Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Pet Blogging

Brian and his human companion are friends of mine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Strange Religious Sighting

Via Pharyngula:

God has an awesome PR department

A religious book publisher wants authors to write for a "Thank God Something Awful Happened to Me" series of books. The commenters have some good suggestions, especially
#35: Thank God for Persephone Otherwise There Would Be No Skiing or Hockey.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Frontal Cortex: Morality and War

I'm a few days late commenting on this post from the Frontal Cortex:

Go there to read many more learned responses than mine. These are just my thoughts.

Another consideration about the trolley example: in the case of the choice between killing five workers and killing one, the driver is choosing between the only available courses of action, either of which results in killing someone. In his split second considering the situation, he makes the decision he knows he can better live with. You, innocent bystander on the bridge with your fat buddy, are not inevitably involved in the accident.

You're throwing a whole new variable into the mix by making yourself an actor in the situation. Who are you to decide that taking your buddy's life is more morally acceptable than a tragic accident? What if the trolley derails after hitting the fat man, and several passengers die? What if the trolley driver dies after hitting the fat man? What if your buddy, in panic when you shove him, manages to grab you by the belt and drag you over the bridge rail with him? And you don't die, but are left quadriplegic?

My point is that the questions of morality involved go farther than a simple arithmetic of how many are killed. When the big picture is out of your control, you fiddle with the details at your peril. I think a parallel is the argument for the Iraq war that Saddam was a murderer, and that by not removing him, we were somehow complicit in those murders. This argument failed by both tests of morality - defeating Saddam is taking many more lives than would otherwise have been lost, and, by making ourselves actors in the situation, we have become culpable for the murders we commit. It was never true that we were complicit with Saddam's murders - that guilt was his. We are now complicit with many murders.

You, on the bridge with your buddy, are innocent of the accident, horrible as it may be to witness. If you involve yourself by killing your friend, you have become a murderer.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Veal in Red Sauce

Veal shoulder, canned tomatoes, and mustard greens on sale this week at the local groceteria inspired this comfort food:

1.5 lb. piece of veal shoulder
2 28 oz. cans of peeled crushed tomatoes
1 largish onion
1 - as many as you want garlic cloves
1 cup cheap dry red wine
1 lb. bunch of mustard or other greens
olive oil
generous grinding of pepper, salt to taste
Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, brown the veal in olive oil on both sides. While the veal is cooking, chop the onion and garlic. When the veal is brown, set it aside on a plate. Put the onions and garlic in the pot and saute, stirring a couple of times, until just starting to brown. Add a splash more oil if they look dry. Add the tomatoes, red wine, salt, and pepper; bring to a simmer and cook for about an hour. (If you were using beef shin or pork ribs, you would add the meat from the beginning, but veal is more tender.) Wash and chop the greens. Add the meat and greens to the pot, bring back to a simmer and cook until the meat is falling-apart tender, about an hour. Serve over pasta with a good grating of Parmesan.

Adding the greens to the sauce was an inspiration of the moment, to save a cooking pot, and the result is very good. The slight bitterness of the greens is a nice counterpoint to the richness of the meat and tomatoes, and they add a little textural contrast as well. Next time, I may try this with broccoli raab, adding the veggie later in the cooking time than for greens.

OK, I should have taken a picture. But then I would have had to clean off the table in order to set a nice scene, and everything just got too complicated from there.

Servings - the meat about 4, with some sauce left over. I put a couple of servings in the freezer for later; they will be welcome some evening when there's no time to cook but a comforting meal is needed.

New England Flower Show

My trip to the Flower Show didn't result in many pictures, alas. I haven't used the camera much in that kind of setting - dark background with brightly lit subjects - and I'm still getting to know how to use it. I did get a lovely shot of Aloe plicatilis. Click to enlarge and you can really see the flowers.

Friday Pet Blogging

I met this fine fellow at the Flower Show.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Blue Hour

The Blue Hour

And is that it? No fanfare, no shouting,
Ceremony? No definitiveness yet.
There’s still some hesitation to be too sure.
The blue hour suffuses the evening
With its fragile light.
A caress on the fading day -
Blue to the east, pink to the west -
A blessing begging hoping
For the next day.
Sometimes - well, actually always,
Sooner or later -
That blue hour comes true,
When the horizon slips up past that pink
And the blue is deeper and deeper.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Pet Blogging

Great cats from the past: Maxine, the calico, and Yuki, the little white bit of fluff.

This feature will be "Friday Pet Blogging" instead of just "Cat Blogging" because this is an equal-opportunity pet website.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Late Rant on International Women's Day

Feminism is something that will get my rant gene fired up.

From comments at Echidne: But what if some of the people you are referring to see feminine characteristics as not bad, but not male? Seriously, assigning misogyny to people who state that they believe in a division of roles based upon gender can be a reach too far.

Echidne's answer: People who state that they believe in a division of roles based upon gender tend to assume more than just the division of roles based upon gender. They tend to assume that good roles are naturally suited for men and that wiping poo is what women do best. Really.

Who decides what is "feminine" or "masculine"? Who decides if I, a woman, am able to study math or science, or make a decent wage? It's hard to see a society that places these matters in men's hands as anything other than misogynist. When women are allowed to freely choose their roles, they choose from a broad spectrum of roles, sometimes rejecting the "feminine" roles of wife and mother entirely. When men have control of women's roles, women are confined to the roles men want them to have - subservient to and serving men.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

So it's Thursday, big deal. In the laid-back world of Wild Roses, Friday Cat Blogging can happen anytime between Thursday and Sunday, depending on when I get to the blog.

This is Maggie, whose talent for sleeping is remarkable even for a cat. Maggie moved in with me because she wasn't getting along with her roommate. For the first six months, she slept with her eyes half open. Now that she's not anxious about someone else getting the sunbeam, she sleeps like a hibernating bear. With a grin on her face.

What's in Bloom

Amaryllis, Hippeastrum hybrid

Saturday, March 3, 2007


I've added a blogroll with some links I like to read. I'm leaving off the most political, as this blog is more of a personal journal than a place to rant 'n' rave. Although I probably will rant and rave at times. Can't help myself.

Update 3/7: I've added a couple more links.

Pharyngula and Living the Scientific Life are on Scienceblogs, but I like them enough to bookmark separately. Pharyngula does a great job of describing science for the non-scientist, and has lots of anti-ID rants and updates for followers of that issue. Living the Scientific Life posts beautiful pictures as well as commentary.

World o' Crap is one of the funniest political/cultural satire sites, regularly mocking obscure wingnuts as well as the usual suspects.

All about Birds is a terrific bird guide by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; it includes audio of bird songs, which is a very useful feature.

Ball of Wax is a general commentary on life by the author of Local Eats, and has interesting links, especially photos.

Creek Running North has environmental and cultural commentary, as well as some of the best writing you will ever read. Chris knows how to reach your heart through your brain.

Pussy Willows

Rose-gold pussy willows opening up at the Arboretum.