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Sunday, October 15, 2000

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Sunday talk shows

Sunday mornings are a lazy time. I worked on my computer and listened to the Sunday morning talk shows. Sometimes I get irritated as they all interrupt each other but it's interesting. I liked the segment on why there is such a focus on tiny mistakes of the candidates such as spelling or pronunciation. I have trouble pronouncing things all the time, even words I've used correctly hundreds of times before. Spelling isn't a big problem with me but I know very capable, smart people who can't spell worth shit. I remember how irritated I was when the reporters fixated on the fact that Quayle spelled potato wrong. So!?

Another thing that irritated me was when everyone thought it was so much fun to make fun of Ford falling on the ski slopes. Excuse me! The only time I skied I fell down the slopes. I didn't find it amusing. I also don't like it when the focus is on the first lady's hairstyle or clothes. It's nice to mention what she wears since so many people want to know but making it a big issue is so sad.

There was a bit on Survivors and the fact that the cost of ads on the next one (set in Australia) have gone way up. I just cannot believe that people are so interested in watching what is basically play acting. These people's lives aren't in danger. They are surrounded by camera people and such that aren't going to let them die. They aren't really out there alone, by themselves, dependent on their skill and abilities. Even the tests they have are set up.

There was a spirited debate on whether people are undecided about who to vote for and whether or not the debates changed their point of view. Yes people are undecided because no one candidate is really what they want. I think this goes for everyone. Some people are going to vote republican, because they always vote republican, some people are going to vote democrate, because they have always voted democrat, but even these people aren't crazy about their candidate. Do we vote on issues? There was an argument on this also but I think people do vote on issues but both major candidates say things we like so it's an issue of whether or not we can believe them which depends on who we believed before or whether we even pay attention. Now I've confused the issue further . . .

I am apalled at the people who aren't really paying attention but will vote for a party because they just want someone to take care of it all for them and do their thinking for them. This is so sad. We aren't talking about whether you like a tv program but about who is going to set policy for our country and in one party you get all kinds of people on both the presidential and congressional level. How can people not pay attention? I'm still not sure but at least I'm trying.

Everything then seemed to segue into the middle east situation which find very hard to listen to. I just cringe to see people dying over fucking religion. This is just unforgivable of both sides. Why can't they just live together? I just can't listen to the discussion of this even though it is important so . . .

I channel surfed to Martha Stewart's cooking show. She does make some yummy stuff but I find her irritating but a lot of that is envy since I would love to cook and housekeep like she does. I realize that she has a cast of behind the scene helpers who do the real work, like washing the dishes, but I still am envious. I would envy anyone who can cook without making a mess. My kitchen looks like a disaster when I do any major cooking. Even her greens are piled attractively.

I enjoy watching cooking shows, except Emeril who irritates me more than Martha because he is such a loud mouthed pompous ass. She moved from the cooking to making cute little candles with hazelnuts glued on. I love this kind of stuff even though I'll never do it. This is one thing I love about my daughter-in-law and her family. They do all this kind of stuff and make it look so good. Even when I try it never looks quite right. Is it genetic or just learning to do it as a child? I know my mother was a total klutz at this sort of thing also but I did have an aunt who was very artistic and my daughter is a very creative person.

I check out an eco kitchen next. It was so nice but using imported, recycled tile was a bit above my budget. Also I'm not about to redecorate permanent features in my apartment since, not only is it frowned on but I would have to leave it behind when I moved. WHEN I moved, not IF I moved. Moving on is a fact of life with me.

All that cooking got me cooking. I'm making spanish, sort of, rice with chichen so I can use up all the bits and pieces of chicken I have in my freezer. This is a very forgiving recipe. I like to use different kinds of rice, this time one cup of brown and one cup of black japonica. Black japonica is a dark brown rice that makes any recipe look good. I saute the rice for a while then add half an onion, some chopped green pepper and a couple tomatoes. When everythings nicely browned I add four cups of water, salt, thyme and rosemary and all the bits of chicken I've dug out. I'm not sure that it's really spanish rice but it smells so good while it's cooking and tastes good. Ok? I'm not Martha Stewart but I do have a few basics that I'm pretty good at.

During all this I also scanned in some pictures and did a webpage for a charity thing we did at work last year. I would call this a productive morning. I even washed dishes but now that I've made the rice I have a sink full of dishes to wash again. It's just like taxes!

I spent the rest of the day reading. I read "Journey Beyond Selene" by Jeffrey Kluger. This is a story of the Jet Propulsion Lab and the rockets they sent up that traveled to the end of the solar system and are, maybe, still traveling through space. It's a very readable and interesting book, and not dumbed down, that covers the failures and successes, often more failures than successes, of the early space ventures and gives a look ahead at what is being planned.

I've always enjoyed hearing about the space program even though the shuttles have become almost routine and we forget how difficult it was to get it right and how many more astronauts could have died than did. This book is more about the unmanned rockets that brought us more knowledge than all the more higher priced manned missions. I think we need both but for a while we were caught up in sending a man into space rather than finding out about space. This book, yes, thrilled me. I think that we do need something to dream about and space is still one of the more engaging dreams to judge by the success of Star Trek, Star Wars, and all their sequels.

I always enjoyed Heinlein's books about the early space adventures as he caught the joy of the early rocketeers in just doing something that no one else had done, and doing it better than anyone else. I enjoyed his later books also but they were more about "wouldn't it be fun if" rather than just enjoying the doing of something that's hard and not always exciting, but that takes us into unexplored territory.

Then I had a fun read of "Old Scores" by Aaron Elkins. Chris Norgren, a curator at the Seattle Museum of Art goes to France to accept a donation of a Rembrandt that has curious restrictions attached. He finds himself nearly getting killed and in the middle of a murder that involves nazi art thieves, forgery and bitter feuds in the art field. Elkins' gives an interesting view of the art world and the problem of forgery and fakes.

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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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