 Stages of the Male's Life

Not sure this will have the same effect on a blog as it did in email, where one had to scroll to get to the next frame, but let's give it a shot. Too funny. No clue from whence this sprang but it's definitely going to be making the email rounds soon--if it's not already.

The Bachelor Life

Married Life

Divorce (read: No Life)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Memouleh - Yum!

Should be ready in another 15 min. or so...can't wait!

For those who have no idea what "Memouleh" is, that's a Hebrew word which literally means "stuffed" or "filled" as in one food stuffed or filled with another. Generally, though, it's referring to what I'm making for lunch (okay, late lunch/early supper) today: red peppers stuffed with a tangy paprika rice. Or maybe grape leaves stuffed with spicy cinnamon-rice or eggplant stuffed with... well, you get the idea, but Schnuck's has red peppers on sale this week at 10/$10 (or a buck a piece instead of the normal $2.50 each--yow!) so I'm doing red peppers.

Ever the economist, I'm just gonna have to make dishes with red peppers this week. Maybe tomorrow or the next day, it'll be Bulgar Wheat with roasted tomatoes, onions and (you got it) red peppers :)

Radical Islam's War on Peace

In response to the "Yalla Ya Nasrallah" video/song (posted on YouTube and blogged here for your convenience) this 9-1/2 min video is surprisingly good (even if the first 2 mins are just the credits). It's encouraging to see, even. Oh, and Nasrallah makes a poignant little speech in the last minute or two of the video. Nothing's new there, sadly.

I keep using the expression "The RIFs are waging a War on Peace" rather than talking about the West's "War on Terror" because we in the West are not the ones who started this war or who want this war. The West wants peace--and everytime Peace breaks out, the RIFs are there to wage war on it.

The video opens in a timely fashion for posting it here and now--noting how taken aback the US was when the 9/11 attacks occurred in 2001. Some of the Islamics speaking on this video are former terrorists themselves or, one of particular note, the daughter of a "Martyr" RIF. I think the message "We in Islam need to know about this!!" is just as important to get out there as is the message "We in the West need to realize the full scope of this."

The War Against Peace isn't going to be over tomorrow, but did you know how long it's been going on? Watch the video, mentally absorb the decade-long montage of "recent" events and think back on the last century for more.

How long has the War on Peace been going on? Too long.

Nasrallah Won't Give Up His Rockets...

...but he promises not to use them...and we should trust him, right? From the Jerusalem Post:

Hizbullah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, speaking to the Lebanese daily A-Safir Tuesday morning, said his organization would not relinquish its missile and rocket arsenal, Israeli Army Radio reported.

Nasrallah said that Hezbullah would use the weapons only if Lebanon was attacked again on a large scale by Israel.

"We have just finished the war and are in no hurry to conduct operations in the Shaba Farms, although we reserve the right to do so. No one can send Israel reassuring messages on this matter for free," [Nasrallah] said.

So, Nasrallah, are you admitting your intention to attack innocent Israeli civilians in the Shaba Farms region? Thank you for the heads up. And how are you planning on defining an "attack" on the part of Israel? Will that be the same as a couple of months ago? You kidnap Israeli citizens or kill innocent civilians and then when Israel retaliates you claim Israel has "attacked"? Just checking.

Yalla Ya Nasrallah - Tachshivli, v'tachshivli tov!

Saudi Slavers in Massachusetts

As seen on LGF:

As some commenters on LGF have noted, no doubt the diplomatic immunity card is being played to the hilt, the Saudis are paying the bail and trying to extract the couple and/or the woman. I also don't doubt they will just claim the charges are some kind of "religious discrimination" saying this is what HER culture does! Gee whiz...

Yeah, well, you're in the USA now. We don't enslave our immigrants, steal their passports (unless you work for the INS) or otherwise dehumanize them. We actually try to assimilate them into American culture and give legal immigrants a shot at the Land of Golden Opportunity. That's why most people immigrate here. Not to run a slave-trade in the basement or play at Queen in Exile in the living room. Go home if that's what you want to do.

Saudi Prince’s Wife Charged With Enslaving 2 Women

CBS TV Ch 4 - WINCHESTER - A Saudi woman will plead guilty in court on Tuesday for allegedly forcing two Indonesian women to be her domestic servants in Winchester.

Hana Al Jader will acknowledge she violated federal laws, according to her lawyer, Joseph Balliro Sr.

Al Jader faces six counts of forced labor and four counts of violating immigration laws. Her lawyer would not say what counts the 41-year-old will plead guilty to.

Prosecutors accuse Al Jader of forcing the two women to work like slaves. She allegedly held back their money, hid their passports and prevented them from talking to others. Al Jader denies these claims.

Al Jader, who has been living in Massachusetts since the 1990s, is married to Prince Mohamed Bin Turki Alsaud.

Shin Bet Beta v0.2c43 [decryption failed] Huh?

Israeli's security service, The Shin Bet, is launching its first-ever public recruiting drive today, calling on high-tech geeks to join the anti-terror battle. "If you thought the only way to fight terror was with Arabic, think again," says the campaign's slogan. The Shin Bet sources admit the ad campaign is also intended to change the organization's image. For many, the first thing that springs to mind at the mention of Shin Bet is torture (not to mention the famous interrogation under bright lights in an otherwise dark room, perhaps involving a sledgehammer or needles :)

But not anymore! The Shin Bet will market the jobs as "technology with real vocation, not just another start-up waiting for a chance," says a source close to the campaign. Because Israeli is the #2 country in the world for technology startups, there's a very large supply of people who go from one startup to another, working on or inventing cutting-edge technologies as a way of life. The business end of the high-tech startup world often is disconnected from the technology geeks' desire to just do new and amazing things.

Enter The Shin Bet to the rescue! Their slogan should read Don't just be a Geek, Be A Hero! with the way they're running this ad campaign.

They say they're looking for people "who have been out there and made it," (read: who have worked in more than one startup, had it close down on them and gone onto Yet Another undaunted by the economic risks) and who are now looking for an opportunity to develop technology "that could save lives, catch the suicide bomber on his way to Tel Aviv." (read: Be a Hero! Save your Country! Yeah, laying it on a little thick there, guys, but it's a great shift for the Shin Bet to be doing this recruiting openly for a change). The security service is also putting together a benefits package intended to entice high-tech people from the private market

MK Yisrael Hasson (Yisrael Beitenu), who was the service's deputy head until 2002, says that in his time the Shin Bet did not bother with its public image. [...] Asked why today ads were needed to recruit people, Hasson says: "It's always hard to get people in technology. It's a very competitive market, even if you're named Bill Gates." Well, I suppose if they're competing with Redmond, Washington, there might not be much oppportunity to Be A Hero after all.

Five years ago the Shin Bet opened a spokesman's office. Its heads deny
that the Shin Bet has a spokesman but journalists are given a telephone
number to refer questions to. Shin Bet people from that office also
ghost-write articles themselves and offer them to journalists.

We don't exist. I don't know what you're talking about. It's all in your
imagination--and you spelled his name wrong, you know, it should be....

Rak b'Yisrael!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Because He's Just Too Cute

Philip Greenspun is a local New England treasure. His late but still-beloved George (pictured here) is just one of the many happy images he's brought to the world. Visit one or both of his web sites to see more of his work or learn some tips for how to appreciate life through the eye of a lens.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

But wait! There's more!

And if you call right now, we'll also send you this amazing tool absolutely free!!

Word we all know and...well, maybe loathe but love as well, for they are familiar to us now. These hallmark sayings were made famous by Arthur Schiff, who died of lung cancer last week in Coral Springs, Florida. At 66, he was still a businessman, who'd run his own marketing company for 23 years. His passing, like the man himself, was altogether quiet, with not a single newspaper noting his death. Until now.

But wait! There's more!

Over more than 30 years, Schiff created some 1,800 "long-form" or "direct response" TV commercials. He was the unseen king of the infomercial, the hidden hand behind the "amazing" Steakhouse Onion Machine, the "miraculous" Ambervision Sunglasses and the "revolutionary" Shiwala car mop. Oh, and don't forget the unforgettable: GINSU KNIVES. Yes, that was Schiff's marketing genius that made these knives--manufactured in Ohio, USA--an icon of American Commercial Television.

Even if the news media hasn't noticed his passing, you would have thought QVC, The Shopping Channel or I dunno, The Food Channel would have been running a tribute to the genius behind their successes...or maybe a rerun on TV Land Channel of Lucy Does a TV Commercial (where the inimitable Lucille Ball sells "Vitameatavegamin" containing vitamins, meat, vegetables AND alcohol to make it go down "Just Like Candy"!)

But wait! There's more! At least for those of us with a TV.