Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Putting the kitchen in the garden

As I ponder what we're going to be cooking on in the garden come spring (and where we are that's not all that long away) I find myself wondering which of these Viking Grills I ought to be getting. As you can see from that picture to the side there it's possible to get one which will allow me to cook for a visiting army. A huge 53 inch grill (with commercial level 29,000 BTU burners), side burners, and oven and all the warming and storage space a man in a chef's hat could ever want.

But then there are other things in life as well, more than just one boy's toy to be afforded: perhaps I should just go for the basic 30 inch grill on it's own? For that is the most important part of the Viking gas grill, the grill itself: side burners can be provided in other ways. Or maybe, instead of thinking about other toys I should be thinking about other types and pieces of my outdoor cooking equipment?

For the Viking grill, as with all of their equipment, is made to full commercial standards and will put up with any weather: that's the stainless steel for you which means that it can indeed be left outside all year round. So should I economise on the grill side but get the refrigerator, or the ice machine, or the warming trays instead?

I realise that these aren't the most pressing of problems for everyone but I am trying to work out how to best take advantage of the fact that we're living in a warm climate: one where eating and cooking outside is an obvious part of life. Anyone got any bright ideas on which selections I should be making?

Emmanuel Delcour

Now this is an interesting little snippet about Emmanuel Delcour. Or at least I think it's an interesting little snippet about Emannuel Delcour.

Our Emmanuel is appearing on a Bravo TV show called Chef Academy. OK, so far so fine. But it turns out that in between various small acting roles and body building competitions Emmanuel Delcour was also the porn star Jean Val Jean.

You might take the view that there's nothing wrong with that and you might take other views. Although his particular specialty might mean you don't really want him tasting your soup and then putting the spoon back into the pot.....that this is a family blog makes it difficult to go any further in revealing just what that specialty was but it's easily enough found online.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Modern addiction treatment

Modern addiction treatment: or perhaps we should make that modern addiction treatments? For along with the new knowledge that addiction is a disease, one that needs treatment, rather than simply a lack of moral fibre (as it was once regarded) has come the knowledge that there is no one drug treatment which is going to work for everybody. We cannot simply process everyone through a 12 step program and hope for the best.

Nor can we alight upon any other single drug treatment as a magic bullet to deal with this complex problem: for there are two major problems to such an idea. The first is that there are many causes of addiction. For some it's simply the desire for a certain drug or course of action: for others there might be deeply buried psychological scars (or issues of self-worth) which need to be treated as well as the more visible addiction itself.

The second is that we've found that no one treatment works for all. Some do best with a medically orientated treatment program, for others drug treatment is best approached through therapy. And for some, yes, the old 12 step program is extremely helpful. So the thing that we've really found out is that while there is no one pure way, one true path, there are a number of entirely useful and helpful things we can do. Thus we should be offering addiction treatment at multi-disciplinary places, like the Pat Moore Foundation in Orange County. Have all of the available options there in one place and then see which one the patient responds best to.

If you're after more information on modern addiction treatment simply click through any of the links.

Nora O'Donnell and a Sarah Palin supporter video

Nora O'Donnell (or as she's more accurately known, Norah O'Donnell) gives us some good TV here by weighing in on a young Sarah Palin supporter.

It's good TV, for sure, but it's not actually all that fair. Long time journalist beats up little kid on camera isn't really all that fair now, is it?

Anyway, here's the Nora O'Donnell video:

The thing is though it's something of a trick question. There have been a number of bailouts now, ranging from making sure the banking system didn't shrivel up and die to handing over the US car industry to the United Auto Workers. It's entirely fine to support one of those (the first, as just about everyone did at the time) without thinking that all of the subsequent bailouts were a good idea.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Meditation gong or food bell?

That looks like a fun little toy, doesn't it? Like something out of a Fu Manchu movie or a Bruce Lee flick: you know when they're moving from the western world into the more secretive Chinese one when you start to see a gong around. However, this is a meditation gong and there's really not all that much call for one of those with a character like myself. I tend to do my meditating on the iniquities of the world while peering over the rim of a glass holding something cold and frothy.

So why would I think that one of these gongs would be an interesting thing to have around? Apart from the quite cool looks of the thing and the possibility of being able to pretend that Bruce Lee would leap through the door screaming if only I did indeed tap it? Oh and the delight that could be found in tormenting my long suffering wife by repeatedly tapping it?

Well, that's the thing you see, I don't think that, in our house, a meditation gong would in fact be used to do any meditating. I have a feeling that it would be used to call the cats (all six of them, yes, a stray had kittens before we could get her to the vet to be snipped) and the three dogs (no, that was by choice) to dinner: and probably if that long suffering wife had her way, me too. But that would still be fun: we like things that make noise around here and that is indede a good looking thing that makes noise.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Anthony Sowell: 10 bodies found

In what is turning out to be perhaps the most horrific case of the year so far police have announced that they've found 10 bodies at Anthony Sowell's house so far.

The orginal count was only three, after they called with a search and arrest warrant on allegations of rape. Further searching found another three in then house., And now that they're searching Anthony Sowell's garden they've announced that they've found another four, taking the total up to 10 bodies found so far.

Click through the links for more information on this story.

Now we're cookin'

I have to admit to always having had a weakness for the whole process of BBQ, setting up the BBQ Grill itself, indeed I'm fascinated by the variations that one can have in barbecue grills. You know, you can have gas fired ones, charcoal, wood (sometimes even a mixture, the charcoal having some wood chips added to add flavor), I've even seen people doing it over coal itself (which is rather a special cooking skill when you come to think of it).

Then of course you can add a smoker to the BBQ Grill, possibly a steamer if you're near the beach and can get clams, one friend used to have a huge almost 50 gallon drum in which he could do his crawfish boil: there actually seem to be more variations in what you can use for this style of cooking than there are for the indoors kind.

But as we get our house and garden properly finished off I've been looking around for what we want to add to our machine repetoire here. We've already got the BBQ Grill we need and having more than that would simply be indulgence. So rather than pawing through this listing of possible bebecue grills I've been looking instead at what we might have to expand our range, rather than just increase the number of people we can feed in one style.

And it's that Dutch Oven that my eyes have alighted upon. Grilled meat, bbq'd meat, sure, they're great, but what I really like is to have meats cooked in a variety of styles and roast is another favorite. With such an oven we can still all be outside soaking up the sunshine but cooking a turkey (say) or a couple of chickens at the same time.

Fortunately we're in a climate where we can do (and eat) the holiday turkey outside so perhaps this is the solution for making that whole experience more interesting this year?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Finding the songs

OK, so we all know that High School Musical has that part of the population under the age of consent held in its thrall. But why?

It cannot be the plots of the acting, which really aren't up to all that much. No, rather, it's the High School Musical songs which have al the kiddies going after it.

That is, after all, what Disney is good at and it's also the reason that so many of them have been released as singles and climbed the charts. The soundtracks themselves have also done well.

If you're looking for a guide to the songs, who sang them and how each one helped the plot move along, click through that link there.

Perhaps us old timers will finally have a chance to see what all the fuss is about.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Katie Holmes at the Eden Roc

Katie Holmes was at the Eden Roc Hotel for the marriage of her friends Erica Baxter and James Packer.

Here's a photo of Katie Holmes at the wedding:

And more from the same wedding:

The Cruise family was in France this week to attend the wedding of media mogul James Packer to model Erica Baxter.

Australian billionaire packer spent the night before on his family's converted ice-breaker, the Arctic P and married Baxter in a private civil service attended by a small circle including the groom's mother, Ros, and the bride's parents, Sheelah and Michael Baxter at Antibe's town hall.

They later advanced to the main extravaganza - where the newlyweds exchanged vows again under a flower-bedecked canopy.

The bride adorned a strapless white flowing floor-length gown, a haute couture creation by John Galliano for Christian Dior, said to cost $100,000.

Tom and Katie were seen holding hands and smiling from ear to ear as they sat side by side for the outdoor service in the grounds of the Hotel Du Cap Eden Roc on the French Riviera.

And here's another of Katie Holmes from the same wedding:

And more:

Tom Cruise may be the world’s biggest action star famed for dramatic stunts, but right now, all his focus is on baby steps.

The actor and his wife Katie Holmes were on hand to help their one-year-old daughter Suri tackle the tricky terrain of a pebbled beach while holidaying in the south of France.

Earlier, Holmes took to the water with Suri in a black bathing suit and cinched in belt, quietening rumours she's expecting another child.

While in Spain to celebrate David Beckham's last game with Real Madrid, Katie Holmes set tongues wagging after she appeared to have a bump under her clinging mini-dress.

And more again:

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have been spending some quality time with each other and their friends.

Earlier this week they joined the Beckham family to watch David play his last game for the Spanish Club Real Madrid. Later they participated in the post match celebrations.

On Tuesday (19 Jun 2007) they joined their tycoon pal James Packer on the French Riviera for a waterside pre-wedding party.

The wedding party includes cricket legend Shane Warne, Rupert Murdoch's son Lachlan and his wife Sarah O'Hare, but it was little Suri Cruise who was getting most of the attention at the party.

Katie took Suri, 14 months, for a dip in the Mediterranean waters, and the mum showed off her ultra-slender figure in a low-cut black swimming costume.

Katie's svelte form and tucked belly belied rumors of a bun in the oven.

The 28-year-old actress took the opportunity to change into several other outfits during the course of the day, including a stripe-patterned mini skirt teamed with a black top and killer stiletto heels.

Katie Holmes and Tom in New York

Katie Holmes and husband Tom Cruise were at an event in New York recently:

Here's Katie Holmes with Tom at the event:

Another view of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise:

And Katie Holmes on her own:

Katie Holmes: Marriage Problems?

Katie Holmes: is she having marriage problems?

Could it be that Katie Holmes' marriage to Tom Cruise is on the rock already?

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise Wedding

Catching up on the news about Katie Holmes and her marriage to Tom Cruise here's some of the news reports from that time.

Not everyone was invited to the wedding:

Scratch from the guest list two names you would think might have been invited to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' Italian wedding this Saturday.

Penelope Cruz, who was Tom’s companion between his divorce and the time he met Holmes, apparently didn’t stay quite as friendly as we thought with her "Vanilla Sky" co-star.

Cruz will be in New York this weekend doing publicity for “Volver,” her Pedro Almodovar movie that’s selling out every show.

And the second uninvited guest to the TomKat nuptials? Holmes’ former “Dawson’s Creek” co-star and teenage boyfriend, Joshua Jackson. He’s in town for the launch of Emilio Estevez’s sensational “Bobby.”

Jackson worked with Holmes for six years on the “Creek,” but like all her other friends hasn’t heard one word from her since she met Cruise in April 2005 and became his insta-bride.

“The invitation must have gotten lost in the mail,” Jackson said without rancor or bitterness. “Maybe just the single friends were cut out.”

And another story:

Another whirlwind romance moved quickly to the engagement phase. After dating only two months, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were engaged. They had an elaborate staged wedding on November 18, 2006 in Italy.

Here is information about their marriage relationship, their daughter Suri, quotes, and more.

News Update:

11/18/2006: In a Scientololgy ceremony, Tom and Katie were married at Odescalchi Castle in Italy. They reportedly were previously legally married in Los Angeles, California at their Beverly Hills Mansion. Their official wedding date is unknown but is rumored to have taken place two weeks prior to their Italian wedding.

"A spokesman for the Church of Scientology for Rome, Fabrizio D'Agostino, said an exchange of vows with a Scientology rite was not legally recognized in Italy, and would have to be preceded or followed by a civil union."
Source: ABCnews.com


Thomas Cruise Mapother IV: July 3, 1962 in Syracuse, New York.

Katherine Noelle Holmes: Katie was born two months premature at four pounds on December 18, 1978 in Toledo, Ohio.

First Date:

Their first date reportedly was on his plane for a sushi dinner.


On June 17, 2005, Tom proposed to Katie on the top of the Eiffel tower in Paris, France. Some sites say over a candlit dinner, and some say early in the morning. Tom gave Katie a large solitare diamond engagement ring.

Ages at Engagement:

Tom, 42; Katie, 26.

Another story from the wedding itself:

For Tom Cruise, words weren't enough to express his feelings for Katie Holmes. He had to do it in song -- and a familiar one at that.

When, L.A. deejay Mark Ronson played the Righteous Brothers tune "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" during the reception for the couple's wedding, Cruise serenaded his bride by singing along with the record.

"She was completely touched -- laughing, loving him and enjoying him," guest Leah Remini tells PEOPLE.

Cruise's impromptu serenade, of course, hearkens back to his performance of the same song in Top Gun. In the movie his character, Maverick, attempted to woo Kelly McGillis with the song. As for Katie, her heart already belongs to Tom.

For complete coverage of Tom & Katie's wedding, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Even another story:

Tom Cruise’s future father-in-law apparently isn’t a happy camper.

Katie Holmes’s dad is said to be “very upset” because his unmarried daughter is pregnant with Cruise’s child. And, what’s more, the devoutly Catholic Martin Holmes reportedly is none-too-thrilled about his daughter’s involvement in her husband-to-be’s controversial religion, Scientology.

“[Martin Holmes] was very upset and got into a real spat with Katie,” the forthcoming issue of Life & Style Weekly quotes “a close friend” of Cruise as saying. “Tom had promised her parents that they would do the right thing and get married before any baby came along.” After scolding his daughter, according to the mag, Martin Holmes berated Cruise by declaring “You’re no good.”

And perhaps best of all is this (fake) best friend's speech:

A Wedding Toast
by Katie Holmes's Former Best Friend.


- - - -

Well, um, hi, everybody. I'm Becky, Katie's oldest friend from Toledo. It's just so great to be here celebrating Katie and Tom's marriage. I mean, I can't believe it! Tom Cruise! I mean, I totally remember a picture of him she had hanging on her bedroom wall. Well, I guess it was more of a side-column interview next to this totally HOT feature on Brad Pitt, but whatever. Oh my God, we had such a crush on Brad! Do you remember that, Katie? Huh? Oh, right, I mean, yeah, it was a really long time ago.

And it's just so funny that you're marrying the guy from Risky Business. I mean, we didn't see it when it came out, being 5 and all, but we totally did rent the video. Or, actually, I think we tried to rent that Jared Leto movie—oh my God, Jordan Catalano!—but it was out or something at Blockbuster. And, well, I guess it was Mrs. Holmes who rented Risky Business, but we totally loved it! Remember, Katie, it had Balki in it but without that weird accent? Yeah, we laughed so hard about that.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Topping It

Parents of a new born boy face something of a dlimma these days: to go for circumcision or not?

One the one had there's the long term protection (OK, lower probability) of catching certain diseases and cancers.

On the other, it's taking 10% off the end of a man's favourite part, and there are those who insist it leads to lower sensitivity.

Well, yes, that probably is true, but then, click through to find out how that lower sensitivity caused by circumcision actually leads to an increase in the sum of human happiness.